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Effective cleaning in care home catering areas

January 9, 2018

By following effective cleaning and hand hygiene protocols in your catering areas you can help to control the spread of infection in your care home.

That is because food poisoning bugs, such as Campylobacter and E. coli, are most likely to be introduced and spread within catering areas.

What’s more, any catering staff carrying bacteria or viruses that are spread through bodily fluids, such as C. diff and Norovirus, can unwittingly infect food and other touch points in your catering zones.

Here’s how to ensure you minimise the risk of bugs spreading in catering areas:

  1. If you are using a standard cleaning product, followed by disinfectant then you will need to go through a 3-stage process of cleaning off visible dirt, disinfecting, then rinsing with clean water. Standard disinfectants will only be effective on pre-cleaned surfaces.
  2. If you prefer a 1-step process, use a product like Virusolve+. This combined antimicrobial cleaner and disinfectant destroys viruses, bacteria, spores and fungi, with no need for a pre-clean or a rinse-off. It is approved by Defra as a disinfectant for food environments and meets BS ISO 4120.
  3. Whichever product you use, take care to follow the manufacturer’s instructions regarding recommended dilution, contact time and using the product safely. Also check that all products meet BS EN standards.
  4. Make sure you wash down any work surfaces or kitchen equipment after using them to prepare food. This will minimise the risk of bacteria being transferred around the catering area and care home.
  5. Always use a clean cloth for cleaning. Whenever possible, use disposable cloths and dispose of them after each task. Reusable cloths should be washed in hot soapy water before disinfecting them. This way, any bacteria that is picked up by the cloth cannot be spread around.
  6. In addition to work surfaces, kitchen equipment and sinks, make sure you regularly wash and disinfect floors, storage areas, the fridge and any items that are touched regularly such as door handles and light switches.
  7. Make sure you clear away and clean up as you go through your daily tasks. Keep the kitchen tidy of clutter and get rid of any rubbish or packaging, so that bacteria cannot accumulate on these or spread from them.
  8. Also make staff aware of the importance of effective handwashing and personal hygiene. This will help prevent bacteria and viruses transferring from unclean hands and clothes, exposed cuts or wounds, coughs and sneezes. Staff should also be advised to report any diarrhoea or vomiting to their manager at once and should then stay away from work until symptom-free for 48 hours.

Getting prepped for cleaning catering areas

Whether you are a brand-new care home or you just want to revisit your cleaning procedures, it is a good idea to start by walking around your kitchen and catering areas to make a detailed record of all of the items and areas that need to be included in your cleaning schedule.

This cleaning schedule should outline the following:

  1. which items needs cleaning
  2. how they are to be cleaned
  3. how the cleaning products are to be used
  4. how frequently items are to be cleaned
  5. any precautions that need to be taken e.g. unplugging prior to cleaning
  6. any protective workwear that must be used e.g. disposable gloves

Once you have your schedule, you should make sure that your staff are aware of it, pinning it to a wall where it is instantly visible.

You should also ensure that all staff go through training in cleaning methods and that they are properly supervised to check that they have understood your cleaning processes correctly.

In addition, you may want to authorise specific staff to complete daily and/or weekly cleaning records, which list all items to be cleaned and provide a tick box area to confirm completion.