Restaurant equipment must be properly cleaned, especially in a world where COVID-19 can lead to a mass exodus of customers. You'll need a lot of cleaning chemicals and kitchen cleaning supplies to get started.
You’ll need a variety of items for sanitization, but the following is a good starting point.
Must-have Kitchen Cleaning Supplies
Naturally, restaurant equipment cleaning will also require gloves and brushes to clean off food debris. If you don’t have the right items, restaurant sanitizing can be difficult because it’s a breeding ground for bacteria.
The right kitchen cleaning product and schedule will go a long way in ensuring that your space is bacteria- and germ-free.
Proper Storage Techniques for Equipment
While not an actual cleaning technique, it’s important to pay special attention to the storage of the items in your kitchen. The storage receptacles must be disinfected, including the shelving and cabinets.
Items must be stored in:
- Clean spaces
- Cabinets and closets
When cleaning dishware and similar items, it’s important that they’re thoroughly cleaned and dried before storing them away.
Restaurant Kitchen Cleaning Checklist: Back-of-house
You'll need to pay close attention to three main cleaning techniques: cleaning, disinfecting and sanitizing. Restaurant sanitizers should be used extensively to keep spaces as germ-free as possible.
Spray sanitizer for restaurant equipment and large gallon bottles if products are available to help with the cleaning process.
You'll also want to acquire degreasing products along with dishwasher cleaner to help keep your kitchen as clean as possible. Once you have all of the necessary items, you’ll need to work through a restaurant cleaning checklist to make sure you don’t miss any key, integral pieces of equipment.
Protocols should be in place that kitchen staff can follow when cleaning.
Cleaning restaurant food equipment can be a challenging task, so be sure to allot more than ample time for your staff to work through the list.
Sanitizing your equipment requires a lot of preparation, so be sure to have cleaning products available with the necessary supplies. A few of the daily cleaning tasks that need to be accomplished are:
- Clean the sinks with strong cleaner
- Wipe down all appliances, including toasters, microwaves, dishwashers and others
- Clean the prep area well with a strong disinfectant before cleaning equipment
- Beverage dispensers should have the heads cleaned as well as the tips
- Clean off cooking surfaces, including grills, ranges, griddles, fryers and other appliances
- Use an oven and grill cleaner to disinfect the units
Keep in mind that this is just the cleaning that you’ll need to do for the equipment in your kitchen. You should also clean a few items daily, including all towels and aprons, walk-in and storage areas and your floors. Be sure to take out the garbage, and also clean any walls and backsplashes daily.
Utensils and other items should be cleaned at this time.
Weekly sanitization will include a few additional items that aren’t on the list above:
- Racks and ovens should be cleaned intensely
- Walk-in refrigerators and freezers need to be sanitized
- Delime faucets and sinks as necessary
- Spend time to boil out your deep fryer
Feel free to add any additional points to this list as necessary.
Monthly kitchen cleaning is one of the least fun activities, but this remains an integral part of restaurant sanitization. A few of the many tasks on your monthly checklist should be:
- Clean the ice machine, which should be done every few months
- Wipe down and clean vent hoods
- Remove and empty all grease traps
- Remove dust from the refrigerator coils
- Run cleaner and sanitizer through your coffee and similar machines
- Clean out the freezer and sanitize it
- Hot lines should be cleaned
5-Step Cleaning and Sanitization Process
Kitchen cleaning supplies are only as good as the process you follow with the cleaners that you have. You'll need to choose a concentration chemical for cleaning restaurant equipment (varies based on product).
The process that all cleaning staff must follow is simple:
- Remove Surface Food
Food will stick to the surface of your grill, fryer and other equipment. Absorb liquids and particles by using a cloth or paper towel that will absorb all liquids. Particles can be scraped, pushed on to the floor and swept up later.
- Clean the Surfaces
Cleaning solutions help dissolve the food that’s been leftover. Dirt and residue should dissolve. The goal of this step is to stop bacteria growth.
Cleaning solutions can be flammable and dangerous to keep on surfaces. Rinse off these chemicals thoroughly. If you fail to get off the cleaner, you won’t be able to properly sanitize the equipment.
You can’t view germs with the naked eye, but they’re there growing and potentially making their way into the food you serve. It's important to use a sanitizer that stops viruses from spreading and eliminates cross contamination.
Unlike when using a cleaner, you’ll want to let the sanitizer sit so that it can kill pathogens.
Rinsing off the sanitizer is counterproductive and will lead to you using sanitizer without actually benefiting from it.
Allow the sanitizer to sit on the surface and dry for 60 seconds. This is a time-consuming task, but it shouldn’t be a time when people sit and wait around. Instead, fill this time with other cleaning and sanitization, potentially cleaning off all floors.
Additional Restaurant Kitchen Cleaning Tips
Numerous tips can help you keep your kitchen clean and sanitized. A few of the tips that will allow you to maintain the highest cleaning standards are:
- Create cleaning assignments. If tasks are delegated for the cleaning process, it will speed up the cleaning process. You should rotate cleaning assignments to keep all employees in-the-loop on your current cleaning protocols.
- Test sanitizer. There are strict guidelines that must be followed to keep equipment clean and sanitized. One of the guidelines is to use a test strip that ensures that the cleaning solution still works properly.
- Chlorine or QUAT. Two main types of sanitizer exist: chlorine and QUAT. Both can clean materials, but it’s pertinent to use both. Chlorine is often used for ware washing, while QUAT is used in most other areas.
- Consider heat sanitizing. Heat is a great sanitizer when at 171°F or higher. Steam or hot water can be used for this process. Hot steam is often a good choice for larger items and can reach into areas of equipment that even the smallest hands would have difficulty accessing.
- Multiple sanitization methods. If needed, don’t be afraid to use sanitizing chemicals and heat to reduce the risk of bacteria and disease growth.
- Wash before sanitizing. It’s essential to wash before sanitizing for the sanitization process to work properly. The key is to rinse off all of the cleaning supplies so that they do not diminish the sanitizer’s ability to kill viruses and bacteria.
When you clean routinely, you’ll keep your equipment running well and prevent the risks of clogs and other issues. It's important to have the proper kitchen cleaning supplies on-hand for effective, daily cleaning.
With the use of protocols and training standards, it’s possible to keep your kitchen clean and ready to serve customers.