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How to Clean a Deli Case

After a full operating day, a deli case can get fairly dirty. Bits of food get caught in the door runners and the glass becomes smudged with use. It's important, and not just for display purposes, to thoroughly clean your deli case. Safe food handling practices dictate that ready-to-make food be handled with care in a clean environment. All of your staff should be trained in how to clean a deli case.

Turn off the deli case. This is to avoid exposure of active electrical components to cleaning water.

Prepare a sanitizing cleaning solution. Mix 1 tbsp. of bleach or sanitizer with 1 gallon of lukewarm water. Place a clean rag or sponge into the water.

Remove all of the food and serving dishes from inside the case. You cannot properly clean when you are trying to wipe around or under food products or display bowls. Store any leftover food properly or discard if necessary. Take out any rubber or plastic liner mats as well. All that should be left are the display shelves.

Start by cleaning the top shelves first. If they are removable, remove them and wash them in the sink. If they are not removable, use your cleaning rag and wipe down the entire area, making sure to capture any food that has fallen onto the shelves. Be careful not to use a sopping wet rag, you don't want to get water into the condensing units as this could damage the unit.

Work your way through the deli case, from top to bottom. Also make sure to remove any food that's been stuck in the door runners. Use a soft bristled toothbrush or rag corner to clean the runners. Never use a knife or toothpick, as this can damage the rubber and result in poor sealing.

Close the deli doors and prepare to clean the glass. Spray the outside of the display glass with glass cleaner until much of the surface has been covered. Use paper towels to clean the glass, wiping well to avoid streaking the glass. Once the majority of the fluid has been wiped off the glass, go over it one more time with a dry paper towel to polish.

Turn the deli case back on and wait until it reaches the proper temperature of 41 degrees Fahrenheit before loading food back into it. All plastic liners, display plates and trays should be cleaned before being placed into the clean deli case.


Nikki Jardin began freelance writing in 2009 and focuses on food and travel articles. She has been a professional cook and caterer for more than 20 years. She holds a degree in environmental science from Humboldt State University.