Seven Simple Tips for Cleaning a Commercial Range
As with any piece of restaurant equipment, there is regular cleaning and maintenance that must be performed on a commercial range. Most of the tasks are fairly simple and will only take a few minutes on a weekly or monthly basis, but that small effort to take care of your cooking equipment can make a huge difference.
Commercial Range Cleaning and Maintenance Tips
- Clean your cooking equipment daily.
While the best bet for maintaining your cooktop is to wipe up spills immediately after they happen to prevent burning-on, we recognize that’s not always possible. In the middle of meal service, crumbs and residue may spend hours on commercial ranges before they’re finally scrubbed or brushed off. Most of the time, a light cleaning with a non-abrasive pad and solution at the end of the day can remove any splatter. Leaving food mess on the cooktop can promote corrosion of the metal, as well as bacterial growth.
- Avoid using caustic, alkaline, or abrasive cleaners.
We mentioned part of this above, but it bears repeating and explaining. Each of these types of solutions can not only leave a bluish or hazy cast on your shiny metal commercial range, they may also create surface pits or scratches. Even small surface imperfections can become breeding grounds for bacteria and promote corrosion. Caustic solutions include sodium hydroxide (a.k.a. lye), while alkaline ones include borate and ammonia. If your cleaner is gritty, it’s likely too abrasive.
- Don’t clean with steel wool or a scouring pad.
Also in the “too abrasive” category, these harsh scrubbers are even more prone to cause problems for stainless steel commercial ranges. If you find you have a spill or residue that has carbonized on the metal, try using a cloth and a non-abrasive cleaner like Steel Glo or Elbow Greez to remove it.
- Learn to accept some discoloration.
While spills and other accidents should be addressed, there are likely to be some parts of all commercial ranges that are permanently darkened. For instance, on a gas range you’re likely to notice that the backsplash on your cooking equipment has a black tinge. While a good scrubbing can help either lessen it or make it disappear, eventually you’re likely to accept that the heat and residue from the fire will just have that impact.
- Everything cleans better warm.
This is true of all cooking equipment, since you’re mostly dealing with grease and other residue that loosens with heating. You should definitely not try to clean your commercial range while it is on or before it has cooled enough to safely touch it, though.
- Empty the grease or crumb tray daily.
Whether your owner’s manual calls it a grease tray or a crumb tray, you should empty this little pan just below the cooktop on a regular basis to keep what it catches from building up. If too much residue collects there, it can cause your unit to smoke and may even create a fire hazard. When your commercial range has cooled completely, remove the tray and empty any crumbs into a heat-proof trash can. Rinse the tray in the dish sink and hand wash it, following the rule above about avoiding caustic, alkaline, or abrasive cleaners.
- Reseason cast iron grates at least once a year.
Just like your grandmother’s cast iron skillet, the cast iron grates most commercial range manufacturers use need to be reseasoned at least once a year. If you start to notice the carbonized seasoning on a grate is flaking off and particularly if you see rust, it’s definitely time to reseason. You can either boil or scrub the outer layer off. Coat the grate lightly with cooking oil and either set all your burners on a low temperature or put the grates in a low-temperature oven for a couple hours. That should produce a hard, non-stick surface that will last for quite a while under normal usage.
Consult Your Commercial Range’s Manual for More Tips
This list isn’t meant to be exhaustive and some parts of it may not apply to every commercial range on the market. For best results, consult the guide that came with your cooking equipment and follow its directions for cleaning and maintenance.