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How to Repair & Clean a Shopping Cart

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Maintaining clean and working shopping carts will help keep customers happy, healthy and coming back for more pleasant shopping experiences. A recent study by the University of Arizona discovered that grocery carts are laden with saliva, mucus, urine, fecal matter, blood and raw meat juice, making grocery carts the third most unsanitary public item to contact. There has also been findings of E. coli, staphylococcus, salmonella, and influenza living on shopping cart handles. Fortunately, it's easy to sanitize carts and make sure they are in proper working order.

Disinfecting and Repairing the Shopping Cart

Spray bleach mixture to dampen all of the surfaces of the shopping cart. Even though the handle is where most human contact is found, also consider all of the parts that are rarely, if ever, cleaned. The other parts, such as the front and sides of the cart, are also coming into daily contact with other people. A thorough cleaning job will help to ensure the safety of customers as well as employees.

Wipe off bleach spray with cloth while wearing latex gloves. While wiping off the bleach, look for areas on the shopping cart that are in need of repair. Usually, the wheels are the parts of carts that need fixing or replacing.

Spray WD40 on each of the bearings and axles for the wheels. Allow five minutes for the grease to soak into the moving parts and try moving the shopping cart. Inspect all of the nuts and bolts on the cart for tightness with wrench set and tighten any parts that are loose.

Replace any wheels that still do not function well by using the wrench to unscrew the bolt and remove the wheel. Screw in a replacement wheel and test it by moving the cart around. You may find while cleaning and repairing shopping carts that some carts may need to be retired due to the accumulation of rust or simply years of wear and tear. If the wheels are still salvageable, save them and use them as replacement parts for other shopping carts.

Replace broken seat belts or whichever system of child safety restraint comes with your shopping carts. Inspect the buckles as well as the fabric. Any frayed fabric needs replacing, and buckles that easily come unbuckled or are broken need to be replaced as well.


Putting a bucket of bleach-treated wipes near the entrance of the grocery store will allow customers to clean and sanitize their own carts, giving them an option to be more responsible for their health and safety.

About the Author

David McGuffin is a writer from Asheville, N.C. and began writing professionally in 2009. He has Bachelor of Arts degrees from the University of North Carolina, Asheville and Montreat College in history and music, and a Bachelor of Science in outdoor education. McGuffin is recognized as an Undergraduate Research Scholar for publishing original research on postmodern music theory and analysis.

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