10 Kitchen Cleaning Tips for Items You're Probably Overlooking

One of the more important, but often neglected, aspects of restaurant management is learning how to keep a kitchen spotless. With so many moving parts (and people), it's easy to overlook the maintenance of certain areas and equipment. This list of kitchen cleaning tips highlights 10 spots you may be forgetting.

  1. Mops and Buckets
    It's impossible to keep a kitchen floor clean if the tools you use are dirty. You'll only succeed at spreading filthy water, and possibly contaminants, all over the floor. Mops and buckets should be rinsed and cleaned after each use. Also, you should store them on hooks so they dry properly and avoid contact with the floor when not in use.
  2. Refrigerator Coils
    Once a month, move your refrigeration unit away from the wall and brush the dust off the coils. This will help the fridge function better and ensure food is stored at an even temperature, according to A Better City. It also won't hurt to wipe the shelves down daily to avoid mold and remove stains and crumbs.
  3. Ice Machine
    If not properly cared for, ice machines can breed bacteria and contaminants. Check the manufacturer's recommendations for how often to sanitize the machine, which typically range from every two to six months. According to KaTom, signs that your machine is due for a cleaning include cubes that are smaller than normal, ice with a weird taste and cloudy cubes.
  4. Dishwasher
    Just like you can't clean a floor with a dirty mop, you can't clean dishes with a dirty dishwasher. To keep your machine running smoothly (and smelling heavenly), remove the racks, clean its drain and scrub the inside with a toothbrush, suggests Cleanipedia. Leave the door open to allow it to dry after each use.
  5. Can Openers
    These little gadgets are used to open everything from canned fruit to tins of tuna, so it makes sense to keep it clean and avoid cross-contamination. When tackling the job, don't just zero in on blades, but also wipe the entire instrument, including the handle, with a sanitizer solution.
  6. Beverage Dispensers
    Remove and wash the nozzles on beverage dispensers at the end of the day. Otherwise, pesky fruit flies and bacteria can feed on the trace amounts of sugar that have accumulated on the nozzles.
  7. Anti-Fatigue Mats
    Many kitchens use these specially designed polyurethane mats to absorb shock and make standing more comfortable. They must be cleaned, sanitized and left to air-dry daily.
  8. Trash Areas
    Although it sounds oxymoronic, keeping trash areas clean is one of the better kitchen cleaning tips to follow religiously. Just because the dumpster is where waste goes doesn't mean it should be dirty. Messy trash areas are a magnet for pests and get stinky. Hose down the exterior of your dumpster regularly and make sure staff members put all garbage securely inside the dumpster, not in open containers or on the surrounding area.
  9. Phones
    Restaurant phones — especially the kitchen phone — come in contact with various staff members all the time. That quickly spreads germs from one person to the entire staff. To mitigate this, wipe phones down with an antibacterial cleansing cloth or disinfectant every few hours, especially during cold and flu season, when germs can spread like wildfire.
  10. Fryer
    It's a messy job, but fryers should be cleaned daily, or at the end of each shift, depending on what type of oil you use and what you're frying. Commercial kits are available to test freshness, but a visual inspection is almost as reliable. If you notice the oil is darker in color, changing viscosity, smoking, frothing or emitting any off-putting odor, it's time to drain and clean the fryer. Food Service Warehouse suggests a deep clean every three to six months.

Photo credit: Wikimedia Commons