When it comes to the commercial catering environment, hygiene is one of the most important areas of concern. Combined with health and safety, its role in protecting your business income cannot be overstated. Under current food safety law, workplaces are encouraged to prepare cleaning schedules that list the various items which require cleaning and describe the relevant steps in detail.
In this article, we take a look at what your refrigerator cleaning schedule should cover.
Get Your Gloves On
With all cleaning duties, health and safety comes first. Before beginning any deep cleaning routine, you should ensure that you are wearing a suitable pair of undamaged gloves. Not only does this protect your skin from exposure to cleaning chemicals, it also increases the hygiene level by avoiding cross contamination by way of skin contact.
Before handling any detergents or other chemicals, ensure that you are familiar with COSHH guidelines in your workplace, and that you are able to identify preparations correctly as well as being familiar with the correct dilutions for a given task.
Empty The Fridge
Before beginning to deep clean a refrigerator, all food should be removed, along with any obvious spillages, dirt etc. This serves to both protect the food from contact with chemicals, as well as ensuring that nothing obstructs an effective clean.
It is important that food safety rules are followed too. Make sure that the food remains in the correct temperature zone - there are strict rules on how long foodstuff can be kept at different temperatures. Ideally, use a second refrigerator or a cool box to store the food whilst cleaning is in progress.
It can be worth strategically scheduling refrigerator cleaning for a time when stock levels are at their lowest, however this is not always possible.
Initial cleaning should be performed using hot water and an approved detergent. For health and safety, be sure that the detergent is diluted according to the manufacturer’s instructions.
Before beginning, any shelves and removable components should be removed. These parts can be washed in a sink, following the same procedure as the interior. The initial clean will serve to remove surface dirt, grease and food residue and any other dirt that is present. Once all surfaces and components have been cleaned, they should be rinsed to ensure that no detergent residue remains.
Once the initial cleaning and rinsing have been done, give the surfaces a quick examination to ensure that nothing has been missed. If you are satisfied that they are 100% clean, an approved disinfectant should be applied. The refrigerator should then be dried naturally or with the use of a clean or disposable cloth.
Reassemble & Replace
Once all the surfaces, shelves etc are completely dry, you can reassemble the fridge and replace the food. As you have just cleaned the fridge, it makes sense to keep an eye out for soiled containers and spoiled food at this stage. You should also be sure to follow guidelines for correct storage of food products including prepared foods, meat etc.
Once all contents have been replaced, keep an eye on the temperature display to ensure that the refrigerator returns to the correct operating temperature.
With foodstuffs safely back where they belong, your attention should shift to the exterior. This should be washed, rinsed and sterilised in a similar fashion to the interior. The exterior cleaning should include door handles and seals.
Whilst washing the seals, look out for any signs of wear or damage - incorrectly fitting seals can cause increased energy consumption and should be flagged up for attention.
The exterior clean should also periodically include vents and the condenser. Dirt buildup and obstructions in these areas can significantly increase energy use and also shorten the life of the equipment.
Following the correct cleaning procedures will not only ensure that your premises stays clean and healthy, it may also help you identify any issues with your refrigerators before they become a problem.
At Carlton, we stock an extensive range of commercial refrigeration equipment from the leading manufacturers in the field with a range of financing options available. If you’d like to talk to an expert about your specific needs, contact us online or call us on 01793 512550