Owning and operating a restaurant is rewarding in most cases, but following basic rules and regulations are essential for the success of your business and happiness of your customers. Unfortunately, ensuring your establishment is clean at all times can be difficult. Considering 36 percent of documented foodborne illnesses stem from improper food handling in restaurants, following the basic steps to clean your kitchen is essential. If you own or are managing a kitchen, you most likely understand the importance of food storage. However, storing food inside an unsanitized freezer can cause mold and bacteria in your kitchen. Using this guide, your walk-in freezer will be clean in a natural, non-toxic manner.
A thorough cleaning of your walk-in freezer will require you to remove all contents before the sanitization process begins. If possible, relocate food and other items into a second freezer or cooler before washing the interior of your main walk-in freezer.
You should also dispose of any items that are past their expiration date. Poultry, fish, meats, and milk are dangerous to consume or cook with after their expiration date. However, many processed foods are still suitable for consumption a few days after expiration.
Once you remove the interior items, you can begin cleaning your walk-in freezer. To prevent toxic fumes in your restaurant, consider using adding these natural ingredients to a spray bottle:
- 2 cups of warm water
- 2 cups of white vinegar
Shake the bottle to mix before spraying the interior of your freezer. Allow the vinegar solution to sit for a few minutes before wiping residue with a damp microfiber cloth.
While surprising to hear, vinegar contains acidic properties that are naturally antibacterial and antiviral. This natural solution removes stubborn residue from inside your freezer while killing germs and bacteria.
If your walk-in freezer is not keeping food at a specific temperature, you may have an issue with the appliance's operation. In many cases, the malfunction stems from an issue with the condenser. Hiring a technician to inspect your condenser coils is wise, but cleaning the coils every few months will increase the lifespan of your freezer.
To get started, remove the kick plate on the bottom of the freezer. This plate looks like a grill or vent and is easy to remove with a simple screwdriver. Soak the plate in a bucket filled with warm water. Add a few tablespoons of baking soda to the water. The baking soda will dissolve away tough dirt, dust, and any sticky residue.
Use the attachment on your vacuum to suction dirt and dust from under your freezer. Reach under the appliance to locate the condenser coils. Use a soft brush to remove dirt and debris from around the coils. Allow the kick plate to dry before reinstalling.
If the interior of your freezer develops large chunks of ice, you may have an issue with the evaporator. This icy buildup is not only unattractive, but the evaporator issue can affect the proper storage of frozen foods.
Every few months, remove the ice from the interior walls of your freezer. In addition, locate and inspect the evaporator coils for the buildup of ice. Use a pick to gently remove the icy buildup on the coils. Wipe the excess away with a damp cloth.
Once you clean the interior of your walk-in freezer, you should spend some time enhancing the exterior stainless steel finish. This will enhance the look of your professional kitchen, but also remove unappealing fingerprints and dangerous bacteria.
Use a solution containing 2 cups of water and 2 cups of white vinegar to clean your stainless steel. Spray the solution directly onto a microfiber cloth and wipe down the stainless finish. Use a dry cloth to wipe off the excess vinegar and water.
Running a safe, successful restaurant kitchen does not have to be stressful. Using these tips, you can clean and sanitize your walk-in freezer to ensure the safe, non-toxic storage of your food. For other restaurant equipment supplies and maintenance issues, be sure to talk to a professional.