Keeping Your Commercial Fridge Clean and Mould-Free
A Commercial refrigerator is a vital component of any restaurant or food business’s operation. The last thing you want to happen is mould growth on the walls or ceiling of Fridge. And you certainly don’t want that to spread to the food. If your fridge is already prone to mould growth, here are some simple things you can do to remove it. If it’s not, here are some simple ways in which you can prevent mould growth from ever starting.
When storing a refrigerator one of the greatest concerns is mould. If the fridge is not thoroughly cleaned and dried before being stored and, stored correctly there is a risk it will be in such a state when removed from your storage unit, that it can no longer be used.
Below are four steps to help ensure that your fridge is in working order while stored.
1. Leave plenty of time for defrosting.
Before you clean your fridge, remove all food and unplug it. To ensure that it’s completely dry, you should defrost the fridge for a week before you transport the fridge into storage.
2. Clean your fridge thoroughly.
Mould can be caused by food debris and can spread throughout your fridge. It can also occur in a clean fridge due to moisture, however it is more likely to occur if the fridge has not been cleaned properly.
Another reason to ensure that your fridge is thoroughly cleaned before storage is that even the smallest amount of food can attract pests, such as mice or ants. Not only are they unhygienic, but they can cause irreparable damage to the fridges electric components or cords.
Clean any drawers, shelves or other removable parts with warm, mildly soapy water – ensuring you remove all food debris. Use a mixture of baking soda and water (a couple tablespoons per cup of water) to clean out the refrigerator and freezer compartments. Do not use abrasive cleaners such as ammonia or chlorine bleach, they can crack or discolour the fridge and leave strong odours.
Mildly soapy water can also be used on the sides and rear of the fridge. Dust or vacuum the coils on the back of the fridge.
3. Keep it upright.
Moving a fridge can cause problems in the compressor, in order to reduce the chance of this, when moving and storing your fridge, it should always be upright, minimising tipping.
Never lay the fridge on it’s side while moving or storing, and if you do have to angle it while moving it in or out of your storage unit, let it sit for at least 48 hours before turning it on again, or it my fail.
4. Keep it dry.
After cleaning, defrosting and carefully moving the fridge, you must ensure it is completely dry before storing it. Otherwise, you’ll have mould and mildew ridden fridge when the time comes to use it, or you’ll get a lingering, offensive smell in the fridge that can affect your food.
The best way to avoid this is to completely remove the doors on both the refrigerator and freezer compartments, or leave each door ajar by wedging an object in between the door and the compartment frame.
A deodoriser can be placed inside the fridge to maintain freshness, or you can mix a teaspoon of vanilla essence with a cup of warm water and give the fridge a quick wipe out, This will help to ensure you have a clean, odour free fridge, that’s ready to use when you retrieve it from your storage unit!
Why Does Mould Grow?
Mould growth is the result of moisture in the air. This is generally caused by warmer air entering the fridge and forming condensation on the walls. This then allows mould to grow. One of the causes of this might be cracked or damaged sealing around the door, which is allowing warm, humid air into the fridge.
How Do You Prevent It?
The best way to manage a mould problem in your fridge is to stop it from ever starting. To do that make sure you:
- Inspect It: Make sure your fridge has a tight seal and is airtight. Look closely to see if there are any leaks or cracks in the insulation that could cause mould to develop.
- Vent It: Make sure your fridge has a vent to allow humid air to escape and keep cold air circulating.
- Keep It Clean: Avoid leaving food in there that is past its "use by" date. Once mould spores develop, it can be hard to stop them from spreading.
- Keep It Paper Free: If possible, avoid storing paper or cardboard in your fridge as it can absorb moisture and often attract mould. Move fruit and veggies from cardboard boxes into plastic crates instead to keep them fresher longer.
- Watch for Leaks: Repair any leaks as soon as they appear and conduct regularly scheduled maintenance to ensure optimal operation.
- Avoid Wood: If possible, avoid using shelving made of wood, as this will absorb moisture as well.
How Do You Remove Mould?
If it’s too late and you already have mould regularly developing in your fridge, you’ll need to give it a thorough cleaning to make sure all the mould spores are eradicated. Here's how:
- Check and Remove All Items with Mould. You’ll need to examine everything carefully to make sure you’re not returning items with mould growth that will spread. When in doubt, chuck it.
- Wipe It Down: Clean all surfaces, shelves, walls and ceiling with an appropriate chemical solution, or warm water and baking soda. Use an abrasive scrubber rather than a cloth to ensure that all spills and debris are removed from all surfaces.
- Vacuum: Use a vacuum to clear the compressor of any dust build up that might be contributing to your fridge running inefficiently.
Consider Hiring a Professional
Mould spores can become airborne and will contaminate the whole fridge system if you’re not careful. Hiring a professional to clean out your fridge will ensure that all the mould is gone and is much less likely to return. A professional will also be able to properly clean out or replace the seals around your fridge door, as well as clean the compressor and internal components effectively.
Mould can be dangerous to your health. In fact, many people are allergic to mould spores. And, in large quantities, it will make almost anyone sick. The last thing you want is your customers and staff getting ill. Fortunately, with the right care or professional help, removing mould can be relatively painless and straightforward. If you stay vigilant and keep things clean, it’s a simple task to prevent mould from ever forming.
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