A Crash Course In Cleaning & Reorganizing Your Walk-In Cooler or Refrigerator

Running a kitchen space not only comes down to cooking the food, but the cleanliness of the entire operation. If a kitchen is dirty, cluttered, and disorganized it not only decreases food output capabilities but it also puts the staff and the patrons at risk for their health. This is why it is absolutely crucial to have a clean kitchen area / space, and that also expands into having clean kitchen appliances - including your walk-in cooler or fridge. Here are some tips for a way to clean and organize your walk-in unit.

Before you begin a deep clean of the walk-in refrigerator or cooler you should unplug the unit - this will remove the possibility of electrocution when cleaning and re-organizing. As long as the door remains shut for the majority of the time spent cleaning then you shouldn't have too much trouble getting the unit back to optimal temperatures after you turn it back on. Next you'll want to clear off the shelves and move any freestanding items out of the area so that you can being to deep clean the area, while also taking inventory and discarding expired or unused items that are just taking up wasted space. A good rule of them is that if the item is unused, already opened, or even close to the expiration date - toss it. Once you have cleared out the items and freed up the space it's time to get a bucket with warm, soapy water and a heavy duty sponge, and get to work. Scrub down every exposed surface area that you can see, and for hard to reach and tight corners you can use a scrub brush, or even a heavy bristle toothbrush. When you have finished the scrubbing, wash with warm clean water and dry. Once the area is dry you can use a food / kitchen safe cleaner or sanitizer to get rid of any bacteria or mold that may have survived the previous scrubbing. Once this is done you can move on to cleaning the exterior of the unit, which includes on top, underneath, and around the shell of the insulated exterior of your walk-in unit. This will primarily be dust, which can be severely damaging to the components of the walk-in cooler. To finish the clean you should vacuum and clean the condenser and coils to get rid of any dust, debris, grease, etc. that has built up on the components. This build up can cause tons of issues, including clogging the air intake, reducing the heat transfer of the refrigeration unit, and causing damage to the components.

Now that you have cleaned the unit completely, the next step is to re-load and organize your fridge or freezer. A good rule of thumb for stocking your walk-in is as follows:

TOP SHELF - Ready-to-eat foods, condiments, butters, produce, and anything that has already been cooked.
SECOND SHELF - Seafood
THIRD SHELF - Whole cuts of raw beef or pork
FOURTH SHELF - Ground meat, poultry, and fish
BOTTOM SHELF - Poultry

You want to make sure that the raw meats and poultry are on the lower shelves just in case there are any juice or leaks that can cause bacteria to drip down and contaminate the food below it. To help organize your unit you should add labels to any opened items - include the open date and when you guess the item could expire. Colored bins help to easily differentiate different items on the same shelf. Utilizing the Fire In - First Out method, or FIFO, can also help with inventory management. FIFO ensures that you are using the older ingredients before you use newer ingredients to ensure they get used before they expire. HoodMart provides our customers with a wide range of walk-in coolers and freezers - as well as all walk-in accessories such as door hinges, kick plates, and light fixtures. HoodMart Walkin Coolers are Guaranteed To Pass ALL City & State Codes. ALL HoodMart® Walk-In Coolers and Freezers are UL Listed Panels and Doors, NSF Listed, EISA & U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Compliant, and Listed and Certified for all States, including City of Houston, State of Oregon, New York City. Custom Hurricane Approved Units Available. If you still have questions regarding the purchase of your walk-in cooler or freezer, please feel free to contact one of our experts today by calling us at 1.800.715.1014 or by contacting us through our live chat system.