Our Take

Musings on the Foodservice Industry

The Best Cleaning Products for Your Kitchen

Dec 22 2019

There is no such thing as a kitchen that’s too clean. However, maintaining a minimum level of hygiene is one of the most challenging tasks in foodservice. It requires regular attention and a lot of elbow grease. After a long, high-pressure day on your feet, the last thing many of us feel like doing is spending another hour or two mopping and scrubbing. Nevertheless, it has to be done on a regular basis, or things begin to decline quickly. Poor hygiene in your kitchen results in lower quality service and opens the door to possible code violations.

Bearing that in mind, every kitchen ought to have the right products on hand at all times. Hot water and bleach are not always enough (and these days, some inspectors are advising against using bleach because of the risk of accidental poisoning). You should also have on hand some version of the following products, which are listed here along with their NSF rating. And, of course, all staff should understand what these ratings mean and how to use these products properly.

All-purpose surface cleaner (A1)

An A1 rating means that a product is considered safe for use in a food processing area. All-purpose surface cleaners are ideal for countertops. They’re also good for machine parts, such as the conveyor chains you might find in a large oven. Choose one that is capable of removing oil, grease, and other contaminants. All food products and packaging materials must be removed or covered before cleaning with an A1 product. After cleaning, all surfaces must be washed with a detergent solution and rinsed with potable water. In the case of chains or other items requiring lubrication, they will also need to be relubricated with a food-safe (preferably H1) lubricant.

An eco-friendly general cleaner (A1)

Eco-friendly cleaners are named for their minimal impact on the environment. They are readily biodegradable and produced from renewable materials. These are good for use in floor scrubbers, as well as on stainless steel, aluminum, tiles, and plastic surfaces, as long as they are not food prep surfaces. As with all-purpose cleaners, rinse the surface with potable water after use in a food processing area.

A heavy-duty degreaser (K1)

Degreasers are good for those areas where it may be impossible to reach with normal cleaning products. They are available in aerosol or spray formats. Degreasers are well suited to clean stubborn grease from the following:

  • Chains, bearings, and gear wheels
  • Engines and motors
  • Conveyor belts and slideways
  • Machines of all types
  • Plating and hard stone
  • Floors with grease or paint on them

Take note that the K1 rating means this type of product can only be used in a non-processing area.

Stainless steel cleaner and preservative (A7)

This type of product will clean stainless steel, restore gloss, and prevent tarnishing and corrosion. It’s helpful for areas where there are lots of stainless-steel countertops. A7 is a rating used for metal polishes. No contact with food or food preparation surfaces is permitted.

For a complete list of NSF ratings, click here: https://info.nsf.org/USDA/categories.html

William Kowalski is the online content director for Interflon USA, makers and sellers of high-quality food-safe lubricants and cleaners. Write to him at wkowalski@interflon.com or visit online at https://interflon.com/us.