Hygiene is the most important thing when it comes to a commercial refrigerator. Large commercial fridges can be hard to clean, but if you break the process down into small steps, it becomes much easier. Read on for our useful guide.
The importance of cleaning and organising your refrigerator
Your business and your staff should put a lot of thought into how clean your business equipment is. Even though it can take a lot of time, there are many reasons why you should set aside time during business hours to deep clean things like fridges.
Let’s look at some of the most important reasons why you should clean your standard refrigerator, cake display refrigerator and more, as well as how it can help your business in the long run.
Complying with safety regulations
If you don’t keep your equipment in good shape with good fridge maintenance, it can become dangerous and put you, your team, and your customers in danger. Making sure your commercial refrigerator is cleaned regularly will help keep people from getting hurt or even starting fires.
Make sure to clean the front and back of the refrigerator, getting rid of any dust or dirt that has built up. Even though these may seem like small problems, they can quickly become bigger problems that affect how your commercial fridge works.
Adhering to food hygiene regulations
If your business has commercial refrigerators, you probably sell food to the general public. In this case, you will have to follow strict rules about food hygiene so that the customer doesn’t become unwell.
Bacteria can grow in a dirty fridge, making your food unsafe to eat and putting your customers’ health at risk. Make sure you clean your fridges often and get rid of any food that has gone bad or is past its sell-by date. If the package or product doesn’t have a manufacturer’s best-before date, you should use date labels to keep track of this.
Preventing stock wastage
Keeping your commercial refrigerator clean will also help keep stock from going bad. If your fridge is dirty, perfectly good food can get contaminated, which means you will have to throw away more.
The smell of dirty fridges can also stick to food and change how it tastes, so if you keep your fridges clean, you’ll give your customers the best-tasting food.
Maintaining a pleasant working environment
The smells that come from dirty fridges can also make it hard for your staff to do their jobs. In the worst case, it could even make your customers feel uncomfortable.
This often happens with milk and other dairy products that have been spilt and left in the fridge. If you spill something inside the fridge, clean it up well and don’t leave it.
Reducing the need for fridge maintenance or replacement
As mentioned previously, if commercial fridges aren’t cleaned well on a regular basis, they can get a lot of damage. This can even cause your commercial fridge to break, which can be very expensive to fix if it happens often, and you’ll need to engage a fridge freezer engineer to help you.
Your fridges should be kept in the best shape possible, just like any other piece of commercial equipment. This is important for both maintenance and cleanliness.
How to clean your commercial fridge
Below we’ll detail a step-by-step guide on how to clean your commercial refrigerator, cake display refrigerator, or walk-in cold rooms.
Some people don’t think this is an important step, but it’s really important to do this first to keep your staff from getting electrocuted. The risk, no matter small, is always there.
Empty each shelf
Don’t just move things in the fridge around. Empty everything out of the fridge so you can get to every surface, crack, and corner.
Throw away mouldy or out-of-date food
Check every item you take out of the fridge as you empty it. Check the dates on the products and pay close attention to how they look. If you think something may have gone bad, throw it away.
Wipe down the interior
Clean the inside walls and shelves of the fridge well with a sponge and warm, soapy water. Use an old toothbrush to scrub any dirt out of corners and other hard-to-reach places. After you’re done cleaning, use clean water to rinse the fridge.
Use a sanitiser to disinfect
Use a sanitiser that is safe to use around food after cleaning and rinsing. The stock can then go back in the fridge.
Vacuum the coils and condenser
When dust builds up on the coils, it can stop your fridge from working and make it cost more and use more energy to run. Use a vacuum cleaner to get rid of any dust and other things that have gathered.
Clean under and on top of the fridge
Mop the floor under the fridge and wipe down the top of the unit as well, as these places tend to get dirty and dusty quickly.
Commercial fridge organisation tips
Just as it’s essential to regularly clean and disinfect your commercial refrigerator, it’s also crucial to ensure that it is organised properly. Read on to find out more.
Follow the ‘First In, First Out’ rule
It’s important to know how long a product will last and when it should be used by to keep the quality of your food high. Make sure that when you organise your storage units, you follow the “first-in, first-out” (FIFO) rule. When you stock your fridge and freezer, put the newest items in the back.
If the dates are small, write them out again in larger print before you store the item in the fridge, and make sure the items are in a way that makes the dates easy to see. Make it easy for your workers to see what products they need to use. Use things that are already open before you open something new. This method works well and will save you a lot of money in the long run.
Using this method is always a good idea, but if you don’t want to or can’t for any reason, it’s still crucial to pay attention to use by dates and make a note of them. This will prevent your kitchen from using out-of-date food, and it will save on food waste as you won’t have to throw so much away.
Store meat on the lowest shelves
Always put meat on the bottom shelves of your fridge or freezer. If you keep your meat on the lower shelves, it will be easier to clean up if it gets dirty, but more importantly, you won’t risk dangerous cross-contamination. If any of the meat’s juices or marinade gets on something else, you must throw it in the bin right away, which is wasteful and costly. If you store meat on the higher shelves, it is much more likely to drip down and contaminate the rest of your food, which can spread harmful bacteria to your customers.
Don’t put food on the fridge floor
It’s important to keep all of your food off of the floor, even when it’s in the fridge so that water or other harmful substances don’t get into it. Even though this is a requirement of the health code, not everyone in your kitchen may know the specific rules, and that could lead to a lot of trouble, such as fines or even closure, in the future if an inspection is carried out.
One of the ways to combat this issue is to ensure there are enough shelves in the fridge. Also, make sure everyone on your staff knows that this rule keeps food from getting contaminated and keeps pests out of your commercial fridge. Often, putting a note on the door is enough to get their attention.
Leave space between items
Cold air needs to be able to move around in your commercial refrigerator and freezer. Even though you might want to pack things in as tightly as possible to make the most of the space, your fridge needs approximately three to six inches of space between food and the walls to work well. Air moving through your fridge keeps it from getting too hot or freezing unevenly.
Don’t store fresh items near the fans
In a commercial kitchen, the fans in the refrigeration and freezing units are very strong, so air can move around. However, this airflow can hurt some of your foods, and the fresher the food is, the more delicate it is, so the more likely it is that it can be damaged. Putting food close to the fans in the freezer makes it more likely that it will get freezer burn. It’s best to keep the freshest food further away from these fans.
Use plenty of labels
Be sure to put labels on the shelves. This may seem needless, but mistakes do happen, so it’s helpful to have a reminder. When you have new employees attempting to figure out the kitchen, it can be good to label everything so that they can find what they need, even if they aren’t as comfortable with your system. When you label your shelves, it’s easy to see if anything is missing or if you’re running out.
Any food or drink that is stored in the refrigerator must have a label, and this must be communicated to all staff members. The date of production or purchase, as well as the expiration date, should be included on this label. Prepared goods have a shelf life, so it’s crucial to know how long they’ve been around. Make it a policy that no food can be served that lacks proper labels.
If you’re in need of refrigeration solutions in the South West, look no further than Ian Hobbs Technical Services. Covering everything from initial site surveys and installation to maintenance and routine servicing, you can rely on us for all your commercial or industrial refrigeration needs. Contact us today to find out more.