How to Maintain a Piece of Hot Food Holding Equipment

Unlike other pieces of foodservice equipment, which can be more involved, maintaining a piece of hot food holding equipment is rather straightforward.

Operators should clean their hot food holding units with simple soap and water. And if something spills, staff should wipe it out. If the unit has a fan, baffle panel or an exposed heating element, staff should clean them regularly, too.

Exactly how often a piece of hot food holding equipment needs to be held depends on the menu items it holds. For example, a unit that holds greasy food items should probably be cleaned once a week. In contrast, a unit that holds baked items may be able to go as long as a month without being cleaned.

Most hot food holding equipment tends to feature aluminum interiors. As such, the biggest mistake foodservice operators can make in these instances is using chemicals that will pit the aluminum and scrubby pads that will leave scratches. Also, foodservice operators should avoid dumping cold water on the unit's hot surface because doing so will eventually snap a weld and lead to the cabinet's insulation getting wet, thus compromising its ability to hold temperature.

In some instances, a spray-on cleaner is recommended for helping maintain the cabinet. When that's the case, spray the cleaner on there, let it sit for a couple of minutes and wipe it off.

When cleaning a humidified unit, if the operator is not using distilled water to help generate the cabinet moisture, then they need to use a de-liming agent. When this is the case, the foodservice operator should avoid caustic cleaners, opting instead for a gentle, perhaps even citrus-based, cleaning solution.
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