In addition to learning how to clean a commercial kitchen, cleaning walk-in freezers can be a daunting task. If not managed correctly, a temperature-controlled storage environment that holds tens of thousands of dollars of spoilable product can be a hotbed for mold growth, which can ruin the integrity of the unit and the product stored inside. Too often these freezers are not frequently maintained, leaving overwhelming messes for commercial kitchen staff forced to face daunting deep cleanings. Luckily, there are a few simple techniques and best practices to help maintain walk-in freezers and prolong their lifespan that easily allow kitchen staff to include the walk-in freezer as part of their regular cleaning routine.
Have your cleaning team follow these tips and best practices for walk-in freezer upkeep to get a handle on what it takes to properly and professionally maintain a walk-in unit.
Tips to Clean a Walk-In Freezer
- Keep the freezer clean of spills, dirt, spoiled products and messes on a frequent basis; don’t let things accumulate for occasional deep cleanings.
The most efficient way to clean a walk-in freezer is to clean it regularly; there’s no benefit to excluding your walk-in freezer from the cleaning regimen that your kitchen staff executes on a regular schedule. Make sure that part of your kitchen staff’s daily prep includes checking and cleaning the walk-in freezer and that the freezer is checked again at the end of every work day to maintain a clean walk-in refrigeration unit all week long. Any spills, spoilage or mold growth should be addressed immediately to prevent filth from accumulating and making cleaning and control more difficult.
- Use soap and water to clean your walk-in freezer and avoid harsh cleaning chemicals.
When cleaning the interior of your walk-in freezer, stick to a mixture of equal parts soap and water, avoiding strong and corrosive cleaning agents. Harsh cleaning chemicals can wreak havoc on the metal interior of a walk-in freezer, leading to extensive and costly repairs in the future and maintenance and upkeep problems before complete repairs go on the to-do list.
- Clean the evaporator and condensing coils at least twice a year to ensure proper functioning.
It’s crucial that your commercial cleaning team keep your walk-in freezer’s evaporator and condensing coils clean and operational by giving them a good scrub with a soap and water mixture and stiff bristle brush. By maintaining the evaporator and its condensing coils at least twice a year, the transfer of warm air into the walk-in freezer will be kept to a minimum, and an optimal temperature will be maintained.
- Inspect the drain lines with the help of a certified technician to clear debris and runoff buildup.
The periodic inspection of drain lines is of the utmost importance in ensuring your commercial kitchen’s walk-in freezer operates successfully. Allowing buildup and debris to accumulate in drain lines can cause harmful clogging and may lead to major repairs and renovations. Schedule a recurring appointment for at least twice a year with a certified technician to make sure your drain lines are clear and allow your walk-in freezer to operate successfully.
- Check the walk-in freezer’s temperature daily for optimal settings.
Although this seems obvious, it’s always important to monitor the temperature of your commercial kitchen’s walk-in freezer. According to the FDA, walk-in refrigeration units should be kept at 40 degrees Fahrenheit,1 but temperatures vary depending on the foods you’re storing. Make sure to research optimal temperatures for the products your walk-in freezer stores to avoid melting, spoilage and subsequent health code violations.
- Inspect the door frame and hinges at least once a quarter to prevent the accumulation of grime or mold growth.
Mold is a constant threat for a commercial kitchen walk-in freezer; a slight aberration in temperature can provide optimal conditions for mold to grow on products and the interior of the unit. Aside from checking the floors, wall and ceiling for mold and grime, it’s equally important to thoroughly inspect -freezer door hinges and frames for mold growth and grime. These areas contain tight, hard-to reach places where mold can thrive unchecked, and it’s your staff’s responsibility to keep an eye on all areas where mold could take hold.
Following these easily implemented actionable tips for cleaning a walk-in freezer can have an overwhelmingly positive effect on the overall cleanliness of your commercial kitchen and the confidence your staff has in maintaining a safe prep and storage area. For extensive cleaning services, consult a professional cleaning company like Commercial Cleaning Corporation so your space receives the complete clean it deserves.