Commercial Oven Cleaning and Maintenance

Burkett Commercial Oven Cleaning & Maintenance Tips

Commercial ovens are one of the most vital components of any professional kitchen. From warming foods to cooking entire meals, depending on your specific industry, your oven is perhaps one of the most utilized pieces of commercial kitchen equipment. Most foodservice establishments cannot afford for their oven to break down, therefore regular maintenance and cleaning is essential. For these reasons, it is important to keep your commercial oven performing at peak performance.

Why should you clean your commercial oven?

Like all cooking equipment, your oven needs to be cleaned to continuously produce the high-quality meals your customers crave. It’s important to regularly clean commercial ovens, not doing so can negatively affect your food’s taste, smell, and look. Also, neglecting to clean a commercial oven can lead to performance issues and costly maintenance.

How often should you deep clean a commercial oven?

Commercial ovens should generally be cleaned out and wiped down daily with more deep cleanings happening weekly or even monthly depending upon usage. Cleaning out debris in between cooking cycles is important and can help extend time between deep cleans.

How often your oven should be cleaned is very much dependent on how often your oven is used. For restaurants that use their oven all day long, a daily wiping will be needed, with deep cleanings scheduled weekly or bi-weekly. For smaller establishments weekly or monthly deep cleanings may suffice.

What you are cooking can also affect how often you should be cleaning your commercial oven. If you are cooking products with lots of grease or sauce that may spill out when moving the pan, then you will need to clean more often. Remember that any spills or crumbs left in your oven will continue to cook and affect whatever product is next to be cooked.

Properly cleaning your commercial oven will keep it in ideal working order, saving you time and money. While specific maintenance requirements may vary by manufacturer or style, here are a few general tips to extend the life of your oven.

*Refer to your oven’s manual for more specific maintenance and cleaning advice.

General Oven Cleaning Tips

  1. TURN POWER OFF – First and foremost, make sure your oven is set to the off position and cool before beginning to clean.
  2. Remove oven racks and wash them in soap and hot water. Avoid using steel wool because they can damage wire racks. For tougher grease and debris, use a nylon brush or let wire racks soak for an extended period.
  3. Clean the interior with a non-abrasive sponge or cloth. A wet cloth should work well enough to remove grease and residue. For tougher and greaser interiors, use an appropriate grease or oven cleaner. Review your owner’s manuals for specific cleaning tools.
  4. Clean the exterior with a wet cloth. Avoid using abrasive cloths, scrapers and harsh chemicals that can damage the exterior finish.
  5. Cooling fans are standard on all commercial ovens and should be cleaned daily, depending upon usage. The cooling fan can be found beneath the lower panel or behind the side control box. With the power off, remove the side or bottom panels, then clean the fan with a brush.
  6. Inspect the oven door seal to prevent heat from escaping.
  7. Clean around the inside and outside of the oven door to remove food particles that prevent proper closing.
  8. Inspect all ventilation and air circulation to make sure there is no blockage.
  9. Put wire racks, supports, or any other interior accessories back into the oven before powering on.

Spills
Any spills should be immediately cleaned up as they will only get harder to clean by the end of the day. Any residual crumbs should be cleared after each use since they can smolder and cause smoke. Also, leftover crumbs will continue to cook and blend their aroma with whatever is currently cooking, which can affect not only taste but smell and look as well.

Calibrate Thermostats
Commercial oven use may become inefficient over time as thermostats become out of tune and need re-calibration. Every few months, make sure your thermostats are measuring temperature correctly. Use an internal oven thermometer to help calibrate and compare with your desired temperature. If there is a discrepancy, the oven controls may need to be recalibrated or the thermostat may need to be replaced.

The landscape for commercial ovens has changed greatly over the last few decades. Various oven types like rapid cook ovens and hydrovection ovens have been added to increase user convenience and increase efficiency. But there are some ovens that are just ingrained in the foodservice industry.

Now, let’s discuss some specific CLEANING TIPS for the most widely used commercial ovens.

Conveyor Ovens

  • Numerous sections of a conveyor oven must be removed and cleaned separately to clean it effectively.
    • The conveyor belt, crumb trays, draft diverters, and impinger fingers all will need removed in order to properly and thoroughly clean them.
    • Cleaning these pieces daily is normally advised, but some restaurants find that weekly cleanings are sufficient.
  • Remove and wash the belt monthly for optimal performance.
  • Thoroughly blow out the fan motor components and vents with compressed air to prevent the failure of the blower fan motor, usually every 3 months.
  • For more specific information, consult your owner’s manual.

Convection Ovens

  • Remember to prioritize cleaning of the intake fan on your convection oven.
    • The intake fan can present difficulties in several different ways: whether it is a loosened hinge, stuck food particles, or lack of oil. 
    • Every week, remove the intake fan and clean it separately. 
    • Also, run a quick checkup of the intake fan hinge to ensure that it will properly secure the fan.
  • You can clean the porcelain interior with a commercial oven cleaner, but do not allow the cleaner to encounter the temperature probe, heating element or blower wheel.
  • Let the oven cleaner sit for 10-20 minutes, then wipe clean with wet cloth.
    • If you have caked on spills inside your oven, use an oven brush to thoroughly clean these spots.

Pizza Deck Ovens

Dough can create ashy clumps and blotches on the stone deck of your pizza deck oven.

  • To clean, increase the heat until all leftover food particles have turned to ash
  • Then scrub the deck with an oven brush to remove the unwanted particles.
  • Cleaning solutions and water will cause the deck to crack over time, so try to stay away from them.

Combination Ovens

Combination ovens combine the functions of a standard oven, a convection oven, and a steamer into one unit. As a result, more maintenance is required to address each of these distinct functions.

  • The fan, like in a convection oven, will need to be removed and cleaned on a regular basis
  • The racks, like in a standard oven, will need to be removed and cleaned daily.
  • The steamer is unique in that it needs to be completely emptied and delimed on a regular basis.

Rotisserie Ovens

Rotors and spits tend to become dirty due to the function of a rotisserie oven, as grease drips from meats when rotating in the oven. 

  • When cleaning a rotisserie oven, start by removing the spits and the rotors from the oven and soak them in a sink with an appropriate cleaning solution.
  • The inside of the oven can then be sprayed and wiped down with a cleaning solution or steam cleaned.  

Ultimately, oven cleaning may not top anyone’s list of favorite things to do, but it is an important part of running a successful commercial kitchen. Be sure to schedule daily, weekly, and monthly cleaning reminders to avoid any misses when cleaning. Read our blog “7 Common Misses When Cleaning Restaurant Kitchens” for more information.  Executing these best methods for commercial oven cleaning and maintenance will not only maximize the life of your equipment but increase public safety and confidence.

Always be sure to consult your owner’s manual for precise information regarding your oven.