Data center cleaning best practices

Maintaining the cleanliness of a data center environment is essential. Accumulated dust and debris can cause undue burden and damage to servers as well as support equipment. Additionally, the aesthetics of a data center show both future customers and company executives that the room, the equipment and ultimately the data is being taken care of.

To continue maintaining computer room cleanliness and protecting equipment, here are proven cleaning procedures for data center environments.

Cleaning best practices for data centers

Use proper equipment

Cleaning a computer room is unlike cleaning in any other professional environment, and the equipment must reflect that difference. Acceptable equipment includes:

  • Special dust cloths with particle absorbent material.
  • Low-lint and non-shedding mops.
  • Non-ammoniated cleaners.
  • Electro Static Discharge (ESD) dissipative chemicals.
  • Vacuums with High Efficiency Particulate Air (HEPA) filters.

Equipment such as brooms, dust mops and ammoniated cleaners are unacceptable in a data center environment and will not produce a quality cleaning job.

Adequately seal building materials in room

When building materials — such as concrete, masonry block, plaster or gypsum wall-board — are not appropriately protected, they can be a source of contamination. The materials will deteriorate over time and release particulate matter into the environment. Prevent this by ensuring materials are coated with a sealant.

Monitor what enters the data center environment

Ninety percent of the air in a computer room is recirculated, so keeping dust, dirt and debris out is of the utmost importance. Keep the following contamination sources in check:

  • Humans are the greatest source of dust, dirt and debris in computer rooms. Ensure those who enter the environment are protected with proper shoe covers and use tacky mats at the entrances of the room.
  • Don’t unpack materials within the computer room, as it can release contaminants and particulates.
  • Fresh air coming into the room must be highly filtered using HEPA filtration at 99.97% efficiency. This will prevent outside air contaminants from entering the room and will create a positive air pressure.

Clean the room frequently and regularly

Cleaning your computer room on a regular, scheduled basis has a multitude of benefits for the data center environment. Right away, it keeps your room looking tour-ready, helping you earn new customers and appease company executives. Additionally, the more frequently you employ cleaning practices, the less likely you’ll have problems with dust, dirt, debris and particulate accumulation.

That being said, the frequency of cleaning should match your facility’s needs. A high foot traffic data center with many individuals tracking in contaminants would need daily or weekly cleanings, whereas a low foot traffic, lights-off facility would likely benefit from a monthly or quarterly visit.

Work with experienced cleaning technicians

The best data center cleaning practices mean nothing without properly trained technicians to implement them. Experienced data center technicians understand the environment: They know how cleaning methods differ between static dissipative tiles and high-pressure laminate tiles, they know how to plug into the correct power sources as to not disrupt the clean power supply, and they use proper cleaning equipment. By hiring a qualified cleaning team, you ensure your room is cleaned properly and your equipment is protected.

After reading through the best practices for cleaning efficiency, the next step is to evaluate your data center’s cleaning program. Download our guide to the Basics of Data Center Cleaning and Cooling Efficiency for a printable checklist to see where your program is excelling and areas in which you can improve your facility’s cleaning practices and stay tour-ready. Click here to download the guide.

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The basics of data center cleaning and cooling efficiency
Learn proven industry practices that will improve computer room cooling efficiency and ensure your facility stays tour-ready.