Last Updated on October 5, 2021 by Alterum Data Center Experts
General Supplies & Tips for Effective Data Center Cleaning
The presence of dirt, dust and other airborne particles in data centers can lead to many potential problems, including system failures, fires, and eventual hardware damage that requires costly repairs and replacements to correct. Because of this, it’s essential that data centers either employ a regular, professionally trained cleaning staff or purchase the services of qualified outside cleaners to handle data center equipment. The following post explores several tips and tricks for general internal and external data center cleaning services, as well as a selection of top-quality products that can be beneficial during data center cleaning.
Tip 1: Floors and Equipment Surfaces
Take the time to clean floors, other surfaces, and equipment thoroughly and regularly using data center cleaning supplies that can be used to clean surfaces, equipment hardware, and internal equipment components. Such tools can include ergonomic flat mop heads, bleach disinfectant tablets, swabs, and saturation wipes. Make sure that this is done at least on a quarterly schedule, if not more frequently. As previously stated, dust, dirt, and other contaminants can accumulate quickly. Due to this, data centers need to be cleaned routinely.
Tip 2: Raised Floors, Sub-Floor Planum, and Floor Supports
Raised floors, sub-floor plenum, and floor support structures should be carefully accessed and thoroughly cleaned annually, if not quarterly. These areas need cleaning to prevent the buildup of excessive amounts of dust and other particle contaminants, which could infiltrate the data center’s equipment and cause a significant amount of damage.
Tip 3: Don’t Sweep the Floors; Mop, or Vacuum Instead
Don’t do any sweeping, especially around data center equipment, as it can cause larger dust and dirt particles to be pushed into cracks in the floor panels. Sweeping can also cause finer particles to become airborne, increasing the chances that they will end up inside the equipment. Instead, cleaning staff or services should use a dry mop or ESD vacuum with specialized HEPA filters to remove these particles effectively.
Tip 4: Dedicated Cleaning Equipment
Ensure that any cleaning equipment used is dedicated to cleaning the data center only, primarily if the equipment is used more than once. Bringing In cleaning equipment from outside the data center has the potential to bring in outside contaminants. Data centers should be treated similarly to cleanrooms and have dedicated wipes, swabs, mops, and other equipment that isn’t used anywhere else.
Tip 5: Only Use Data Center Approved Cleaning Chemicals
The data center should specifically approve all cleaning chemicals used to ensure that nothing could potentially harm any equipment or areas surrounding the equipment. Data centers should develop a list of approved chemicals and other tools and provide them to both internal cleaning staff and outside cleaning services.
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Tip 6: Clean Floor Tiles Gradually
Data center cleaning crews should make sure not to remove too many floor tiles for cleaning at a single time, as doing so could cause a lower static pressure that causes equipment to overheat in other parts of the data center. Internal and external cleaning staff need to be informed of which floor tiles can be removed and how many should be removed at once.
Tip 7: Keep Cleaning Equipment Clean
All cleaning tools and equipment like vacuums, rags, and mops, should be rinsed and emptied after use and be checked before use to ensure that they are in appropriate working order. Please note that it’s essential to clean all vacuums outside of the data center to prevent tiny dust particles from being released where equipment may be exposed to them.
Tip 8: Designated Maintenance Outlets
Whether internally or externally hired, maintenance staff should be provided with designated maintenance outlets for cleaning usage. Staff should be carefully instructed not to plug their equipment into server outlets or other data center equipment outlets. Doing this could lead to severe electrical issues or even damage to the equipment. Maintenance outlets should be clearly labeled to prevent any potential confusion.
Tip 9: Equipment Surfaces and Internal Structures
Cleaning equipment surfaces or internal structures is best done with data center cleaning supplies like, damp, clean, disposable wipes used with light pressure to prevent potential equipment damage. Data centers may have specific wipes or other tools that they require for cleaning their equipment or particular components of their equipment. All cleaning staff, regardless of whether they are internal or externally hired, should be informed of the location of these tools.
Tip 10: Look Out for Zinc Whiskers
If your data center floor tiles are made of galvanized steel, the cleaning staff should look for any signs of zinc whiskers, which can cause severe problems for data center equipment if they become airborne. In-house cleaning staff should regularly be checking for the presence of these whiskers during their regular cleaning routine, as their presence can lead to critical electrical components being shorted out.
Data Center Cleaning Supplies – Final Thoughts
Whether a data center relies entirely on an internal cleaning service, contacts an outside cleaning service, or both, there are many essential steps, tips, and techniques that should be used to ensure that their equipment and surrounding areas are being maintained effectively. If these are not carefully adhered to, the data center won’t be cleaned effectively. Ineffective cleaning could potentially result in several critical equipment complications and failures over time.
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