Business and Operations
Health & Safety
Deep cleaning and pest control
By Alice Sinia PhD
By Alice Sinia PhD
When you think about it, ovens are a major source of income for pizzerias. Without ovens and other tools of the trade, you would have no product to sell and your customers wouldn’t enjoy your secret family recipe.
Your oven and other kitchen equipment often provide pests with the food they need to survive and thrive. To help protect your food, reputation and bottom line, consider using an integrated pest management (IPM) program.
An IPM program is the most effective and environmentally conscious approach to pest management. It focuses on proactive sanitation, habitat changes and facility maintenance, reducing the need for reactive treatments.
It’s important to remember an IPM program is not a one-time event but rather an ongoing process. That means a deep cleaning is needed periodically to ensure a healthy environment for your customers. When tackling this job, keep these items in mind – the “doughs” of deep cleaning.
As far as health inspections go, if something isn’t documented, then it didn’t happen. Keep up-to-date records of all facility maintenance and sanitation steps. Some pest control providers offer digital record keeping of pest sightings, treatments and other key data points. You should also keep you own records.
Consider using organic cleaners
Consider using an organic cleaner that breaks up the grease and grime that pests like flies can feed on and breed in. These cleaners use naturally occurring enzymes and beneficial micro-organisms to break down the trapped dirt, muck and food particles that can attract flies and provide breeding grounds. In fact, the areas hardest to clean are often the most conducive to pests’ needs. These areas include floor drains, sink drains, equipment footing and grease traps.
Establish a detailed sanitation plan
Again, IPM is not a one-time event but rather an ongoing process that requires the effort of your entire staff. Your plan should define specific roles and responsibilities to establish a routine. For example, you can build a checklist of duties to be conducted before leaving every night. Staff training on how to look for evidence of pests and report pest sightings is also beneficial – some pest management providers offer training at no extra cost.
Get every single inch
While this might seem like a no-brainer, you should make sure that your efforts aren’t undermined by cut corners. Clean behind the oven. Check under the fridge. Rodents need only a few drops of water to survive, and roaches are experts at finding hidden food particles.
Identify hot spots
No two kitchens are alike, but they share common pest hot spots and entry points. Examples of hot spots include the dishwasher area, dry storage, staff lockers and under prep counters.
Inspect the perimeter of your restaurant
While it is important to focus on your kitchen, you should also inspect your building’s perimeter. Limit the vegetation and trim tree branches that may have grown against your building. By creating a vegetation-free barrier of at least one metre, you can keep foliage from providing cover and hiding potential pest entry points. Additionally, you can help deny pests entry by sealing all cracks and crevices in the walls, floors and pavement with weather-resistant sealant. It is also important to empty and clean your trash cans and dumpsters regularly.
We often overlook pests until there is an infestation or crisis. A strong, deep cleaning can help reduce your risk, but an IPM program is the best way to protect yourself. Work with your local pest control provider to set up a program that is specific to your facility, local pest pressures and other outside factors.
Alice Sinia, PhD, is the resident entomologist, regulatory/lab services, for Orkin Canada focusing on government regulations pertaining to the pest control industry. With more than 10 years of experience, she manages the quality assurance laboratory for Orkin Canada, and performs analytical entomology as well as provides technical support in pest and insect identification to branch offices and clients. For more information, email Alice Sinia at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit