Simon Gasson, Joint MD of So Clean writes for Tomorrow’s Facility Management and discussing Commercial Cleaning and the 7 key questions you should be asking your Cleaning Contractors


Over and above our daily office cleaning services, we are experienced in cleaning for hotels, restaurants and commercial kitchens.

The cleaning of commercial kitchens is a critical aspect of many a client’s facilities portfolio. Thousands of hotels, restaurants, pubs and cafes depend directly on the kitchen for their livelihood, while across Britain educational institutions prepare food on a daily basis for several million students. Hospitals, care homes, leisure centres and many corporate offices have integral catering operations with full kitchens in daily use. Thorough cleaning not only reduces the risk of food poisoning and fire, but also helps boost staff morale.

Complying with the Law

Kitchen hygiene standards are enforceable by law. A poor inspection result, either from the local environmental health officer or Food Standards Association, will at best require remedial action to permit continued trading.

When it comes to duct cleaning and maintenance, the regulatory reform in (fire safety) order 2005 brought together several pieces of existing fire safety legislation and set out for building owners in this area a new duty of care

Despite this, organisations that you’d expect to keep high standards don’t always score well when the Inspector Calls.  A UK hotel group responsible for over fifty,  3 and 4 star hotels across the country, received two zero food safety ratings in 2016, resulting in enforcement action. In one case dead rodents were discovered, an outcome that is hard to reconcile with the presence of a professional cleaning operation

So, what sort of kitchen cleaning regime should you demand is, as a facilities manager, this Falls within your remit?

Routine Cleaning vs Deep Cleaning

What frequency is right for you?

In ultra busy, all year round commercial operations such as a large hotel kitchen, there is virtually no time that can be set aside to perform a full scale deep clean. In this instance, the most popular option is to draw up a seven day cleaning schedule that incorporates both routine cleaning and a rotating cycle of different deep cleaning Tasks. The latter would typically include steam cleaning and canopy cleaning and would normally take place at night. In addition, a professional deep clean will need to be commissioned for areas that cannot be accessed as part of this cycle, such as ducting.

By comparison, in the education sector it is Commonplace to leave the daily cleaning to the catering staff, but on the basis that deep clean will be undertaken either by a specialist kitchen cleaning company or the cleaning contractor during the student holidays.

Extract canopy, filter and duct cleaning

The cleaning cycle for a canopy would depend upon the regularity and intensity of cooking. Provided that cleaning intervals are not left too long, washing with soap mild detergent and warm water, followed by a rinse is usually quite adequate as a routing specification.

However, no filtration system is guaranteed to remove all grease and some will always penetrate the filters and be deposited on the internal surfaces of the filter housing and ductwork. If left unattended, this layer of Grease can create both hygiene and Fire risks.

The Association of British Insurers recommends that, depending on usage, and extract system in a commercial kitchen should be cleaned and certified anything from annually to bi-monthly. Reputable Cleaning Contractors will provide for certification and reports to show your insurer.

High level Cleaning

There is a specialist service design to prevent contamination or infestation caused by the accumulation of dirt and cooking residues on high level kitchen structures. It should always be undertaken by professional contractors in view of the specialist health and safety training and equipment required.

Cleaning Stainless Steel and Catering Equipment

Stainless steel can be cleaned effectively by washing with a mild detergent and warm water comma followed by clean water rinse. Strong acid solution should never be used, but resistant stains can be removed using mild cleaning solution such as abrasive free stainless steel cleaning creams. Where still has become very dirty, following periods of neglect, mild abrasion with a non scratching mascara is permissible. As is the case with domestic kitchens, the trick is not to let Greece become hardened onto a surface to the point where special intervention is required.

Checking for the presence of bacteria

Adenosine triphosphate (ATP)  testing helps assess standards of hygiene and cleaning procedures on any surface by measuring the amount of ATP in a sample. ATP is present in all animal, vegetable, bacteria, yeast and mould cells and detection of ATP indicates the presence of contamination by one of these sources. Many cleaning companies will test for ATP using their own Luminometer giving instant readings.

7 Questions to ask your Kitchen Cleaning Contractor

  1. Can they demonstrate expertise and experience in the work required?
  2. Do they have a full set of method statements and risk assessments relating to individual tasks?
  3. Are there staff trained in the special techniques and equipment required to meet FSA standards?
  4. Are the chemicals that use FSA approved?
  5. Can they carry out contamination testing is necessary?
  6. Do they carry appropriate levels of insurance?
  7. Are they ISO Certified?

Leading Cleaning Contractors

Read: 7 Tips for a Cleaner Office

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