Slicer Cleaning and Maintenance Considerations

Properly cleaning and maintaining slicers is important to reduce the risk of bacteria growth and cross contamination. Although these units don’t require much maintenance, a number of procedures can help extend a slicer’s service life.

Below, John Schwindt, vice president, operations/general manager at Hawkins Commercial Appliance Service Co., based in Englewood, Colo., provides insight into cleaning and maintaining slicers.

  • Slicers have some of the worst sanitation issues, so operators should not take any shortcuts with cleaning and maintenance tasks.
  • Slicers also are the most dangerous item in the kitchen to keep clean. Train the people doing the cleaning to perform this task properly and equip them with the proper tools. Cut-resistant gloves and safety goggles should be worn at all times during the cleaning process.
  • The equipment manufacturer usually has specific instructions, and sometimes special tools, to perform proper cleaning and maintenance. Safety cannot be emphasized enough. Follow the instructions in the operations manual when disassembling the slicer.
  • First and foremost, put the slicer in safe mode by returning the product fence to the zero position. Then turn off all switches and unplug the unit from the power supply.
  • Never use a power sprayer when cleaning a slicer.
  • Use a mild detergent, towels or sponges and a sanitizing spray to perform all of the cleaning.
  • Some manufacturers have a removal tool that ensures the blade’s razor sharp edge is covered during cleaning, which protects both the blade and the operator.
  • Most removable pieces can be run through a dishwasher, and many components can be cleaned with a mild detergent and sanitizing spray solution.
  • When reassembling the unit after cleaning, users should look for signs of wear on all parts and be sure that all safety guards, scrapers and covers are in place and fit properly.
  • Do not operate a slicer if any parts are missing.
  • After completing the cleaning program and the machine has been wiped down with a sanitation towel, there are spots that should be lubricated on a daily basis. Note that vegetable oil is not a lubricant, and is a common cause of slicer failure. This oil causes excessive wear on pieces and turns to a tacky glue over time. Use only approved FMO (food grade machine oil) to lubricate the slicer slide rods.
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