Restaurant Cleaning Checklist:

A Complete Guide To Cleaning Commercial Kitchens and Equipment

Having a clean dining room, kitchen, and equipment is one of the most important considerations when patrons choose a place to dine. Additionally, regular and proper cleaning of your commercial kitchen equipment makes it lasts longer, more efficient, and cook food properly with a consistently great taste.    

There are some jobs that need to be done multiple times a day, while others should be performed weekly or monthly.  

Follow this handy commercial kitchen cleaning procedure checklist to ensure your restaurant is spick and span, passing all health and safety inspections!  

Kitchen Items to Clean After Each Cooking Shift  

  • Wash and sanitize all surfaces including cutting boards, the line and prep tables  
  • Wash your meat and cheese slicer after each use  
  • Put all cleaning rags in dirty laundry. Also, throw in all aprons and chefs coats, but not in the same bin as the dirty rags.  
  • Clean the fryers  
  • Brush the grill  
  • Empty sanitizing buckets  
  • Make sure your steam table is empty and wiped clean  
  • If you have bins in your reach-in cooler, cover them in plastic wrap  
  • Wash your floor mats  
  • Sweep and mop the kitchen floor (you never know what kinds of messes happen on the kitchen floor!)  
  • Sweep the walk-in cooler  

Kitchen Items to Clean Daily   

  • Brush the grill between cooking red meat, poultry and fish  
  • Wipe down the line and prep areas  
  • Switch cutting boards  
  • Change sanitizing water and cleaning rags  
  • Empty trash bins  
  • Clean out grease traps  
  • If you have foil linings, change them on your grill, range or flattop  
  • Use a can opener? Be sure to wash that!  
  • Run your hood filters through the dishwasher  

Kitchen Items to Clean Weekly  

  • Delime your sinks and faucets  
  • Empty your reach-in refrigerators so you can wash and sanitize them  
  • Clean all coffee machines  
  • Clean oven (Use your manufacturer’s guide on how to do this one)  

Kitchen Items to Clean Monthly  

  • Clean freezers  
  • Empty and sanitize your ice machine (one of the dirtiest restaurant products!)  
  • Wash behind ovens, stoves, and fryers to eliminate grease build-up, which can result in a major fire hazard  
  • Wash walls and ceilings for grease and food stains  
  • Wipe down all storage areas  
  • Change pest traps (if applicable)  

Kitchen Items to Clean Yearly  

  • Clean the pilot lights on gas kitchen equipment  
  • Clean your hoods twice a year  
  • Check fire suppression systems and fire extinguishers  

Now, what about big equipment? How often should it be cleaned and how do I clean it? 

The following is generic instructions and guidelines for cleaning and upkeep of your equipment. Please consult the User Manual for your specific model for precise instructions on cleaning your equipment. Improper cleaning can lead to damage to the equipment or injury.  

Griddles  

Frequency: Daily  

How: Use a pumice stone or griddle brick to scrape food waste off of the griddle until the griddle’s surface is a bright metal and wiping the remaining powder residue. Never use steel wool, detergent, or oven cleaner to clean the griddle surface. Then, use a soft-bristled fiber brush in a circular motion to remove any remaining food particles. Wipe the surface with a clean cloth and dry thoroughly. Empty and clean the grease trough. Wipe down the splash guard in a sink with warm water and mild detergent. Wipe down exterior of griddle and control panel with a clean cloth and non-abrasive cleaner.  

For a more in-depth griddles cleaning guide, click here.

Charbroilers 

Frequency:  Daily  

How: Wipe exterior with a cleansoft cloth. Any discoloration can be removed with a non-abrasive cleaner. Remove the water pan and cooking grates and wash in a sink. To clean the heating element, remove the grate and scrub with a stiff wire brush or equivalent.

Refrigeration 

Frequency: Regular cleaning daily, coils at least every 3-4 months  

How: Wipe down the exterior, interior, and shelves daily with a clean, wet cloth for the protection of your produce. Additionally, you should clean the evaporator coil and condenser coil at least every 3-4 months. To clean these coils, wipe with a commercial coil cleaner. Then on the condenser coil, brush the fins from top to bottom (never side to side). Be sure that the unit is disconnected from power to clean the coils. These coils collect dust and lint that is in the air and can cause your refrigeration to not cool properly if not cleaned regularly. This simple step will keep your refrigeration running properly far longer!  

Hoods & Hood Filter  

Frequency: Regular basis (Weekly)  

How: Wash stainless steel hoods on a regular basis using a clean cloth, warm water, and mild soap or dish detergent. Clean in the direction of the polish lines. Rinse with clear water and immediately wipe dry. Note: be cautious about using “new and improved” cleaning agents. Most chemicals found in these cleaning agents react with the heat from being above hot cooking equipment and may loosen the paint.  

Aluminum mesh grease filters should be washed in your dishwasher approximately every month, depending on the amount of usage, with a non-phosphate detergent. Using phosphate detergents may cause discoloration of the filter. Baffle filters are made to operate for longer periods of time in high grease conditions. These need to be cleaned on a regular basis (every other month depending on usage) with soap and water.  

Note that this is a brief overview of cleaning your commercial hood filter. For the safety of your staff and customers, closely follow detailed instructions for cleaning.

Ice Machines  

Frequency: Every 6 months  

How: Remove evaporator and all ice from the bin or dispenser. Change toggle switch to CLEAN position. Wait until the water trough refills and water flows over the evaporator, then add the proper amount of ice machine cleaner. Wait until the clean cycle is complete and place the toggle switch in the OFF position and disconnect power. Remove and clean water curtain, ice thickness probe, water trough and shield, splash shield, and water pump assembly in a solution of cleaner and warm water. While those parts soak, thoroughly clean the food zone surfaces of the ice machine and bin/dispenser with a nylon brush or cloth.  

Fryers & Fryer Filters  

Frequency: Clean outside daily and the kettle/tank once a week or as needed (it is also recommended to clean the oil more than once a day)  

How: Wipe the exterior with a soft cloth. Any discoloration can be removed with a non-abrasive cleaner. To clean the kettle of an open pot style fryer, drain fat from fryer while the fat is warm, not hot. Rinse to remove all loose residue and crumbs. Fill with water, bring to a boil and add a fryer cleaner. Boiling time will depend on the condition of the fryer. Turn heat off, drain and rinse with water until clean. Use a vinegar rinse to stir, drain and rinse thoroughly with clean water. Wipe kettle with a soft cloth and allow to thoroughly dry.  

To clean the tank of a tube style fryer, drain the tank and flush out scraps and sediment with a small amount of warm shortening using tank brush. Use a low foaming cleaner/ degreaser to clean the fry tank. Add commercial boil-out solution, allow the solution to simmer for 15 to 20 minutes and drain the cleaning solution from the tank. Close the drain valve and refill the tank with water. Add 1 cup of vinegar to neutralize alkaline left by the cleaner. Bring the solution to a simmer and allow to stand. Drain the tank and rinse thoroughly with hot water so that all traces of cleaner are removed. Dry the tank and close the drain valve.  

Cleaning the oil will vary depending on the make and model of your fryer/filtration system, but it is important to clean the oil at least once a day, though it is recommended to clean it more frequently. This will decrease the chances of a grease fire, fill allow your fryer to operate more efficiently, and will give your food a better taste.  

For detailed step-by-step instructions, follow our fryer cleaning guide here.

Your equipment will now look as good as new and will work in a similar fashion! Your next step to create a HACCP Plan to ensure food safety in your kitchen – if you have any further questions, please speak with one of our helpful Product Consultants at 800.215.9293 – or live chat with them!

Download your Printable Restaurant Cleaning Checklist to always keep tasks at the top of mind.

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