Whether you’re operating a burger grill, an industrial cafeteria, a  posh bistro, or large family buffet,  here are 10 cleaning questions and answers every eatery manager should know.

What does a cleaner do in a restaurant?

A vital part of any restaurant’s operations is the staff who help preserve the integrity of the business and cleaners provide an important component of those operations.

Cleaners are responsible for dusting, mopping, sweeping, waxing floors, vacuuming, and ensuring spaces occupied by patrons are cleaned and sanitary. They may also be responsible for routine inspections, such as making sure cleaning standards are appropriately adhered to for the next day of service, depending on the business. 

How do professionals clean restaurant kitchens?

Quarterly or twice a year is when many restaurants choose to have deep cleaning performed to meet inspection requirements. A comprehensive cleaning will be performed by the service and proof of that cleaning to satisfy state and federal laws. Some services may opt to use pressure washers to clean and sanitize your kitchen. After removing grease, dirt, and grime, the powerful blast of water is beneficial and gets the job done in a reasonably short amount of time.

How often should a restaurant kitchen be cleaned?

A kitchen team should be cleaning and sanitizing throughout their shifts; however, there are times in a kitchen that certain things only require yearly, every six months, monthly, or weekly cleaning and sanitizing.


  • Clean ovens inside and out.
  • Delime sinks and faucets.
  • Empty, wash, and sanitize walk-in coolers.
  • Clean and re-season cast iron skillets.

Once a Month

  • Food debris like sugar, flour, and crumbs can attract pests; so, it’s important to empty and clean freezers, ice machines, and dry storage areas. This bacteria and heavy frosting won’t become issues.
  • Clean grease build-up behind ovens, ranges, and fryers to diminish potential fire hazards.

Every Six Months

Hood and exhaust systems should be cleaned at least twice per year. Depending on the frequency of traffic, your business may determine recurring cleaning of these systems is necessary.


  • Oven and grill pilot lights that run on gas should be cleaned by professionals if there are any reservations about them getting appropriately cleaned by the owner, management, or staff. Oven equipment specifications are unique to the manufacturer, make and model, so be sure to adhere to those guidelines when cleaning oven and grill pilot lights.
  • In case of emergencies, the fire extinguishers and fire suppression systems are crucial. Grease and residue can build up in these systems over time, causing them to malfunction. Proper maintenance and cleaning reduce fire risks so that your business remains protected and violation-free. These systems should also be a top priority on your yearly checklist of vital things to clean in your restaurant or commercial kitchen.

How do you sanitize a restaurant kitchen?

Use sanitizers throughout the entire restaurant, with particular emphasis on the kitchen. Even though washing equipment and services cleans them, sanitizing is necessary to kill the bacteria and viruses. Without proper sanitation of kitchen surfaces, equipment, and employees’ hands, microbes can be transferred from one food to another, leading to food-borne illness.

Below are examples of where cleaning crews should use sanitizers:

  • Walls
  • The grill, griddle, range, flattop and fryer.
  • Coffee makers, microwaves, toasters and slicers.
  • Prep area surfaces.
  • Beverage dispenser heads and soda guns.
  • Sinks.
  • Wash rags, towels, aprons and uniforms in a washing machine.
  • Walk-in refrigerators and other storage.
  • Waste disposal areas and trash cans.
  • Floors

Can you use bleach in a restaurant kitchen?

Yes,  bleach is frequently used to clean restaurant and commercial kitchens, and there are very stringent guidelines relative to bleach and water dilution for effective sanitation.

According to the Water Quality and Health Council, an independent, multidisciplinary group of scientific experts, health professionals, and consumer advocates, recommends that food contact surfaces be sanitized with an appropriate bleach solution made by diluting 1 tablespoon of regular bleach (approximately 6% strength and with an EPA registration number) to 1 gallon of water. After cleaning and sanitizing, food contact surfaces must be allowed to air dry and the surface must remain wet for at least 2 minutes to achieve effective sanitation.

How do you deep clean a restaurant?

Cleaning kitchen equipment is especially important because it’s being touched and used frequently. Important to these procedures is disassembling the equipment such as oven hoods, filters and exhaust systems, oven racks, deep fryers, and bread proofing oven drawers. Surface areas like faucet knobs, countertops (underneath as well), and floor mats need to be sanitized.

How do you clean a restaurant kitchen grill

In any restaurant or commercial kitchen, the grill is the most used piece of equipment because it’s where the food is cooked. To avoid possible cross contamination and food borne illnesses, the grill should be cleaned everyday.

Important:  Always follow the grill manufacturer’s instructions for safe operation and cleaning. The manufacturer’s instruction will likely cover:

  • Heating the grill so it’s hot and pour a cup of clean cooking or fryer oil to the surface.
  • With a pumice stone or griddle brick, scrub the grill with this tool in small circles to scour off food particles and residual grease and dispose of in the grease trap.
  • Then pour a half a cup of vinegar to the grill surface. The acid in the vinegar helps lift grease deposits and stains.
  • Scrub the grill a final time with a rag that’s been soaked in cooking oil to polish and finish the decontamination process.

How do you clean a restaurant kitchen deep fryer?

Another main component of the kitchen is the deep fryer and not cleaning it can lead to a costly mistake, either by exposing someone to cross contamination or having to purchase a new fryer system because of crud and oil build up.

Important:  Always follow the fryer manufacturer’s instructions for safe operation and cleaning.  The manufacturer’s instruction will likely cover:

  • Ensuring the fryer is turned off, at room temperature, and grease is unheated.
  • Draining the fryer wells and removing the baskets.
  • Cleaning the drain lines with a cleaning rod to remove excess bits of food and grease.
  • Cleaning the fryer wells with hot water and draining.
  • Filling the fryer wells with cool water and adding an eco-friendly cleaner and boil for 20 minutes. Draining the fryer and scrub the inside surfaces until clean.
  • Rinsing excess cleaning solution and water from the dryer well.
  • Fryer baskets can be cleaned with simple soap and water, but should still be sanitized and left to dry before the next use.

How do you clean a restaurant kitchen exhaust hood?

Exhaust hoods and exhaust systems are in place to ensure smoke, bad odors and excess heat is expelled from the kitchen ensuring the safety of staff and the kitchen itself.

Important:  Always follow the exhaust hood manufacturer’s instructions for safe operation and cleaning. The manufacturer’s instruction will likely cover:

  • Ensuring the grill is turned off and at room temperature.
  • Disassembling  the hoods of the exhaust system and filters.
  • De greasing the hoods and filters as well as any wall mounted fans.
  • Cleaning all ducts and replacing any worn out or loose fan belts.

Since exhaust systems and hood systems are such an intricate process, it is recommended that a professional kitchen cleaning service be used to ensure proper reassembly and replacement of components.

How do you clean a restaurant kitchen oven?

Commercial kitchen ovens hold the same level of importance as the grill when it comes to cleaning and disinfecting. Food tends to burn on the surfaces of the racks, like burned cheese, for example. Without proper cleaning, the buildup of residual food can cause a fire hazard and poor tasting food.

Important:  Always follow the oven manufacturer’s instructions for safe operation and cleaning. The manufacturer’s instruction will likely cover:

  1. Removing the oven racks to be cleaned and disinfected separately.
  2. Brushing off excess food particles, soak and scour until clean
  3. Cleaning the inside of the oven with vinegar and baking soda.
  4. Sanitizing the oven racks with a non-toxic cleaner, let dry and reinsert the oven racks.

How do you clean a restaurant proofing oven?

Many restaurants of bread proofing drawers and ovens, specifically designed for keeping bread and some baked products evenly heated until it’s time to serve the customer.

  1. Remove the water pan at the bottom of the proofing drawers as well as any racks.
  2. Clean and sanitize before the next use.

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