How to Clean a Food Steamer
Your commercial restaurant equipment is a significant investment, and to get the maximum possible return on that investment, you need to ensure it is well maintained. Although busy restaurant operators may not have time to hunt down and read the owner's manual to see how to delime a commercial steamer, the KaTom team does! So finding the cleaning instructions for your steamer is an easy task, we've compiled the instructions for maintaining the steamers of many of our most popular brands here, meaning all you need to do is find your brand and follow the instructions on how to clean a food steamer. Of course, many of the instructions are similar, but we've included any special provisions each manufacturer recommends so you can clean your machine as thoroughly as possible. When considering how to delime a commercial steamer, keep in mind that different water sources change the speed of scale buildup.
- Let the steamer cool.
- Empty the water into the drain pan and discard it.
- Dry the cooking chamber, including the low-water sensors, with a cloth.
- Leave the door open overnight to let the chamber air dry.
- Mix 1 cup of white vinegar with two gallons of clean water.
- Fill the chamber with the mixture and let the machine operate for 30 minutes at maximum temperature.
- Let the mixture cool, then empty it into a drain pan.
- Using clean water, rinse thoroughly, then drain.
- As before, dry with a clean cloth.
- Let the unit air dry with the door open overnight.
- At the end of operation every day, remove separable pieces.
- Wash, rinse, and sanitize removed items.
- Wipe the interior with a clean towel.
- Clean the exterior with a clean towel.
- Remove the wing nut and generator cover assembly, gasket, and diffusers.
- Check steam generator orifices for mineral buildup. If there is buildup, use a flathead screwdriver to scrape openings clean.
- Use an abrasive brush to remove deposits from the generator surface.
- Pour deliming solution on the generator surface and soak for an hour.
- Thoroughly rinse deliming solution with clean water.
- Wipe the exterior of the steamer and inner basket cavity with a clean towel.
- Allow to air dry.
- Once dry, reassemble the generator.
Cleveland Range Steamers
Pressure & Convection Steamers
- Using a non-chlorine cleanser, wipe the interior and compartment faces.
- Rinse pan slides.
- Wipe down the gaskets.
- Check the door gasket and reverse or replace it if worn.
- Pour a chemical descaler down the back of each compartment drain.
- Check the generator for signs of scale buildup.
- If the generator has scale buildup, consult a Cleveland authorized service agency.
- Remove racks, liners, and other interior components, then clean with a mild detergent and water.
- Wash the interior with mild detergent and water.
- Remove the drain screen (if possible) and clean around the drain with mild detergent and bottle brush.
- Wash the gasket with mild detergent and water. Do not apply food oils, petroleum products, or solvents around the gasket.
- Clean the unit exterior.
- Do not get water in electrical components.
- Make a solution of warm water and mild detergent.
- Wet a cloth in the solution, then wring it out.
- Use the moist cloth to clean the exterior of the unit, being careful not to let running liquid to contact the controls or electrical parts.
- Drain water in the unit and let it cool before cleaning the interior.
- Remove any racks, shelves, or pans from the interior and clean them separately.
- Using the moist cloth, wipe down the steamer interior.
- Use plastic wool, a fiber brush, or plastic or rubber scraper to remove stuck debris.
- Rinse the interior with clean water to remove detergent.
- Reinstall all removed pieces.
- Leave the door open to allow the machine to dry overnight.
- Ensure the machine is off and cool before cleaning.
- Never use a hose to clean any part of the unit.
- Don't use harsh cleansers or delimers containing chloride.
- Don't use metal to clean the surfaces, as that might leading to scratching. Scratches give bacteria a place to hide and grow.
- Keep water and other liquids out of controls and electrical components.
- Don't operate the unit unless all removable partitions have been returned to the proper location.
We've chosen two of Market Forge's most popular lines, the ST and 3500 series, to include here. Market Forge's site has detailed instructions for every model, in case your model isn't listed.
- 3500 Series & ST Series
- Do not hose down the unit, as it contains electrical components that could be damaged.
- Remove pan supports on both sides, baffles, and drain screens.
- Wash compartment interior and removed pieces with mild detergent.
- Rinse with clean water.
- Replace all removed parts.
- Leave door open to dry.
- Clean the air intakes on a weekly basis to ensure the equipment stays cool.
- Avoid any harsh or toxic chemical cleansers, as the residue could potentially affect your food. Gentle soap and water is enough.
- Wash the inside of the machine with a cloth, focusing on cleaning out any leftover debris.
- Pay attention to "touch points": the door, latches, and control knobs operators directly contact.
- Change filters regularly to lower lime buildup.
- Set a schedule for cleaning and de-liming your commercial steamer. De-liming frequency depends on the composition of the water you're using, so check the steam cavity regularly and de-lime when scale build-up is noticeable.
- Vulcan recommends commercial deliming solution; usually about 14 ounces mixed with 2 gallons of warm water.
- Spray cavity walls with solution.
- Pour remaining solution in the cavity well.
- Turn the steamer on and set timer for 5 minutes.
- Turn the steamer off after the 5 minutes are up.
- Let the deliming solution soak for at least 30 minutes, but no more than an hour.
- If scale buildup is still present, repeat the previous steps.
- Drain the steamer and thoroughly rinse with clean, warm water.
- Dry with a clean cloth.
- Leave the steamer door open when not in use.
For more information beyond these basic instructions for how to clean a food steamer from some of our most popular brands, review the owner's manual for each individual machine, as these will have more detailed instructions for maintaining your specific model.