Why are kitchen deep cleans important?
It’s no secret that good hygienic practices are vital in a food preparation environment, and regular hand washing and utensil sterilisation should be a given. But this only combats a tiny percentage of the potential contaminates and germs that can be found around a professional kitchen. Regular kitchen deep cleans are a necessity, not only in respect to the health of your customers, but also to remain fully in line with accepted hygienic practices and regulations.
A deep clean doesn’t just cover worktops and appliances, but every accessible surface, with a strong focus on problem areas such as extraction and ventilation points and behind fridges and heavy machinery. It is recommended that kitchens carry out a deep clean at least once a year – and in a lot of cases more often – and one-off deep cleans could also be advised, such as before the opening of a new restaurant or café where building work may have caused contamination.
The 1990 Food and Safety Act placed the responsibility for hygienic practices in commercial kitchens firmly in the hands of the food production industry, leading to stricter regulations in line with legislative demands, and the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 stipulates that food outlets are able to demonstrate the fact that they have a cleaning protocol in place. A regularly scheduled deep clean helps kitchens to meet this criterion, as well as offering a range of other benefits, such as better working conditions for staff, a prevention of pest infestation and hygienically prepared food for customers (stopping the risk of anyone contracting salmonella, e-coli and the like).
So what’s included in a kitchen deep clean?
Thorough Surface and Structural Cleaning:
While daily cleaning after a lunch or dinner service takes care of most worktops, this accounts for only a small percentage of the surface area of your kitchen. Deep cleans take care of the rest, extensively sanitising and degreasing all floors, ceilings, walls, cupboards and storage units, windows, vents and light fittings, as well as paying special attention to areas often overlooked in daily cleans, such as behind fridges, high shelves and ovens.
Appliance and Equipment Cleaning:
Keeping food preparation equipment that’s used every day clean is vitally important to good hygienic practice, and daily cleaning mostly covers pots and pans, utensils and the surfaces of cooking appliances. No matter how effectively this is carried out, however, burnt on oil and grease will still build up over time on ovens, fryers, grills and hobs. During a deep clean, appliances are dismantled, cleaned and reassembled where appropriate, thoroughly descaling, degreasing and decarbonising all equipment – particularly important for ovens that can suffer operational problems if not cleaned thoroughly around twice a year.
A crucial part of any kitchen deep clean, extraction and ventilation systems must be given special consideration, as an unclean air extraction system isn’t just unhygienic; it also contains the recipe for fire.
A build-up of grease and cooking fats, the flow of fire-fuelling oxygen and potential sparks from gas hob flames all add up to a fire hazard, and health and safety regulations state that risk assessments of ventilation systems must be carried out to minimise this danger. Your insurance could be invalidated if extraction equipment isn’t kept clean, and effective ventilation is important for safe working conditions, so don’t take this task lightly.