The key to keeping your commercial kitchen clean is consistency. Some messes need to be cleaned up as soon as they happen, such as spills or spaces where raw food is prepared and cooked. Some areas can be cleaned daily at the close of business, and some areas can be cleaned as needed; however, kitchen staff need to have a plan and know exactly what needs to be cleaned and when. Using effective cleaning products is an effective plan to ensuring your commercial kitchen is germ free after it is cleaned, but just as important, is using germ-resistant surfaces at all times and using clean cleaning utensils. Here are a few tips on keeping your commercial kitchen clean.
#1 Use a Checklist
Using a checklist will help all kitchen staff stay on the same page and makes it clear as to what has been completed and what needs to be done — if you need to, you can also add who is responsible for doing it. Be sure to post in in an obvious spot that is not obstructed by anything and can easily be read without flipping pages, if someone is wearing gloves, the last thing you want is for them to have to interact with their to-do list! If you have several employees who are responsible for conducting the cleaning, making the checklist dry erase and attaching a marker can allow staff to initial once tasks are complete. This is especially useful if you have several shifts that are responsible for different tasks. Checklists are meant as guidelines and if messes are made, be sure your staff is also cleaning as they go. Checklists are only effective if they are used consistently, which means you may need to follow-up regularly to ensure tasks are being completed, and to standard.
#2 Keep Cleaning Utensils Clean
Keeping cleaning utensils clean is an area that is sometimes overlooked. It does no good to wipe down a counter with bleach spray and a dirty towel or sponge. While it may lift sticky residue, it could leave behind more bacteria than it cleaned up. Mops should be cleaned and allowed to air dry overnight; never leave mops in dirty water in mop buckets. Mop buckets should always be emptied, cleaned, and allowed to dry completely (which may mean drying them upside down). Standing water is already a breeding ground for bacteria, virus, and insects. Rodents also seek out standing water. Puddles near floor drains and mop buckets are ideal places for feeding, especially if the mop water is dirty from cleaning up a food spill! Whenever possible, disposable cleaning utensils should be used over reusable ones. For instance, paper towels are preferable to towels and wipes are preferred to reusable sponges. If you’ve chosen to be environmentally conscious or fiscally responsible and use reusable cleaning utensils, make sure that they are durable and cleaned regularly. Detachable mop heads and sponges can easily be laundered.
#3 Use Cleaning Products Correctly
Be sure to read cleaning product labels to ensure they are being used correctly. For instance, some cleaning products may make your stainless steel kitchen racks shine like new but offer no disinfecting qualities. Bleach products should be air dried for maximum effectiveness. Most 1:10 bleach products (including disposable bleach wipes) say right on the container that they require a two minute exposure time and should air dry before the surface is used again. So, if you use a clean sponge and bleach to clean a counter and immediately dry it off with a paper towel, you have not actually sanitized the counter at all! Be careful not to mix incompatible cleaning products as it can cause unsafe conditions — never mix ammonia and bleach, the combination causes lethal fumes!
Your commercial kitchen is the hub of your business. Whether you run the local coffee shop, a five star gourmet restaurant, or a bakery, Schaumburg Specialties has the right products to make your commercial kitchen more effective. Contact us to see how we can help your commercial kitchen reach its potential, and stay tuned for part two of this kitchen cleaning series.