Commercial kitchens are held to a very high standard for cleanliness and safety. Food inspectors frequent them and are meticulous in making sure that every single detail is 100% up to code. If something isn’t the chances are very high that the commercial kitchen can be shut down until things are brought up to code. Not only is an incident like this very inconvenient for operations, but it can severely damage the reputation of the foodservice venues that the commercial kitchen supports.
It’s clear that a meticulous approach is needed not just daily, but also in weekly cleaning, special deep cleaning procedures as well as maintaining equipment and workspaces on a regular basis.
Thoroughly Cleaning Hard Surfaces, Countertops & Food Prep Surfaces
Hard surfaces like countertops and other food prep areas are primed for bacterial growth as well as the potential risk for cross-contamination. While these areas certainly need to be cleaned at the end of the night, they should also be cleaned multiple times during the course of a day. This includes before and after each service.
Areas with a higher risk of cross-contamination like cutting boards and areas where poultry is processed or prepped need extensive focus. This includes sanitizing these food prep areas before and after each use.
When cleaning countertops and other hard surfaces in the commercial kitchen, you need to keep your cleaning spray between 8 to 12 inches away when applying. Be mindful of the potential for overspray and cover any food storage or prep bins, or remove them before spraying.
This ensures that you are getting maximum coverage of the food-grade sanitizer, while also preventing accidental contamination of prepared food or other ingredients. Then meticulously wipe the countertop down with a clean paper towel or a freshly laundered towel. Let the hard surface completely air dry before using it again.
Clean Food & Beverage Spills Immediately
Food and beverage spills are a natural part of any commercial kitchen or food service. Though they can also become a quick breeding ground for bacteria. Any and all spills should be cleaned as soon as possible. If an accidental spill has partially or fully dried make sure to remove it with a commercial grade cleaner and then sanitize the surface. This is especially important with soft surfaces such as carpeting, or porous surfaces like grout.
Cleaning & Maintain Commercial Cooking Appliances & Equipment
Cleaning and maintaining your cooking appliances and equipment is also an essential step in making sure that your commercial kitchen meets all applicable food codes. While wiping them down and washing them after every use is a given, you always need to pay close attention to smaller, tighter surfaces.
This includes things like hinges, handles, and hardware components that can sometimes trap food material. Left unattended these areas can lead to cross-contamination issues.
Here are some basic guidelines for properly maintaining and sanitizing some of the more common food prep & cooking appliances found in a lot of commercial kitchens.
Deep Fryers & Pressure Fryers
Make sure to boil out all your fryer at least once if not twice a week.
Ovens & Cooktop Ranges
Wipe down the rack and walls daily, and make sure to clean away any burned-on material at the end of each service. Make sure that the door of the oven is properly cleaned and maintained each week. Pay close attention to any accidentally spatter marks on walls. If possible pull the oven out once a week to remove any crumbs or accidentally spilled material.
Flattops & Griddles
They need to be periodically scraped down during each service. Then after the last service of the evening, they need to be allowed to cool before scrubbing down and disinfecting all related surfaces. This includes the knobs and any other related hardware. Grease traps also need to be cleaned and washed with warm soapy water at the end of each service.
It’s important to prevent the transfer of burned-on materials and ash during a service. This includes scrapping down grill grates and emptying any ash or grime. Porcelain-coated grill grates should be soaked in warm soapy water to release any caramelized marinades, sauces, or other potentially stuck-on material. Empty out all drip trays or areas underneath your burner or grates.
Refrigeration Units & Walk-In Coolers
Be sure to clean them out completely every few months, all stock should be rotated routinely. Make sure to also clean the condenser coils with a stiff bristle brush and vacuum to remove dust and grime. Regularly empty and clean the drain pans and tubs.
Cleaning & Exhaust Hoods & Vents
A commercial kitchen relies heavily on properly operating exhaust hoods and vents to not only remove smoke and odors from the kitchen but to also meet key safety criteria. Grease, grime, and dust can be pulled up into the hard surfaces of exhaust hoods and vents, which can later fall down to deposit on food. This is especially concerning for commercial kitchens with deep fryers.
Every few days the hoods need to be thoroughly wiped down. They can be degreased after a nightly service if necessary. Also, make sure to replace air filters as needed.
Cleaning Commercial Kitchen Walls & Floors
While they might not be the most exciting part of a commercial kitchen, walls, floors, and ceilings do need routine cleaning. Not only does this ensure a clean environment, but it can also be a safety concern as well. Even the slightest amount of grease spatter on a tile floor can make it extremely slippery to the point of it being a liability issue.
Cleaning Commercial Kitchen Floors
Floors need deep cleaning at the end of each day. It helps to start with vacuuming or sweeping the floor to remove dust and small particles of debris. You can then mop up your floor with a combination of warm water and a heavy-duty cleaning solution. If necessary, you can spot degrease trouble areas in advance of mopping.
Cleaning Commercial Kitchen Walls & Ceiling
Spatter marks are a ripe breeding ground for bacteria, and clean walls are always something food inspectors look for. Make sure to scrub the walls and ceiling down thoroughly on either a biweekly or monthly basis.
Cleaning Commercial Kitchen Sinks
All sink stations and wash bins need to be free of any lingering ingredients or food particles. All dishes and utensils need to be washed at the end of each service. You also need to take steps to prevent scale and lime buildup, delime your commercial sinks, sprayers, and faucets weekly.
Maintaining Clean Dry Good Storage Areas
Dry goods storage areas need to be cleaned and maintained frequently. This includes rotating stock and periodic dusting. You should also pull out all inventory and give your dry good storage areas a thorough deep clean at least every six months of not three.