Some food preparation equipment is easier to clean than others. Most equipment gets a thorough cleaning in the dishwasher or three-compartment sink. But what about equipment that is bulky, sealed to a countertop, or too heavy to move? Maybe you’re cleaning an oven or a refrigerator. Equipment like this is typically cleaned in place. Cleaning in place can mean that equipment has self-cleaning features, like when a pipe is flushed clean automatically. But more often, cleaning in place means that food workers clean equipment where it stands. When cleaning in place, food workers should follow these steps to make sure the job is done safely and effectively.
1. Turn off and unplug equipment.
Some steps in this list can be done out of order, but this step should always be first. Turn off the equipment and make sure it is detached from all power sources before it is cleaned. Take steps to make sure that no one accidentally plugs the equipment in while it is being cleaned. One way to do this is by using locks or tags. Putting a lock or tag on the equipment plug will signal to employees that the equipment is supposed to be unplugged and should be left alone.
2. Clean under and around equipment.
Wash and rinse the outside of the unit first. Cleaning around and underneath the equipment will prevent contamination in this area from getting inside the unit after you clean it.
3. Clean and sanitize removable parts.
Follow instruction and standard operating procedure to clean the interior of the unit. Remove any small parts that can be removed and clean them thoroughly. This can mean soaking them in solution, using special cleaning tools, or taking them to the three compartment sink for cleaning.
4. Wash and rinse all surfaces.
Clean the interior surfaces that can’t be removed. Wash and rinse these surfaces according to instructions and standard operating procedure.
5. Wipe or spray all surfaces with sanitizing solution.
When the interior and exterior are clean, wipe or spray them with sanitizing solution.
6. Air dry all parts.
Let all parts of the equipment air dry to avoid contaminating them with bacteria that might be on a cloth.
7. Put the equipment back together.
Once everything has dried, assemble the equipment. Re-sanitize any surfaces you may have contaminated during assembly. Once the job is done, remove the locks, tags, or cleaning signs you put up while the unit was being cleaned.
Looking for a way to remind food workers about these steps? Our Cleaning in Place poster can be downloaded, printed, and posted to help food workers. Happy cleaning!