Daily Cleaning Checklist for a Commercial Kitchen

Daily Cleaning Checklist for a Commercial Kitchen

A few daily steps that will help you avoid disastrous situations.

Download Free Daily Kitchen Cleaning Checklist PDF

If you're not keeping your commercial kitchen properly cleaned, it's not going to go unnoticed by your customers, employees, or the health department. The tables may be spotless and the tile floor gleaming with a fresh shine, but if the restaurant's kitchen isn't following a daily cleaning checklist, things can really get out of hand. Dirt, grime, and general grossness can collect very quickly and can become overwhelming if you're not taking the appropriate steps to keep it under control. Creating a daily cleaning routine for your commercial kitchen is a great step in the direction of general cleanliness that will combat foodborne illnesses and even help prevent excessive food waste. Any size kitchen, from fast food to fine dining needs to embrace daily kitchen cleaning routines in order to pass health inspections and prevent food contamination that can hurt customers. It's a small step to take to help protect customers, employees, and your reputation. 

Don't Be Another Statistic

The National Institutes of Health (NIH) report that 48 million cases of foodborne illnesses occur in the United States each year, and more than half of those are associated with eating in restaurants. You don't want your restaurant to be one of those statistics. A cleaning checklist makes it easier for employees to track what needs to be done and complete it more effectively, so the only thing that is served to customers is delightfully satisfying meals (not harmful germs & bacteria!). 

Cleaning Throughout the Shift

Back of the house life can get hectic. The flow of food orders is consistently heavy, and you barely have time to breath, much less worry about how clean the outside of the garbage can is. While many tasks, like wiping down the garbage cans, can wait until you're nearing the end of your shift, some should happen naturally as chefs, cooks and staff perform their regular duties. Adding a complete list of tasks to a daily checklist provides a helpful reminder when things get hectic and limits room for excuses for not getting it done. For example, cleaning throughout the shift can include:

  • Wiping down and disinfecting prep and line surfaces
  • Changing cleaning rags and sanitizing water as needed
  • Brushing the grill between cooking vegetables and proteins
  • Cleaning & sanitizing utensils between uses so there's no chance of cross-contamination. 

A sturdy grill brush with scraper is a must-have for all commercial kitchens. Consider a double-sided brush that works great not only for the grill but for the broiler as well. 

After Each Shift and Daily Cleaning Musts

Teamwork makes the dream work, right? Take some of the stress off employees by breaking the kitchen down into stations and having everyone do their part. Especially at the beginning of the daily cleaning checklist implementation, it will be important to hold employees accountable. A manager should do a quick scan of the kitchen after each shift to ensure everyone is keeping up with their assigned tasks. Dirt and germs don't care about staying within your assigned workstations - if one area is dirty, it's going to affect the rest of them.

The following tasks can be added to the daily cleaning list and done after each shift or at the end of the day and adapted to fit your particular kitchen and needs.

  • Disinfect all prep area surfaces
  • Wipe down & disinfect equipment like meat slicers, microwaves, toasters, coffee makers, and can openers
  • Remove splatters from surfaces of stoves, dishwashers, refrigerators, and other equipment
  • Clean equipment: flattop, grill, range, griddle, and fryer. A professional oven and grill cleaner product can cut through stubborn grease to ensure your kitchen gleams at the end of each day 
  • Any foil liners should be removed and replaced at the end of the day
  • Disinfect or replace sponges
  • All rags, dishtowels, aprons, and any uniforms must be laundered for sanitization
  • All cooking and serving utensils must be washed/sanitized
  • All dining dishes, flatware, glassware, and smallwares must be washed/sanitized
  • Clean and disinfect sinks
  • Disinfect the garbage disposal nightly
  • Wipe down soap dispensers and refill
  • Replace empty paper towel rolls 
  • Sweep and mop floors of main kitchen area, cleaning under mats as well
  • Sweep and mop floors in storage and pantry areas plus the walk-ins
  • All trash and recycling must be removed to an exterior dumpster or appropriate storage containers
  • Disinfect inside of trash can and its exterior surface

Download Free Daily Kitchen Cleaning Checklist PDF

Tip: When choosing a disinfectant, consider high-quality products that disinfect and sanitize hard surfaces as well as equipment like can openers, toasters, microwaves, and more.  

During these daily cleaning routines, employees should note wear-and-tear of items like anti-fatigue floor mats, cleaning brushes, rags, sponges, and the condition of the dish bins, trash cans, recycling, and other containers. Replacing worn out items can help maintain the health and cleanliness of the kitchen. 

It’s important to remember that bacteria and mold growth typically are highest in areas that are routinely damp or wet—sink drains, faucet handles, sponges, and rags. Keep these areas as dry as possible plus disinfect daily and dispose of old materials to ensure the space is clean and healthy.

Uh-Oh! Areas Often Neglected During Daily Cleaning

Sometimes no matter how good we think we clean, we forget a spot. That's why checklists are so important. Six specific areas stand out as the most often neglected during daily cleaning of commercial kitchens.

  1. Drink station nozzles: Bacteria plus mold can develop within the heads and around/on the gaskets. Not only will drinks taste bad, but it can make your customers sick as well as attract insects. This is a health code violation that will shut you down, but it's very easily avoidable!
  2. Can opener: needs to be washed frequently to remove bacteria, grime, and food particles.
  3. Ice scoop: Because it’s a food-contact surface, it must be washed/sanitized like any other serving spoon or tongs. In addition, never store the scoop inside the ice machine/bin. 
  4. Pass-through: The underside of the pass-through needs to be wiped every time the topside is cleaned. 
  5. Walls: Food splatters, grease, and daily dust coat kitchen walls, often just as much as it does on the floor. Wipe down walls, especially the backsplash area, daily.
  6. Fans and lighting: At the start of the day, the fans and lighting should be wiped clean to prevent any dust and dirt from wafting down into the workspace and consumables. 

Adjusting to Make It Work for Your Team

Any cleaning checklist can be customized for your commercial kitchen. In addition to a list of cleaning tasks, it’s recommended to provide an area for check-off and initials by employee completing each task (like this one provided here!). A separate daily cleaning checklist may be needed for each shift, or you may opt to have one central list. Consider adding a section where employees can indicate cleaning supplies that need to be restocked or reorder, items like cleaning gloves, brushes, sponges, trash liners, paper towel rolls, and more.

Maintaining a daily cleaning checklist for your commercial kitchen not only saves the health of your employees and dining guests, but it can save you money. A study conducted by the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg Schools of Public Health determined that a 250-person listeria outbreak in a casual style or fast food restaurant can cost $2.5 million in fines, increased insurance premiums, lawsuits, legal fees, and other expenses. Outbreaks in fine dining establishments can incur higher costs and are detrimental to your reputation. 

Is it time to restock your restaurant’s cleaning supplies? Contact us today for all your cleaning needs, from basic janitorial supplies to degreasers, dry mops, and equipment cleaning essentials. We’ll help you find exactly what you need to ensure your commercial kitchen remains clean and sanitary even during the busiest times. 


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