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Undertaking a regular review of your cleaning products and regime

Clean and simple: a series of blogs from Cleanline expert Rod Hale.

We asked our Cleanline expert ‘What is a cleaning audit and why is it important?’

And here’s what he told us…

Cleanline Expert – Rod Hale Twitter – @rodhale2
Cleanline Expert – Rod Hale Twitter – @rodhale2

Sometimes, it’s impossible to keep an eye on everything at once, and the management at some of our larger independents and multi-site groups of hotels and restaurants like to know how their cleaning regimes are working, even though time and logistics mean they can’t be there themselves.

This is where a regular cleaning audit from a third-party (like a cleaning product supplier) becomes important – as it provides the opportunity for a full review, covering equipment, dilution and safety.

As the leading distributor of non-food consumables in the marketplace, and supplier of exclusive brand Cleanline professional cleaning products, we regularly provide our larger customers with an annual audit, as part of their contract.

During an audit we work to a checklist covering not only the signposts critical to routine cleaning, but also important checks that can be easily missed.

If we’ve installed any dosing equipment we like to take the opportunity to maintain it; it’s far better for all (and less costly) to have a pro-active maintenance plan in place than to have to provide an emergency response in the event of equipment failure.

When we arrive on site, wearing our white coats (having first reassured the kitchen team that we’re not environmental health officers), we first look for which Cleanline products are on site.  If there are any non-Cleanline products in evidence then we’ll mark it down.  This is important because the site may be purchasing products that haven’t been tested and authorised by their own head office, that normally means they haven’t got the accompanying safety data sheets – and these are needed to keep within statutory regulations.

Next, we check whether any products are missing from their Cleanline system.  Many Cleanline products can be multifunctional, although not recommended, so say if the Cleanline Heavy Duty Degreaser is absent then it’s possible to use Cleanline Multi-Purpose Cleaner instead as a temporary stopgap.  But if sanitiser is missing, then that’s serious because without it, the kitchen is wide open to contamination from potentially harmful bacteria. Checking Cleanline products is an extremely important part of an audit because it allows us to make sure that customers have everything they need to keep the kitchen clean and safe.

If the customer is using concentrated Cleanline products we need to make sure they are using the correct dilution equipment.  For example, if they’ve mislaid their pelican pumps they might be pouring neat liquid from a 5 litre container of concentrate directly into a trigger spray bottle.  This is potentially harmful because the spilling of liquid is likely, and often the concentrated liquid carries a hazard symbol that requires the user to wear personal protective equipment (safety glasses and gloves).  In addition, they are likely to be pouring in either too little or too much concentrated product and in turn, this could have a detrimental effect on the economy of the cleaning task, the results achieved, or both.

On top of the pelican pumps, we also need to make sure that the customer has an adequate number of re-usable trigger spray bottles and that they carry the right labelling for what’s inside them.

Once all Cleanline cleaning products and equipment has been checked we will move on to check the commercial dishwasher. Costing nearly as much as a new car some commercial dishwashers represent a substantial investment so we need to make sure that they are being looked after properly.

We check both the temperature for the wash cycle and the final rinse cycle.  Ideally the wash temperature should be between 55 and 60 degrees C in order to get the best out of the detergent and to dissolve fats, dirt and grease on plates, glass and utensils.  If the wash temperature is lower than that we’ll inform the kitchen team.  The final rinse temperature needs to be 82 degrees or above because it kills bacteria and sanitises everything being washed so that all the items are safe to use again.

We also check that the kitchen has all the correct personal protective equipment on site (safety glasses and gloves).  If we can’t find them we’ll inform the customer and request they order some in as soon as possible.

Having antimicrobial hand wash stations is a vital part of kitchen life so we check that every Bunzl PRISTINE foam soap dispenser is working well and that the correct refills are available.

Finally, there may be some specific comments and requests that need to be taken further.  For instance, the delivery times might have changed, advice may be needed – perhaps on sustainability, or Christmas tableware, or maybe a new kitchen is envisaged.

In a time when more and more important actions are implemented digitally and remotely, at Bunzl Catering Supplies we understand that an extra pair of eyes is more valuable than ever, so we’re happy to help.

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