The end of the year is a great time to give the kitchen a thorough clean and review in preparation for the Christmas down-time. Many remote centres close for a few days over this period, only providing for the needs of high-care clients. As a cook in an aged care service, it’s the perfect time to check over your kitchen before you have a well-deserved break.
Here’s a list of things you should consider when getting ready to close up for the season:
- Scrubbing – yes, we all know the importance of scrubbing our benches with hot, soapy water at the end of every shift and in between jobs. However, for this time of year, it’s good to do a “deep-clean”. Get underneath the edges of the benches; give equipment a decent wipe over (particularly underneath them); wipe down splashbacks, walls, windows and doors, especially the handles and window sills; pretty much anything you can think of will need to be scrubbed!
- Fridges and Freezers – pull out all the stock you have in your fridges and freezers (one by one, remember you don’t want food out of the safe temperature zone for much longer than an hour) and take out all the shelves and clean them with hot soapy water. Clean the walls and floor of the fridge/freezer (inside and out). If you have chest freezers, do the same, if they are caked with ice, this is a good time to defrost them (again, it will have to be one by one – keep all frozen goods in other freezers or even fridges for a short while to keep them cold). Don’t forget any exhaust fans on fridges/freezers will need to be cleaned as well.
- Soaking – fill your sink with hot, soapy water and soak your cast iron stove tops, grills, flat tops and similar equipment to remove baked on spills. Pull out large equipment and scrub the walls and floor behind it (e.g. stoves, movable benches, etc). Make sure that exhaust fans above stoves are cleaned as these are often forgotten, this leads to reduced efficiency and fire hazards.
- Dry Store – take stock off the shelves and wipe shelves down with hot, soapy water. Scrub the floor, making sure you get under all the shelves. Check all stock is sealed and safe from pests. Place baits or traps if necessary.
- Gas Supply – if your kitchen has gas stoves, there will be a gas shut-off valve somewhere. It’s a good idea to turn this off in case of undetected leaks while the kitchen is closed.
- Food Stock – check all stock in fridges, freezers and dry stores. Throw out anything that is out of date, or that will go out of date over the holiday period. Check that food is properly stored in sealed containers or wrapped in plastic to prevent spoilage and pestilence. Also make sure you have enough supplies for emergencies such as cyclones or flooding (plenty of water and tinned food).
- Linens – make sure any tea towels, tablecloths, aprons or uniforms are laundered and stored.
- Assets – check your kitchen equipment for any faults, testing and tagging, servicing of exhaust fans, etc. Also, check your first aid kit and report to the supervisor on what needs to be restocked.
Each kitchen is slightly different, but by ensuring that yours is clean, tidy, pest-free and ready for the new year will put you a few steps ahead of everyone else and make returning to work that bit more pleasant.
As a special gift for you this Christmas, we’ve also provided a General Cleaning Kitchen Tick Sheet for you to download and use, so you can be sure your kitchen is spick and span, ready for the new year!
Shut Down Tick Sheet – General Cleaning