Why You Can’t Cut Corners With Commercial Kitchen Cleaning Everyone who works in the food industry has heard how important kitchen hygiene standards are. Yet, commercial kitchen cleaning is neglected more often than you might expect. This typically has more to do with bars, restaurants, and cafés trying to save time than it does with deliberate neglectfulness. Still, proper hygiene in a commercial kitchen is crucial to food safety. Harmful bacteria don’t care if you have a full schedule. That’s why it’s absolutely essential to make your cleaning processes efficient without cutting corners. The question then becomes how you do that. This article intends to help answer that question. We’ll discuss some all too neglected areas of commercial kitchen cleaning, why they’re important and how you can uphold your kitchen’s hygiene standards efficiently. Our Time-Efficient (Yet Effective) Commercial Kitchen Cleaning Tips Don’t Rush Through What You Know You Need to Do Neglected areas of kitchen cleaning aren’t limited to what people forget. Sometimes, kitchen staff rush through required cleaning tasks which lessens the task’s effectiveness. Here’s a few examples and how you can make it better. Really Wash Your Hands We’ve all been hearing it since childhood, but the USDA still shows that 97% of people don’t wash their hands correctly. Although most people in developed Western countries do wash their hands regularly, very few do it well enough to truly be effective. This statistic is better among food service workers, but it’s still important to ensure it’s happening in your kitchen. The average person washes their hands for 6 seconds, but the CDC recommends 20 seconds. While this is an additional 14 seconds every session, it’s worth the risk prevention. Kitchen staff must wash their hands: Before food preparation Before and after wearing gloves Before and after handling raw meat, seafood, or eggs Scrub Down Your Chopping Board Chopping boards for raw ingredients need to be wiped down regularly. However, like hand washing, many people do this but don’t do it well. A good deep cleaning is time-consuming which may be time that a busy restaurant doesn’t have. One quick fix that can help is using colour-coded boards for different food products. This won’t replace your need to wash and disinfect boards, but it can help prevent cross contamination. As much as time allows, make sure you use soapy hot water to wash and disinfect each board after each use. Do More Than Quickly Wipe Your Kitchen Counter Counters come into direct contact with food, making them potential hotspots for bacterial growth. Additionally, cracks or chips can harbor bacteria and mold, making them harder to clean. Wiping down your counter space after it comes in contact with food should be part of kitchen staff’s workflows. This is more efficient than stopping to wipe after the food prep process is over. If your counters are made of natural stone, ensure they are sealed regularly to prevent stains and bacterial penetration. You should also avoid abrasive scrubbing to prevent scratches. Dust Your Food Storage Shelves More Often Dusty shelves can impact food safety more than you might think. Dust and dirt that settles on your shelves can seep into products stored on those shelves. It can also attract pests that bring other hazards into your kitchen. Saying that you need to dust your shelves every day may be unrealistic if you’re busy serving hundreds of customers. However, you should make sure that you do this at least once a week. Make sure you actually remove all items off the shelf and dust beneath the items too instead of simply wiping around them. Learn More About How You Can Enhance Your Cleaning Standards What’s The Difference Between Cleaning vs. Disinfecting? What Is ATP Surface Testing? What is Meant By Precision Cleaning? Don’t Neglect These Areas in Your Kitchen Even professional cleaning services can have a habit of missing certain spots in your kitchen. This isn’t because they’re bad at their job, only that the safety risks associated with these areas are seldom taught. This also emphasizes the importance of an effective data-driven cleaning report tool that can help your team improve their processes and reveal unexpected areas of attention. Here are a few spots that affect food safety more than you might expect. Don’t Wait For Your Drains to Be Clogged Drains are prone to bacterial growth, which can contaminate dishes and utensils as you wash them in your sink. That means that drain clearing should be a daily exercise, not something you wait until it’s clogged to do. Chemical drain cleaners can be pricey, but you can achieve similar results with a cost-effective mixture of hot water and vinegar. Vinegar has natural antibacterial properties that can kill some pathogens. It’s also an acid that can help dissolve clog-causing build-up. While vinegar makes a great cost-effective, natural cleaner for daily use, it won’t replace heavy duty disinfectants. If your drain has significant build-up or a major clog, you should opt for the stronger alternative. Clean Your Ceiling & Exhaust Fans More Accumulated grease and dust can reduce the efficiency of exhaust systems. Not only is this a fire risk, it also can become a breeding ground for bacteria, mold, and other pathogens. When the exhaust system is in use, these contaminants can be circulated in the air, posing health risks to kitchen staff and patrons. Use a degreaser and damp cloth to wipe down your fan blades quarterly at minimum. You may have to do this more frequently if your system is particularly prone to build-up. For instance, if you serve a lot of deep-fried food, more grease accumulates in the air. Too often, people wait until their fan is broken before they look. This gives pathogens too much time to spread. Look Behind Your Appliances In the home and at businesses, people tend to neglect what lurks behind their appliances. This lets dirt, food particles, and grease accumulate, attracting pests and potentially becoming a fire hazard. Move your appliances and give the area behind them a good vacuum and a good scrub at least once a month. Depending on the appliance, some may need more or less attention than others. Here’s a table with a quick guide on some differences. RefrigeratorMonthly, pull out the refrigerator, clean the back area, vacuum the coils, and wipe down the storage space.OvenEvery 2-3 months, move the oven away from the wall, vacuum, and wipe down that area. Check for loose connections while you’re there.Microwave Every month, move the microwave, wipe down the back and sides, and ensure proper ventilation.DishwasherMonthly, check for water leaks, clean the backside, and ensure the hose is properly connected.Deep FryerWeekly, drain and clean the fryer. Monthly, move it to clean the space behind and ensure no oil buildup. Keep an Eye on Your Ice Machines Believe it or not, regularly cleaning your ice machines is an important way to prevent bacteria from spreading. The wet environment inside the machine fosters mold and bacteria growth, which can contaminate the ice it produces. Open your ice machine, disinfect it, and treat it with a descaling solution once a month. When you do this, make sure it’s completely dry before you close and refill it. This is to ensure that your cleaning solution doesn’t end up in your ice. Enhance Commercial Cleaning With The Help of Technology Proper cleaning takes time, but that doesn’t mean you can skip these tips. Maintaining kitchen hygiene is a matter of safety for you, your staff, and your patrons. That’s why any busy restaurant kitchen can benefit from janitorial software and imaging technology. Optisolve’s precision cleaning approach has been shown to improve cleaning productivity by an estimated 30%. This means that you can save time while upholding high cleanliness standards. We also provide high-resolution imaging software so you can pinpoint contaminated areas and prioritize them in your precious cleaning time slots. Reach out to us today to start using technology to improve your kitchen hygiene. Read More of Our Recent PostsCleaning Verification vs. ValidationQuality Management in the Cleaning IndustryCleaning Validation and Workforce SatisfactionWhat is a Quality Management System (QMS)?