Regularly cleaning and inspecting your restaurant’s commercial refrigerator is a DIY must to help prevent a long list of problems. Failure in cleaning and maintaining your refrigerator can often result in units breaking down more quickly, expensive repairs, and unsafe food storage that could result in spoiled food or a write-up from the Health Inspector.
1. KEEP THEM CLEAN
Ensure efficiency and top performance by keeping your refrigeration unit clean – inside and out!
- CLEANING INSIDE & OUTSIDE- The USDA and FDA recommend thoroughly cleaning the inside and outside of your commercial refrigerator at least once a week (or more depending on usage) using hot water and mild soap. Do not use any abrasive tools or harsh chemicals.
- Remove all items from inside and store in a temperature safe location while you thoroughly clean each section of your commercial refrigerator.
- ELECTRICAL COMPONENTS- Wipe down electrical components with a damp cloth or sponge, never use water on electrical components!
- CONDENSER COILS- The condenser coils are one of the most crucial pieces to inspect and clean. Clean the condenser unit at least once every three to six months with a coil brush or vacuum cleaner to remove any dirt, lint, or other buildups.
Condenser coils keep your refrigeration cold by removing warm air during operation. Dirty or damaged coils make the unit unable to hold at the correct food-safe temperatures. This results in higher energy consumption to compensate, a shortened coil lifespan, and eventually costly replacements.
- FRONT GRILL- Keep the front grill of your refrigeration unit free of dust and lint to permit airflow to the condenser.
- AIR FILTER- Once a month you should check and remove the buildup of dust or grease caused by your cooking equipment by first using a powerful vacuum. To remove thick grease build-up on the filter use a degreasing cleaner.
2. DECLUTTER OFTEN
- AROUND THE REFRIGERATOR UNIT- Develop a daily or weekly routine that checks to see if you have items around your unit and remove any furniture, debris, or any storage items that may be causing a blockage of airflow.
- INSIDE ORGANIZATION- Keep your refrigerator organized and not overstuffed to allow for proper airflow to the vents which will allow the condenser and refrigerator motor to work properly and maintain the set temperature.
3. INSPECT REGULARLY
Inspect all units for any signs of problems at least weekly. A quick routine check can help you identify problems before they become big problems.
- Are there any water leaks?
- Do you hear any excessive noise or strange sounds?
- Are there any broken hinges of fasteners?
- Do you see gaskets that won’t seal?
4. CALL IN A PRO
Consult with a refrigeration service provider twice a year and ask them to check your units. Make sure they are addressing the following items:
- Checking refrigerant levels
- Checking lines for condensation
- Clearing drain lines of debris
- Cleaning evaporator and condenser coils
- Checking the temperature and defrost settings
- Calibrating thermometers
- Cleaning fan blades
- Inspecting the fan motor
- Checking for air leaks through cracks, holes, and worn parts like gaskets and seals
- Checking for loose electrical connections
- Thoroughly cleaning all ice maker components
- Lubricating handles and door hinges
DOWNLOAD AND PRINT THIS MONTHLY AND ANNUAL CHECKLIST
Need a monthly checklist to keep your cleaning and maintenance duties on track? Print 12 copies of this commercial refrigerator cleaning and maintenance checklist and keep them on your equipment to help everyone stay on top of the essential cleaning tasks!