Keeping a commercial kitchen clean is vital to running a hospitality business. Food hygiene standards, regulated by the Food Standards Agency (FSA), are extremely high.
Food hygiene ensures that food served is safe to eat, and it prevents the risk of food poisoning. You should introduce ways of working that will help you keep good food hygiene throughout the process, and all staff members should be trained in this way of working.
All you need to know about commercial kitchen cleaning is to stay on the right side of FSA regulations.
Cross-contamination is the name used when bacteria are spread between food, equipment and surfaces. It usually happens when raw food touches or drips onto equipment, or surfaces where food is prepared, ready-to-eat or cooked food. An example is if raw meat drips onto a sandwich in the fridge, bacteria will spread from the meat to the sandwich and could cause food poisoning.
To prevent cross-contamination from happening, you should thoroughly wash hands, surfaces, and equipment in between food preparation. Different foods should also be separated, and the use of colour coding on equipment such as knives and chopping boards is a good idea.
In fact, colour coding is one of the best ways to prevent cross-contamination in your kitchen.
Colour coding cleaning equipment such as –
- Mops and buckets
- Dustpan and brush
- Dusters and clothes
Is also a good safety measure to ensure cross-contamination doesn’t take place.
Whilst colour coding cleaning equipment is useful taking other precautions such as keeping your supplies in cupboards and organised to make sure they’re only used when required. Keeping cleaning chemicals in locked cupboards and in their original containers is also a good idea, to ensure that when it’s time to clean, you know that you are using the solution correctly.
Washing your hands is one of the most important tasks to preventing cross-contamination. Kitchen staff should wash their hands after handling raw meat or before switching sections in the kitchen. After raw meat has been prepared, all the used equipment should be thoroughly washed ready for reuse later.
Food areas and equipment should be cleaned and disinfected in between tasks, especially if you’ve handled raw meat. Kitchen staff should clean as they go, cleaning up mess and spillages as they occur and removing bins as soon as they are full.
Make sure all disinfectants and cleaners are effective against the most common forms of bacteria and are suitable to be used on food prep surfaces.
How often should you clean parts of the kitchen?
All restaurant kitchens should have a thorough cleaning schedule in place. Creating a plan will ensure that all the staff know what their duties are, and make sure that cleaning is done consistently during every shift.
It’s easy to create commercial kitchen cleaning checklists. Some of the benefits of creating a cleaning checklist include:
• Increased accountability: Everyone knows exactly what their individual roles are, and can be held accountable for them if they aren’t done
• Tasks aren’t forgotten: There’s less chance that important cleaning tasks being forgotten, or a part of the kitchen is being neglected
• Proof of due diligence: Keep a record of your cleaning tasks to show to inspectors
• Consistency: If you stick to each cleaning task, your kitchen should stay clean, which makes the job easier
• Improves food quality: A hygienic kitchen reduces the risk of cross-contamination. Keeping food storage areas clean and tidy will also help
• Prevents infestations: A clean environment is less likely to suffer from infestations of vermin or flies, which can be dangerous, costly to deal with, and bad for your reputation.
To be totally effective, your schedule should be as specific as possible, so should be no errors or misunderstandings. You need to state which surfaces and appliances need to be cleaned, which chemicals or equipment to use, this is again why colour coding is helpful, and how frequently cleaning should take place.
Some cleaning tasks will need to be done much more often, while others will only need to be carried out once a month, or even just once each year. This is what a typical cleaning schedule in a restaurant kitchen might look like.
Before a shift begins
Before your shift begins, kitchen staff should double-check the kitchen is prepared and that everything is sanitary before they start cooking. You’ll need to:
• Wipe down all surfaces with a food-safe antibacterial cleaner with a clean cloth or sponge.
• Clean sinks, taps, and handwashing stations
• Check ingredients and dispose of anything out of date
• Ensure you have a clean supply of cloths and sponges
During the shift
Most kitchen staff and chefs will do these things as part of their routine, but it’s still good to write a checklist. Staying on top of these tasks will reduce the amount of cleaning required once the shift is over:
• Brush grills to remove any build-up of grease and food between cooking
• Switch and clean cutting boards between tasks. Knives should also be cleaned between cutting tasks
• Ensure bins are emptied as needed, rather than waiting until the end of the shift. Overflowing bins can easily lead to contamination
• Spillages should be wiped up as soon as possible, rather than leaving them until the end of the shift
After the shift ends
After the shift has finished, a more intensive clean is needed. Your staff will need to ensure that all of the following tasks are completed before finishing for the day:
• Change cleaning cloths and sponges. Discard any that are no longer clean enough to use.
• Deep fryers should be emptied and cleaned.
• Hobs should be cleaned thoroughly using a specialist product.
• Remove dirty clothing and place them in a separate area, ready for laundering.
• Check all ingredients are covered and sealed properly before replacing them in the fridge overnight.
• Sweep the floor of fridges and storage areas.
• Brush and mop the kitchen floor using a disinfectant or floor cleaner
Cleaning up after a shift can take time, which is why many restaurants choose to hire a night staff. A person who comes in to clean the kitchen after all the other staff have left.
At the end of every week, you should take the time to deep clean appliances and equipment, and go over easily forgotten spots. If your restaurant is closed for a day then this is a perfect time to check to the following tasks:
• Check your fridges for old food that needs discarding, clean and sanitised with a food-safe antibacterial product
• Drink machines should be cleaned and sanitised. Kettles and coffee machines should be descaled and cleaned
• Fryers should be boiled out
• Hard-to-reach areas such as on top of cabinets should be cleaned and sanitised
• The inside of dishwashers and glassware cleaners should be wiped clean using a surface cleaner, and then run on a hot cleaning cycle. It will also help to prolong the life of your washer and ensure great results as well as sanitising
• Clean and sanitise your kitchen bins
It’s also a good idea to have a stock check of cleaning products and equipment and reorder
• Clean out the sink drains to prevent a build-up
• Descale your dish and glassware washers using a descaling product
• Check the ventilation units and extractor fans. If these are becoming greasy and dirty, it may be time to schedule a deep clean from a professional. It’s usually recommended that this is done once every 3 months, however, this does depend on the activity in your kitchen as to how often you clean them
All the information provided here won’t just make your commercial kitchen a cleaner, easier place to work, it will also help prevent any food cross-contamination risks. That means better food, happier customers, and safer staff. Not to mention a better Food Standards Agency rating.
If you would like any advice on products, please don’t hesitate to call us and a friendly member of the team will be happy to help you