In commercial kitchens, these cleaning methods make for a safe, successful environment.
From the moment you open for business, you need to ensure you and all staff in your establishment know how and when to clean each part of the facility. Even if you’re only serving drinks and pub grub, the same safety principles apply as with full-scale food establishments, and proper cleaning methods can help you prevent a foodborne illness outbreak.
Anywhere food or beverages are handled needs to be clean in order to be safe. Depending on the item to be cleaned, a different method may be needed.
When deciding which method to use, you’ll need to keep in mind:
- the item to be cleaned
- the type of soiling
- your water supply
- water temperature
- appropriate cleaning and sanitizing agents
Commercial kitchens use these three common cleaning methods:
- Manual cleaning
- Mechanical cleaning
- Clean-in-place cleaning
1. Manual cleaning
Manual cleaning is a 6-step process. It requires that you:
- Scrape: Use a clean brush or cloth to remove all dirt, grease and food particles. To remove all visible debris, cutlery and dishes may need to be soaked for a while before scraping.
- Rinse (first time): Rinse with clean, hot water once all debris and food are removed from the surface. The water must reach a temperature of 113°F (45°C) or above.
- Apply a cleaning agent: Remove any remaining grease or food using a cleaning agent and hot water. Always follow the manufacturer’s instructions because using too little or too much may be ineffective. Remember to thoroughly clean surfaces with small grooves or indentations, as bacteria can hide in these spots!
- Rinse (again): Reduce the risk of chemical contamination by using hot water at a minimum temperature of 113°F (45°C) to rinse and remove any detergent or cleaning agent.
- Sanitize: You can sanitize using hot water or a chemical sanitizer. When using a chemical sanitizer, always follow the manufacturer’s instructions to ensure the correct concentration, temperature and contact time. Be extra safe and test your sanitizing solution with a test kit!
- Dry: Always let items air dry as it’s more sanitary than using cloths or dish towels, which could potentially carry bacteria and actually undo your work. Leave items to air dry on a clean, non-porous draining board that is sloped downward.
Use visual reminders of the cleaning and sanitizing process around the business to help ensure staff follow the correct steps!
2. Mechanical cleaning
Most food businesses use a combination of manual and mechanical cleaning and sanitizing. Mechanical dishwashers or other automated cleaning equipment are often used for utensils, glassware, chopping boards and small kitchen equipment. Machines either use a high-temperature rinse or a chemical sanitizer to sanitize the items.
The mechanical cleaning method uses a 4-step process that is similar to manual cleaning:
- Scrape the items to be washed.
- Rinse with clean, hot water to remove as much dirt and food residue as you can.
- Load items into the machine.
- Load the items into the machine
- Switch on the machine
A few tips to keep in mind when using the mechanical cleaning method:
- Be sure to scrape and rinse each item first to prevent clogging the machine with food!
- Overloading the machine can prevent items from getting cleaned properly.
- Always use the full washing cycle.
- Machines must be cleaned and sanitized on a daily basis. Always follow the manufacturer’s instructions for your mechanical dishwasher and stay on top of the cleaning schedule.
- Depending on the sanitizing method used by your machine, you’ll also want to perform maximum water temperature and chemical concentration checks daily.
3. Clean-in-place cleaning
Clean-in-place cleaning is used for items and kitchen equipment that are too large to move to the regular cleaning and sanitizing stations. Some equipment that could use the clean-in-place method include:
- soft serve ice cream machines
- espresso machines
- beer fermenters and brite tanks
- stills and other distilling equipment
- soft drink dispensers
These machines are usually designed with pipes or other apparatus for cleaners/sanitizers and hot water to be flushed through the system. If the machine does not have a built-in apparatus for cleaning, you can follow this 8-step process similar to manual cleaning and sanitizing:
- Unplug the equipment and disassemble.
- Wipe down any soiling such as crumbs or spills.
- Rinse the item.
- Apply detergent and scrub as needed.
- Rinse off the visible signs of detergent.
- Sanitize with hot water or a chemical sanitizer.
- Let the item air dry.
- Reassemble all parts once dry and plug back in.
Remember to follow the manufacturer’s instructions to prevent chemical contamination or machine damage!
Correct cleaning and sanitizing are crucial
Cleaning and sanitizing processes are extremely important in a bar, pub, restaurant or any place that serves food and drinks to the public. Your customers and business are put at risk if proper cleaning and sanitizing methods aren’t followed.
Food safety training is essential for all food handlers so that they have the properly knowledge for how, what and when to clean and sanitize, as well as understanding the risks of not following proper procedures.
Effective cleaning and sanitizing also helps the business:
- prevent pest infestations, which can increase operational costs and damage your reputation;
- pass its health inspections and avoid costly fines or closure;
- protect customers from food poisoning and other health risks, like allergic reactions to food.
Without proper cleaning and sanitizing, your establishment could be at the root of a foodborne illness outbreak, leading to severe illness or even death. Protect customers, employees and yourself by ensuring these three cleaning methods are mastered in your business.