By Anne Baley

School Cafeteria Cleaning: How to Prepare for the New Academic Year

Back-to-school season is starting, which means that your cleaning team has to start preparing your facilities for the impending arrival of students. One of the most challenging places to clean is the school cafeteria. As your kitchen and dining facilities have likely not been used for the past few months, there is bound to be a buildup of dust, germs, and bacteria in these areas. Here are some tips on how to clean your cafeteria in preparation for the new academic year.


Floors

If your floors have not been deep cleaned since the end of the last school year, soil and bacteria has been able to build up on these surfaces for months. This is especially true if your school did not air condition the cafeteria over the summer, as this higher temperature could lead to an increase in bacteria growth.


In the past, a thorough cleaning of a large school cafeteria floor required the use of an autoscrubber, but now there are more advanced techniques available. An AutoVac can clean just as effectively as an autoscrubber, but it performs quicker and it is easier to use than the traditional alternative. As such, an AutoVac can save your team time and energy.


Kitchen Appliances

Your large kitchen appliances should be cleaned thoroughly, both inside and out, before the new school year begins. Your team should start by removing all of the racks, shelves, and internal pieces from each appliance. Then, they should soak these pieces in a degreaser until the soil comes loose. At this point, they should scrub the soil away before leaving the pieces to soak in a cleaning solution for a period of 10 minutes. Once this time has passed, they should remove the hardware from the cleaning solution and leave it out to air dry.


When your team is cleaning the interior of a kitchen appliance, which could be anything from a walk-in refrigerator to a conveyor oven, they should use a spray-and-vac system, which allows for powerful soil removal. When using this advanced cleaning technology, your custodians should begin in one upper corner and move diagonally to the bottom opposite corner. This process sets up a condition in which all of the soil and dirty water that falls when your team is cleaning the upper corner will end up in a spot that has yet to be cleaned.


Food Prep Surfaces

The surfaces that make contact with the food that will be served to students should be prioritized, as these areas have the potential to be a major channel for the transfer of germs and bacteria. Traditional cleaning tools, such as sponges and rags, simply spread germs from one kitchen surface to another. As such, your custodial team should use more advanced tools, such as a squeegee system, when cleaning food prep surfaces. Your cleaning crew should start by spraying the environmentally safe cleaner onto a microfiber pad, which they should then use to wipe down the counter tops. Lastly, they should use the squeegee to remove the soil and dry the surface.


Click here for more information on cleaner, healthier schools.

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