There are a plethora of different types of commercial ovens, and each type performs specific baking tasks. Regardless of the baking task, if the oven is not properly cleaned and maintained, efficiency and product quality will suffer. Be sure to read your owner’s manual for brand-specific cleaning and maintenance procedures, but regardless of the oven type, there are several tasks that are synonymous across the board.
Cleaning for a commercial oven is relatively simple, but you want to make sure to clean on a regular basis in order to maximize performance and minimize risk of fires, smoke or bad-tasting food.
- Clean the oven interior daily. The cleaner the oven interior, the better it performs, so be sure to clean the interior with a mild detergent at the end of each day. Also remove any crumbs in the bottom of the oven, because those will continue to cook and eventually burn. The oven racks should also be removed and cleaned separately. Furthermore, if a spill occurs, be sure to wipe it up immediately because it will be harder to clean once the food is baked on. Also, a spill can “steal” the heat and affect overall performance.
- Perform a deeper clean monthly. Despite your best efforts, sometimes food just gets baked on to the oven interior. That is why the interior may need to be scrubbed more thoroughly every month or so. Check your owner’s manual on deeper cleaning procedures and approved oven-cleaning chemicals.
- Clean the exterior weekly. Once a week, be sure to clean the exterior of your commercial oven. Since most exteriors are stainless steel, use a mild soap and soft cloth or soft-bristled brush. Anything more abrasive can damage the finish and cause the metal to corrode.
*Note: These are just generalized cleaning tips. For more machine-specific cleaning procedures, please reference your owner’s manual.
In addition to regular cleaning, there are a couple of care and maintenance procedures that you should observe in order to assure proper operation of your commercial oven.
- Avoid leaving heavy items on the door. Most commercial oven doors that swing down to open, like residential units, have hinges that are strong enough to support a lot of weight. That doesn’t mean you should be abusive. The longer you leave a heavy object on the door, the more it will strain the hinges, causing them to wear out more quickly.
- Check the oven door seal. If the oven door isn’t sealing properly, heat will escape. This can increase your utility bill and causes food to take longer to cook. You can slide a dollar bill between the door and jam to check the seal. If the dollar slides out easily, it’s not sealing properly; the gasket should be replaced.
- Check the temperature for accuracy. If the oven temperature is off, food will take longer to cook. Every couple of months, you should check the calibration of your oven’s temperature. Use an oven thermometer to make sure the cabinet is as hot as the knob or readout says it is. If there is a discrepancy, either the controls need to be recalibrated or the thermostat is malfunctioning and needs to be replaced.
Maintenance Tips for Specific Commercial Oven Types
There are a lot of different types of commercial ovens, and each type has its own set of specific maintenance needs. The owners’ manual is the place to check for specific upkeep practices, but here are a few quick tips for each commercial oven category.
- Combination Ovens. Combination ovens (/equipment/combination-ovens/c3636.aspx) are like a regular oven, steamer and convection oven all in one unit, so they will need to be maintained like each of these individual units. The steam generator (if it has one) should be emptied daily, and the unit should be delimed monthly. The convection fan should be removed and cleaned every month, too. Some combination ovens come with a spray-down hose which makes cleaning the interior every day a little easier.
- Pizza Deck Ovens. Regularly scrape ash or food debris off of the bake decks using a pizza oven brush (/pizza-supplies/pizza-oven-brushes/c19527.aspx). At the end of the day, turn the heat up to maximum for 30 minutes to cook any remaining food debris to ash and scrape the ash off using the brush. Never use water or liquid to clean the bake deck in a pizza deck oven (/pizza-supplies/pizza-deck-ovens/c3655.aspx); this will cause the stone to crack.
- Conveyor Ovens.Remove crumb trays below the conveyor belt every night and clean them. The draft diverters, or impinger fingers, in the top of the commercial conveyor oven should be removed and cleaned daily, too. The conveyor belt itself should be removed and thoroughly cleaned every two to three months. Finally, do not place utensils on the belt because utensils can become jammed and damage the belt. Clean crumb pans, conveyor belt and impinger fingers weekly to clean.
- Convection ovens. Be sure to remove and clean the intake fan of your commercial convection oven on a weekly basis. Check the flue where the fan attaches, too, and clean any food debris for unobstructed airflow. Also, if the fan requires oil, this should be done on a yearly basis. This tip also applies for ranges with a convection oven base.
Servicing Your Commercial Ovens
Manufacturer-authorized agents are the best people to have work on your commercial oven if something goes wrong. These agents are familiar with the brand and should have most minor parts on hand to make quick repairs and get your oven cooking again.