After enough work, any van, let alone a refrigerated van, needs to be cleaned. This is an especially big deal for small and medium businesses that really rely on keeping perishables cool and on the move constantly. Often times this means five to seven days a week of food, flowers, and moving in and out with the occasional, inevitable spill. Eventually, that almost always means funky odors and unsanitary deposits. Even though CoolVans cleans their refrigerated vans and reefer vans between each renting, it’s important for people on both short and long term rentals (or if you own one) to know the proper way to clean a refrigerated van. Our tips can be a real life-saver when food fails to be secure and spills, along with a number of other issues. Don’t forget that a regular cleaning schedule keeps your fridge clean and also gives you a step up if you are caught in surprise health inspections!
1. Remove All your Food and Products in the Fridge
Although it may seem obvious, you might be surprised how many people just shuffle their product around the fridge instead of removing it. Removing all the product is an especially key step and helps you to keep your product uncontaminated by harsh chemicals or their odors. We recommend that you store the product in other refrigerators, or coolers with ice for the duration of the cleaning. Even just an hour of warmth can have terrible effects on many perishables, which can seriously risk your stock (This is also a great time to check expiration dates and temperatures. Keeping internal temperatures low is an important step to avoiding spoilage and accidentally endangering clients or your business).
2. Take out Removable Parts
This step is simply to facilitate faster and more thorough cleaning. Especially if you are gearing up for an inspection, this is a key step in getting a great health score. Removed items will include portable thermometers, shelves, or odor eaters in the fridge. If you can clean these in a separate sink you can save yourself the hassle of scrubbing around them, and do a better, faster job.
3. Wipe All of the Surfaces
Now that all of the removables and food are gone, the next step is to wipe down all of the refrigerator’s interior. For this you will want a type of general purpose cleaner. Make sure that the cleaner is safe to use on plastics. Usually any multi surface cleaner fits this bill well. If you are looking for a softer option, water and dish soap works as well. Make sure that you use a cloth or sponge that stays together and doesn’t leave any bits of itself behind. Also, don’t forget the door seals! Sometimes they hide debris.
4. Get After the Stubborn Stains
For stubborn or old embedded stains, use a hard plastic scraper, and lower or no dilution chemicals. This is where many businesses will switch to undiluted chemical cleaners, scrubbers, scrapers, and more. This can be tricky as some of these can dissolve the interior of a fridge’s finish and having too much gusto with a scraper or even scrubber can cause damage. For this, we recommend sticking to plastic scrubbers and scrapers. For the most stubborn stains you may have to soak it for up to an hour. For those who want a more eco and health friendly option than harsh chemicals, stubborn stains and deposits can be handled by making a baking soda/water paste and covering the stains. After an hour, a simple wipe should take it right out.
5. Air It Out and Let It Dry
Though the fridge is clean, it still isn’t ready for food. Leaving a wet or chemical filled fridge can contaminate your perishables and add to the potential of mold. We suggest that if you can, turn off the fridge and leave it to dry. Here in Las Vegas, it won’t take long for your fridge to get bone dry. For other areas it can be best to get a fan to help rapidly dry the interior and vent the chemical odors.
6. Reassemble The Fridge
At this point, we will reassemble and reactivate the fridge. All odors and stains should be removed. All internal parts should be clean. If there is still a lingering odor you can use an open box of baking soda to help absorb the smell. If the odor remains strong, we suggest that you contact a specialized cleaning crew to handle some deep cleaning. Food may have gotten into vents or other parts of the fridge.
7. Return the Perishables Back to The Fridge
This is straightforward, but remember to check temperatures on any food perishables. This is especially true of any uncooked food, and food stored in coolers during the cleaning.
And that is it. It’s not terribly complex, but there is a real method to getting it done quickly and efficiently. For more questions, or if you are in need of a quality refrigerated van rental in the Las Vegas area, contact us