kitchen hygiene

Kitchen hygiene

Contamination of foods with food poisoning bacteria may cause illness. Cleaning is one of the key controls that reduces the risk of contamination of foods to be eaten.
Clear and Clean (As You Go)


Keeping your kitchen clear and clean makes it safer. Take off outer packaging and throw it away before you bring food into the kitchen or storeroom. Outer packaging could have touched dirty floors etc. when it has been stored or transported.

Clear away small kitchen equipment as soon as possible and put it in the cleaning area. Work surfaces are easier to keep clean when they are not cluttered.  It is also important to clear away used equipment to prevent bacteria spreading from it to surfaces or food.

Wash or wipe away spills as soon as they happen.  Wash work surfaces thoroughly between tasks.  Use a new cloth (or one that has been washed and disinfected) to clean work surfaces before preparing ready-to-eat food.

High-priority cleaning


Several types of equipment will need partial or complete dismantling to ensure effective cleaning, for example, meat slicers or vacuum packaging machines. Pay special attention to how often you clean pieces of equipment that have moving parts.  These can be more difficult to clean, but it is important to clean equipment properly to stop bacteria and dirt building up.

Wash dishwasher-proof utensils, equipment and removable parts in a dishwasher, if possible.  If you do not have a dishwasher it is vital that you clean, disinfect and dry all equipment thoroughly. Dishwashers wash items thoroughly at a high temperature so this is a good way to clean equipment and kill bacteria (disinfect).

Regularly wash/wipe and disinfect all the items people touch frequently such as work surfaces, sinks, taps, door handles, switches and can openers. Where possible, allow these to dry naturally at the end of each day/shift. It is important to keep these clean to prevent dirt and bacteria being spread to people’s hands. Drying naturally helps prevent bacteria being spread back to these items on a towel/cloth used for drying.

Wash and disinfect fridges regularly at a time when they do not contain much food.  Transfer food to another fridge or a safe cold area and keep it covered. To clean a fridge thoroughly, you should take out all the food and keep it cold somewhere else.  If food is left out at room temperature, bacteria could grow.

Other cleaning


Items that do not touch food are not as high priority, but they should still be cleaned effectively.  Examples include dry storage areas, floors and microwaves.  This prevents dirt and bacteria building up in the kitchen.

For equipment or areas that are hard to clean, you may wish to employ a contract cleaner. Contract cleaners have special equipment and experience of more difficult cleaning.

Frequently asked questions


Why is cleaning important?

The whole kitchen area needs to be kept clean and clear throughout the working shift especially when raw and cooked food are being produced in the same area. Surfaces should be cleaned throughout the day with food contact surfaces disinfected after cleaning. At the end of the day the kitchen needs to be completely cleaned and disinfected in readiness for the following day.


Why do mild detergents not work on my ovens and griddles?

Heavily burnt on debris on ovens, griddles and hobs need a more aggressive detergent to remove easily. Care should be taken with ovens, fryers and all other hot surfaces; these often require specialist cleaning and from a health and safety point of view, they need to be cool enough to clean.


Why do I need to clean cleaning tools and cloths?

It has been found that cleaning tools and cloths are commonly very heavily contaminated with food poisoning bacteria. After cleaning has been carried out ensure that all cleaning equipment is either disposed of if single use or cleaned disinfected and stored somewhere suitable ready for the following day.


Why disinfect after cleaning with a detergent?

Food contact surfaces after cleaning with a detergent will still have living bacteria on the surface which could cross contaminate food about to be eaten. Disinfecting surfaces following cleaning kills those remaining bacteria.


Why not just clean a surface with a disinfectant?

Disinfectants only work on clean surfaces. This is why a two-stage clean; clean with a detergent and disinfect, is so important for all food contact surfaces.