The commercial refrigerator is perhaps the most commonly used shop-front point-of-sale and commercial kitchen appliance, as well as the top bacterial hotspot. With its long-term storage of food items and key ingredients, the commercial fridge is well-suited to high-volume activities, including the constant opening and closing of its doors as well as storing and rotating its contents.
Whether it's from a busy day in a supermarket, where an accidental breakage or poorly sanitized shelves can mean a commercial fridge can be littered with spills, stains, and bacteria. Foodborne illnesses can easily occur when there is a high risk of contamination, a frightening prospect for any retail operation that caters to customers who expect to obtain fresh, quality produce.
The presence of a regular cleaning protocol can transform the messiest of commercial refrigeration units, to a pristine state that will aid the sale of goods stored within. Cleaning commercial refrigeration equipment regularly and thoroughly helps ensure long-lasting performance as well as the highest standard of food safety. Here’s how:
These quick and easy cleaning hacks allow you to maintain a clean and safe refrigerated display. Follow these steps for daily and weekly cleaning, and stay on top of food safety and quality goods:
Remove all items from the shelves
It is impossible to clean a full commercial fridge when the unit is full - which is why the first step is to empty the whole unit. Be sure to prepare cooling units to temporarily store items that need to stay refrigerated to prevent spoilage.
This is also a great opportunity to: perform an inventory check at the same time, remove expired, mouldy, and discoloured items and discard them to avoid storing them inside again and risk contamination.
Check the expiration dates of other perishable goods. How close are they to their expiration date? Once you have performed your due diligence, make sure you organise these items accordingly, Rotating those so that the products nearest their expiration dates are ordered at the front of your point-of-sale.
Disconnect the unit from the power source
When the commercial fridge has been fully cleared, you may safely unplug it. Using this system, staff involved in cleaning are not exposed to the risk of electrical shocks or work-related injuries.
Remove the fridge interiors and wipe them down
Wiping down the interior of a commercial refrigerator is the bulk of its cleaning. Using hot soapy water and highly absorbent microfiber or micro-abrasive cloths, clean the shelves and walls to get rid of grime and stains left behind by heavy use, breakages and spills. Brushes with strong, flexible bristles are best for hard-to-reach areas. Rinse all surfaces thoroughly with hot water again after scrubbing.
Use a food-safe sanitiser to disinfect
Commercial refrigeration equipment can easily be cleaned and disinfected with chemical cleaners - but not all of them are safe to use on surfaces that come into contact with food products regularly.
You should use a food-safe sanitiser to sterilize your commercial fridge. Clean all surfaces with a gentle, food-safe cleaner that doesn't contain toxic chemicals. To clean refrigeration equipment effectively, it is best to have a frequent schedule with gentle or low-strength cleaners rather than an infrequent schedule with harsh or high-strength cleaners.
Keeping surfaces disinfected also helps you prevent stubborn stains from turning to mould or bacterial hotspots.
Clean the exteriors of commercial refrigerators
It is important to perform a thorough maintenance job on commercial fridges. You should also take care to keep the exterior of your fridge clean as it's a major accumulator of dust and grime. Clean the floors under and around your commercial fridge and fridge freezers, making sure to pull the casters away from the wall so the surrounding areas are completely clean. Remember to dust and wipe down the top of the unit as well.
Make sure the door seals and gaskets are clean
Commercial refrigerator door seals ensure the refrigerator maintains an airtight seal and optimal temperature. The closure of doors prevents warm air from entering and cold air from escaping, keeping items stored inside properly chilled and preventing spoilage.
A door gasket's tight seal is compromised by tough, crusty stains, grime, and dirt. Cleaning the gaskets with a soft cloth and soapy water will ensure that the seal and climate control are restored. Commercial refrigeration engineers can also apply a vinyl seal annually to ensure that the door gaskets last longer.
Commercial refrigerators require professional cleaning and maintenance in addition to regular cleaning protocol. A certified commercial refrigeration engineer can safely clean the delicate parts that make up the cooling mechanism and identify any problems or repairs that need performing early, preventing further damage. Their typical responsibilities include the following:
Condensers coils and vacuums
Inside a commercial fridge, the condenser and coils guarantee optimum climate control and food storage but dust and debris can clog them up. As a result, air intakes tend to become clogged, forcing the condenser to work overtime, which consumes more energy to maintain optimal cooling temperatures. By overworking and eventually breaking down, the burden of higher utility bills and repair costs is exacerbated.
Having the condenser coils cleaned regularly by a certified commercial fridge engineer can help prevent this from happening. The commercial refrigeration company will safely remove the protective grill twice a year, clean the coils and fan unit, and use an industrial vacuum to remove dirt and dust.
Evaporator coils should be cleaned
The evaporator coil also collects sediment throughout its long-term operation, just like the condenser. When you have regular commercial fridge maintenance performed by a commercial fridge company, the bottom of the pan can be safely removed and the evaporator coils cleaned using a specially formulated solution.
Drain lines should be cleaned
The drain lines of a commercial fridge can become clogged with debris and mould. Cleaning them out at least once a year is essential to maintain regular function and ensure optimal flow. Commercial refrigeration technicians should be entrusted with drain line maintenance.
Bond Group provides expert quality commercial fridge servicing and repair. If you are looking for an industry-leading supplier and service provider to manage your equipment and units, get in touch and schedule a consultation with our experts to find out more!