Your appliances are bound to be the most important pieces of equipment in your commercial kitchen, but are you treating them as such? Neglecting your oven, microwaves and other electrical devices can result in damage, as well as potential fires and accidents. Here, Beckie Hatton, Product Manager at Home Appliance Care shares her top maintenance tips for keeping your commercial appliances safe and working for longer.
Commercial kitchens can be hectic, with many dishes being prepared day in and day out, and plenty of staff constantly coming and going. But, with so much going on, you may find your cleaning and maintenance routines slipping, which could result in an injury to your staff who or breakage in the equipment itself. In fact, research by Which? revealed that 11 per cent of all household fires were caused by faulty cookers and ovens, while eight per cent were down to fridges and freezers.
So, if you think your commercial appliances are due some TLC, you’re in luck. Here, I will be sharing my top tips for maintaining your electrical kitchen equipment to ensure it’s always performing to the best of its ability, in a safe way.
Get your electrical appliances PAT tested
Any electrical appliance you have in your commercial kitchen should be subject to PAT testing: the process whereby the safety and suitability are assessed. Although PAT testing isn’t compulsory itself, The Electricity at Work Regulations 1989 advises employers that they need to ensure their electrical equipment is maintained to avoid accidents, injuries or danger. And, PAT testing is an effective way of doing this.
In most low-risk environments, the person conducting the tests can be any competent person with the correct knowledge and training, but on a larger scale it might be wiser to employ the services of an electrician. This is because your appliances will need to be tested with the right equipment, and the results will need to be understood properly.
Set a cleaning schedule for your main appliances
It can be difficult to find time to set aside to clean your appliances, especially during busy holiday periods. But, doing so can ensure you won’t incur any problems down the line which may put your business out of action for a while.
The easiest way to combat this problem is to ensure you set a cleaning schedule and that everybody sticks to it. To do this, you’ll need to consider which of your appliances will need cleaning the most and what the best way of doing this is. Assigning certain teams to these cleaning tasks or delegating them to specific people each day or week will ensure that everybody is taking responsibility for the appliances.
When it comes to creating this schedule, it’ll be helpful to have clearly labelled steps that your staff will need to follow. Plus, any imagery you can include demonstrating the process will ensure they understand what they need to be doing and at what stage.
Know the cleaning requirements of each appliance
Each appliance will have a different cleaning routine, but there are some general guidelines for some of your main pieces of equipment.
When coated with grease and fat, fryers are a significant fire hazard. It’s important to remove build-up by boiling water in the interior of the appliance. This should be done once or twice weekly as a minimum.
- Remove any oil (once it has cooled completely) and scrape any build-up from the walls and base using a cleaning rod.
- Add water to the level line and apply a grease-cleaning solution into the fryer.
- Turn your fryer on for 5–10 minutes to boil and remove any excess grime.
- Let the water cool and remove it.
- Wipe down the interior and rinse the fryer with water to remove any soap or oil.
Ovens and range cookers
Your oven is prone to gathering food crumbs and spills, which can cause fires or stop your appliance from working well. To prevent this, you’ll need to clean the inside the inside of your oven daily, doing one bigger clean at the end of the week.
- Remove oven racks and place in a sealed bag with a solution of water and washing up liquid for around 1–2 hours to get rid of stubborn build up.
- Make up another batch of the above solution to clean the inside of your oven and use a clean sponge to wash it down — make sure to pay special attention to any corners.
- Wipe down with a clean cloth to remove any loosened debris and soap.
- Scrub down any cooker tops with the same solution and soak any burners or grates for around 20–30 minutes to remove built up debris.
Grills are usually full of burnt food crumbs, so it’s important that you brush off any ash and scrub off any grime on the grates after each use. But, you’ll also need to clean them properly at the end of the day.
- Turn the grill off and allow it to cool completely.
- Remove any grease.
- Scrape the surface of the grill with an approved scraper for your appliance.
- Wipe away all of the food with a damp cloth.
Your toaster will collect crumbs at the bottom, which can burn, so you’ll need to clean these at least once a week depending on its usage.
- Unplug the toaster and leave to completely cool.
- Pull out the crumb tray and shake off any loose crumbs, or, turn the toaster and gentle shake it upside down if yours doesn’t have a crumb tray.
- Soak the crumb tray in warm soapy water until built up crumbs have been removed and then dry completely.
- Brush any remaining crumbs off using a pastry brush to get into any small corners.
- Place the crumb trays back.
Your commercial appliances can last you for years to come if cared for properly, so take my top three tips on board to ensure you’re cleaning and maintaining yours to a high standard.