5 common cleaning mistakes

Among the most crucial elements of kitchen operations at any time, and particularly in a post-COVID-19 world, are cleanliness and hygiene. Any hospitality venue should always prioritise the safety of its employees and customers, but what’s the best way of doing that?

It’s the little details that make all the difference, and it’s every owner or manager’s responsibility to guarantee that their restaurant or café’s cooking area in particular – as well as their front-of-house area and other facilities – are free of dirt and bacteria.

To help you achieve the best possible standards, Chris Elliott, our Sales & Marketing Executive, has outlined some of the most common cleaning mistakes he’s seen in his career, as examples of things to avoid:


1. Leaving toilet cleaner in the toilet bowl

“Lots of people think that leaving toilet squirts of toilet cleaner around the rim of their toilet bowl is a good technique because it leaves the toilet fresh-smelling and provides a visual sign that it’s been cleaned recently. But, in reality, the opposite is true. Toilet cleaner isn’t meant to be used like that so quite often it stains the ceramic of the bowl, or the gel that has been left becomes crusty and discoloured,” said Chris.

“This is a huge misconception people have, which I see all the time. In actual fact, just squirting toilet cleaner and leaving it shows everyone that you haven’t taken the time to clean properly – because you should actually use a toilet brush and scrub the toilet with the cleaning solution, then rinse off the remaining residue when you’ve done that. This leaves the look properly clean, as well as that all-important, lingering freshness.

“And if you want to ensure that little extra freshness after cleaning, there are some fantastic odour neutralisers and air fresheners out there.”

See our range of washroom chemicals and air fresheners for inspiration.


2. Not dispensing kitchen or toilet roll properly

“Loose kitchen roll or toilet paper is another thing I see all the time – for example at supermarket ‘cleaning stations’, where you commonly find some disinfectant spray and loose blue kitchen roll for customers to use.

“It’s just so counterproductive. If you keep blue roll loose, it increases the risk of contamination because lots of different people have to pick up the paper with dirty hands to dispense what they need – and this is especially problematic in kitchens where staff might have been handling raw poultry or meat.

“It’s the same with loose toilet roll in the toilets of hospitality outlets, too, where loose rolls create an obvious cross-contamination risk in the best of times, and particularly at the moment.

“Keeping kitchen or toilet roll in a wall-mounted or even a portable dispenser eliminates this risk massively. It’s so simple, it just means spending that extra couple of seconds to insert the roll. This way, users only need to touch the piece of roll they are going to take and use.

“And it also limits waste and the associated cost, because dispensers control the amount released for each use – as well as preventing theft, which does happen!”

In our recent ‘Washroom hygiene’ brochure, you will find information on an array of individual hand towel and toilet roll dispensing systems.


3. Leaving cleaning equipment lying around

“There are various reasons why you shouldn’t be leaving cleaning equipment lying around in any sort of workplace or venue. First and foremost, it can represent a trip or even chemical hazard to staff and customers, and, apart from that, it’s just not good practice and it looks a mess,” added Chris.

“Secondly, leaving things like mops in buckets of dirty water around your venue is not at all hygienic. It also means that you will be replacing the mop sooner than you need to because solution will cause damage to the equipment over time, rendering it useless and costing you money.

“You should be storing your products and equipment in a secure place that is out of the way, and certainly out of sight of your clientele.”

At Elliott’s we offer a wide range of equipment storage solutions, from shadow boards to hanging systems.


4. Using non-kitchen-friendly chemicals in a food environment

 “This is something that many people don’t realise is quite harmful or, at the very least, unpleasant,” continued Chris. “Again, people like to smell the freshness of a clean surface so they might choose to use a lemon-fragranced product, but using this around food can leave an unpleasant taint or even prove dangerous.

“In reality, every type of cleaning product is made up of a combination of chemicals for a specific purpose. So, bathroom cleaners are designed to fight against different types of bacteria and dirt to kitchen cleaners. If you use them in the wrong setting then they can simply be ineffective, in addition to presenting the additional risk of food contamination in kitchens.

“For kitchen environments, we recommend using cleaners that are specifically designed for use around food and food preparation areas, which are usually unfragranced.”

Our favourite product for this is the Evans EC4 multi-surface disinfectant, which protects against viruses, bacteria, and yeast.


5. Not using a colour-coded system

“The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) recommends using a proper colour-coding system and this basic good practice will make your cleaning much easier and more efficient, as well as maximising hygiene and cleanliness within your premises,” said Chris.

“Equipment should be colour-coded based on the different areas you use it in, to ensure equipment you use for cleaning your kitchens and bathrooms, for example, is kept separate to avoid cross-contamination. Generally, we recommend using a colour-coded site plan for all departments, for example the colour red is usually used for toilets and washrooms. Again, this reflects best practice, ensures an organised and professional approach to cleaning and keeps everybody safe.”

You’ll find examples of our most recommended colour-coding systems, as well as lots of other inspiration for making your venue the best it can be, in this brochure from our client Genware.


Know you’re not in it alone

Our final recommendation would be that it’s always worth getting the hygiene professionals in to offer a second pair of eyes. Hygiene management is no longer just an added-value element of good business management, it’s absolutely essential.

“We have decades of experience, a thorough knowledge of the current COVID-security expectations, and a brilliant supply chain, so we’re able to offer our clients a reliable and value-for-money service which removes any ambiguity from their cleaning processes and provides priceless peace of mind,” concluded Chris.


If you would like a detailed and bespoke assessment, looking at what will work best for your organisation, potentially saving you money too, why not take advantage of our free initial consultation? To book, call 01482 327580 or email us.

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