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Solving kitchen cleaning problems

22 April 2014

Contaminated wiping rolls, hard-to-access dispensers, no wipers when you need them – Stephen Belcher from Tork manufacturer SCA looks at common kitchen cleaning problems and considers how to solve them

When preparing food products for public consumption it is vitally important to keep all surfaces and equipment clean and germ-free at all times. The Food Standards Agency advises catering staff to clear away used equipment and food spills as they go. Caterers are also advised to clean work surfaces thoroughly and to use separate wipers, cloths, sponges and mops for each cleaning task.

Caterers therefore need to keep a constant supply of cleaning equipment close to hand. Various trigger sprays, liquids, foams and other agents are available for cleaning and sanitising surfaces, but these all need a medium with which to apply them. Cloths and wipers and are therefore essential items in the kitchen. Paper or non-woven products are used constantly throughout each food service for wiping the hands, cleaning food surfaces and mopping up spills. And when a wipe is not available, nothing else will do.

Besides keeping the hands and surfaces germ-free, an ergonomic system of cloths and wipers will provide the premises with a smart, professional appearance. An increasing number of restaurants today offer viewing areas where customers can witness their food being prepared, and this makes it doubly important to keep the kitchen tidy. A good cloth or wiper in a smart dispensing system will bring order and cohesion to a busy kitchen. But conversely, loose wipers on the kitchen units may simply add to the chaos.


Problems at premises 

When developing the Tork Performance range of dispensers for workplace wipers, we at Tork visited a number of catering premises to assess our customers’ needs and discover any issues they were experiencing with their current wiper systems.

We came across a number of problems. For example, we saw plastic wall-mounted dispensers that had long since cracked, leaving the centrefeed rolls inside exposed to foodborne contamination in the atmosphere. In one kitchen, staff had placed a loose wiper roll on the kitchen counter where the trailing end was left exposed to meat juices and other foodborne contaminants. 

In some cases we were told that several loose rolls were currently in use but were unable to locate any of them. Presumably staff would have the same issue themselves whenever a wiper was needed, losing valuable work time hunting around the premises.

One wall-mounted dispenser was so difficult to load that staff had long since given up and were simply using it as a shelf on which to place a loose wiping roll. We also saw grimy dispensers with visible fingermarks, and staff using low-quality tissue to dry their hands which would leave behind flecks of lint.


Kitchen cleaning solutions

A good dispensing system can make all the difference to both the look and the efficiency of a kitchen. For example, dispensers that are both eye-catching and colour-coordinated will allow staff to quickly locate the right product whenever they need it, and such systems will also help to create an impression of tidiness and order. 


Dispensers should be easy to wipe clean for maximum hygiene and easy to load so that busy catering staff will be able to carry out this task in seconds. Hygiene will also be enhanced by the fact that dispensers keep wipers and cloths protected before use. Colour-coded cloths will improve hygiene in the professional kitchen since these make it easier for staff to use different colour cloths for tasks such as surface cleaning and mopping up floor spills.

The products supplied should also meet specific kitchen wiping needs. For example, a flimsy paper wiper that breaks up too easily will be useless for a task that requires vigorous rubbing, while a product with poor absorption properties will simply add to the mess if it is used to clean up liquids or fats.

Besides keeping surfaces clean, catering staff should also wash and dry their hands thoroughly before handling food according to Food Standards Agency guidelines. In a hectic food preparation area where staff are too busy to hunt around for different products for wiping their hands and mopping up spills, a dual-purpose product – coloured blue to adhere to catering standards – is the answer. 

It is surprising how many kitchen cleaning problems can be solved simply by providing staff with the right 'tools' for the job. Cleaning agents, wipers, sanitisers and cloths should all be easy to access while also being protected from any potential source of contamination. Ask your wiper supplier to help you choose the dispensers and products to suit your own premises.