If you’ve ever watched Kitchen Nightmares, you know that chef Gordon Ramsey has stepped foot into some kitchens that should have been closed down a long time ago. These restaurants are failing, and they definitely lack a cleaning checklist.

You don’t want your restaurant to be cited for health code violations due to poor restaurant cleaning.

restaurant cleaning

The ideal restaurant should have a:

  • Daily cleaning checklist

  • Weekly cleaning lists

  • Monthly cleaning schedule

  • Deep cleaning checklist

There’s a lot of overlap, and of course, you’ll have to add or remove items based on the type of establishment you run. A restaurant cleaning checklist will help your staff better prepare for cleaning and allow for a thorough, robust cleaning that ensures a properly cleaned kitchen.

Monthly Cleaning Checklist

Your monthly list is essential and will include a semi-deep cleaning. This is a cleaning that will go alongside your daily and weekly lists. Every month, you’ll want to:

  • Check the entire kitchen for any pest droppings and clean as necessary

  • If pests are found, hire a pest control agent immediately

  • Empty out the freezer and clean it out thoroughly

  • Clean out the ice bins and wash

  • Check all of your equipment and make sure that each item is thoroughly cleaned

  • Wash walls or ceilings as needed

  • Wash behind stoves, ovens and fryers, especially where grease buildup is apparent

When you conduct your monthly cleaning, you’ll want to make a note of any equipment that is not working properly. 

commercial kitchen cleaning

Grease buildup is important to clean because it will increase your restaurant’s risk of fire. If there is a lot of buildup, you may want to clean the grease bi-weekly or weekly as necessary.

The monthly cleaning checklist should also include an inspection. You'll want to inspect all ovens and thermometers to ensure that they’re all calibrated properly. You'll also want to take this time to check on your first aid kit and fire extinguisher to replace as needed.

Restock your kit as needed.

Every month, you’ll want to start with a quick inspection of all cleaning products. You'll want to make sure that you have enough product available to be able to clean the space for the coming month. You’ll want to keep a close eye on these items during a weekly cleaning to ensure that you always have satisfactory levels of cleaning products.

Weekly Cleaning Checklist

The weekly cleaning needs to be done in both the kitchen and the front of the restaurant. We’ll start with cleaning the kitchen first, and move on to the front of the restaurant afterwards.

Weekly Kitchen Cleaning Checklist

The weekly checklist will include:

  • Emptying all refrigerators and coolers

  • Cleaning and sanitizing the refrigerators and coolers

  • Clean off the walls and any fixtures

  • Clean coffee machines thoroughly, flushing the system out with water

  • Clean and flush all floor drains

  • Clean all of your ovens and equipment as recommended by the manufacturer

weekly cleaning lists

And once you’re done cleaning the kitchen, it’s time to clean the front of the restaurant. The front should be cleaned daily, too, but a weekly cleaning will include cleaning items that are often overlooked.

Weekly Front Cleaning Checklist

You'll want to ensure that the checklist includes cleaning:

  • Fans 

  • Walls

  • Blinds

  • Picture frames

  • Lighting fixtures

  • Chair bottoms

  • Baseboards

  • Door handles

  • Windows and doors

Any area where it’s likely that dust will accumulate should be cleaned at this time. 

Daily Cleaning Checklist

If you need to know how to clean a kitchen properly, this is the list that you’ll want to hand out to all of your employees. In fact, the list should be posted somewhere for easy access. The cleaning for the kitchen will include:

  • Sanitizing all surfaces

  • Cleaning all cutting boards

  • Washing aprons or coats

  • Cleaning and sanitizing meat slicers

  • Cleaning all grease traps

  • Clean fryers and griddles

  • Brush off all grills and racks

  • Wash the floor

  • Clean steam tables

  • Sanitize sinks, faucets and any soda equipment

  • Dispose of oil and grease properly

  • Sweep and mop all floors

  • Clean rags

  • Ensure all food is covered properly

  • Clean dishwasher hood filters

  • Empty all trash and recyclables

  • Clean all utensils, dishware, containers, glassware and other items

  • Clean toasters, microwaves, heating racks, etc.

Keep in mind that this is just your starting checklist. You may need to add items that have not been put on this list. Afterward, you’ll want to move to cleaning the front of the house to ensure that the room is clean for the next day’s guests.

restaurant cleaning equipment

The front cleaning should include:

  • Sweep and mop floors

  • Clean off all menus

  • Wash chairs, booths, dishware, utensils, etc.

  • Clean all condiment dispensers

  • Clean off all counters and tables

  • Vacuum all carpeting

Restrooms should be cleaned daily, and you’ll likely need to clean the restroom multiple times per day to ensure that it’s satisfactory.

Deep Cleaning Checklist

Deep cleaning checklists will go alongside your weekly, monthly and daily cleaning. These checklists are a mix of precautionary checks and also cleaning. You'll want to include:

  • Checking fire extinguishers twice per year, every six months

  • Clean all hoods, using a professional cleaning company to do the job

  • Clean all gas equipment and check manual to clean pilot lights properly

  • Check any fire systems to ensure that they’re running properly

Cleaning checklists are only as good as the items on the list and the employees that will be in charge of cleaning. You can rotate duties weekly to help ensure that a new person can check on the cleaning progress from the previous week and stays engaged with a new cleaning task.

restaurant cleaning schedule

Keep schedules and even logs of all cleaning tasks that need to be checked off and reviewed by a manager.

Through scheduling and lists, it’s possible to keep a close track of employees that may be failing at their cleaning duties. Over time, you’re sure to find additional items that need to be added to checklists and updated across the board.

Once you have a system in place, you never have to be worried that your restaurant will be the focus of warnings or citations for being unsanitary.