Specialty/Niche April 01, 2023
Meet Mr Clean
Twitter turns Andy Pasztor's passion for maintaining his equipment into a thriving enterprise.
Washing a combine isn't for the faint of heart. Even for agriculture's Mr. Clean, Andy Pasztor, the Tillsonburg, Ontario, farmer who's the face behind the #andyclean Twitter hashtag phenomena, it will easily be a three or four day job.
"Combines are the worst because they take forever," Pasztor says. "By the time you've cleaned all the nooks and crannies, the interior, and the final touches, the fun is gone. I prefer washing tractors."
Even as a boy Pasztor enjoyed washing equipment; he liked to keep his farm toys clean. But, as an adult much of his interest in keeping their farm's equipment looking better than new boils down to pride of ownership. While their farm doesn't always run the latest equipment, he knows that if he puts in the extra effort that Certified Andy Clean represents, he can keep it at its best.
The advantages of cleaning your equipment go far beyond the cosmetic. Doing an Andy Clean level job, especially before machinery is put away for the season, should be an important part of all farms' maintenance programs. It gets rid of corrosive chemical and fertilizer residues before they can cause damage. Removing grain and dust from combines, trucks, and augers eliminates food sources for mice and rats reducing the odds of having rodent damage. Plus, stripping off all the grime makes it much easier to spot any oil leaks or hidden wear and tear.
Never dreamed. Pasztor never dreamed his decision to start posting photos of clean farm equipment on his Twitter account @apasztor back in 2011 would soon inspire a worldwide community of like-minded farmers to band together. They posted glowing comments about his efforts and shared photos of their own sparkling clean equipment. He now considers many of his Twitter followers close friends.
The #andyclean hashtag was coined by one of them, Robert Reese from Lansing, Michigan, after Pasztor posted a photo of his freshly scrubbed 8120 John Deere tractor in 2014 and it snowballed from there. It attracted the attention of John Deere's social media team in 2018 after he tweeted about how #andyclean the displays were at the company's tractor museum in Waterloo, Iowa.
The company shipped him a package of cleaning products and their creative team surprised him by creating an Andy Clean logo and sending him 1000 stickers. Pasztor started mailing them out to others who published photos of clean equipment on Twitter.
"It spiraled out of control from there," Pasztor says. "They'd clean a piece of machinery, put an Andy Clean sticker on it, and tweet a photo of it. But it really went to the next level when John Deere stuck an Andy Clean label on the X-9 and tweeted a photo of it the night before its debut. I was mailing stickers all over the place!"
The postage costs were getting out of hand so Pasztor, with the help of his cousin Matt, decided to launch an Andy Clean line of soap and convinced select John Deere dealerships to carry it. It proved to be so popular it now has a John Deere part number.
Pasztor sometimes feels he's created a monster. He constantly feels pressure to keep their farm's equipment super clean just in case one of his 36,500 Twitter followers drops by their farm.
To clean a combine. When Pasztor washes a combine, he starts with the grain tank and works his way down. The first step is to blow off any loose material with an industrial air compressor. Heavier field debris is rinsed off with a pressure washer.
"Pre-cleaning is critical because while our soap is good, it's not magic," Pasztor says. "I always use a foam cannon to spray on our soap, let it sit for a few minutes, and then take a brush to it and start scrubbing. There's no such thing as a brushless soap. If you really want it clean, you need to use elbow grease. Once that's done, I rinse it off and blow the water off with a leaf blower. I finish off with a chamois or a microfiber towel to get rid of the water spots and then move it into the shop to do the interior." ‡
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