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Why You Should Clean Your Container Before Using It

It may pass inspection, but that doesn’t mean your shipping container is ready for use right away. Most companies will clean the container before selling or renting it to you; however, you’ll need to give it a good cleaning as well. Even if your container looks clean—and if you bought/rented it from a professional company, it has been cleaned—you’ll want to clean your container one more time before using it.

Cleaning Your Container Before Using It

You weren’t there for the cleaning

With an inspection certificate, you’ll know if the container is watertight and windproof. However, there is no cleaning certificate available for shipping containers. Unless you were there while the cleaning of your container was taking place, you should give it a once-over before you use it. That way you can get deep into the corners with a pressure washer or strong hose and really ensure that your unit is clean. Also, dust and grime can accumulate in a shipping container when it’s empty even if it’s been cleaned. When you clean your container yourself, you can get rid of any dust and grime that have built up while the container was not in use.

It may have housed chemicals or food

When a shipping container is sold or rented out, it must undergo an inspection. This is to determine if the unit is still wind- and watertight. If the container once housed dangerous chemicals, it may have been treated with certain materials and pesticides to keep those chemicals from escaping. Furthermore, the container could have housed food products like fish that leave behind a horrible smell. Either way, you should give the container a good cleaning to get rid of the stench of food and remove all traces of chemically treated materials or pesticides. If not, that smell, especially if it’s fish, will get on the items you’re storing in the shipping container.

Your shipping container has travelled across an ocean

If you’ve rented or purchased a used shipping container, it has probably crossed an ocean several times. In fact, containers are designed to travel the world on big ships to deliver goods from continent to continent. If you clean your container before you use it, you’ll be erasing some of the wear and tear of ocean travel.

What you’ll need to clean your container

Cleaning your container is simple. With a few materials, you’ll be able to give your container a good scrub-down, making it ready for your usage. You’ll need:

  • A dust mask
  • A pressure washer (you can rent this)
  • A broom
  • Sandpaper
  • A primer (to protect against corrosion)

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