Do Waitresses Have to Clean: (Yes, Find out Why)

When it comes to waitresses and servers in general, there are a lot of things they need to handle in the course of their workday and the job description is a long one. However, servers are mainly for just that, serving so the question about does waiters and waitresses have to clean, and is it part of their job description?

This article will teach you everything you need to know about the subject, in addition to some other things that are good to know about the job of the servers and cleaning in the restaurant industry. But before we move into that, do waitresses have to clean (Are Waitresses Allowed To Wear Nail Polish?) (Are Waitresses Allowed To Wear Nail Polish?)?

Waitresses need to clean because it is a part of their job description and the job includes cleaning so the fruit flies will keep their distance among other things. In fact, work in the restaurant industry is mostly cleaning, therefore everyone needs to participate. For waitresses, this includes clearing tables, wiping surfaces, rinsing dishes, and other cleaning tasks.

There are many things to keep an eye on because in that way the employees and customers will have a better time working and enjoying their meal when the area is free of garbage and unsanitary conditions. Let’s take a more in-depth look into the subject and see what on earth do the servers need to clean within the day.

Waitresses need to clear the tables

One of the biggest cleaning responsibilities is clearing the tables of dinnerware, cutlery, glasses, and leftover foods that remain after the customer has left. This included clearing everything and bringing the items to the dishwashing corner so they can be pre-rinsed with a pull-down faucet so the dishwasher can handle them properly. The tables need to be cleaned and the area near the table needs to be swept as well.

Surfaces need to be kept clean and sanitized

Another major thing is cleaning the countertops, handles, and other surfaces from grease and dust, and that not all, they need to be sanitized as well with a proper sanitizer so the chemicals don’t have time to stack up which would be a hygiene hazard for the whole restaurant.

It’s really important to clean the surfaces that aren’t visible all the time because those are the places with the most bacteria, in fact, the cabinet, drawer, or door handles are the ideal places for bacteria because most people never clean from there yet they are touched constantly.

Clean and maintain the appliances properly

As a waiter, there are many appliances that need to be kept clean such as an espresso machine, steam tables, ice cream machines, and many more. Also, the equipment needs to be regularly monitored so you can be sure that they are in proper condition and working well.

There are also many supplies that need to be clean such as cleaning cloths, brushes, anti-fatigue mats, and the overall clothing of the waiter is good to keep clean and sanitary.

The dishes need to be cleaned and polished

Not only the dinnerware need to be clean but they need to be polished so there aren’t any stains. This means that polishing glassware, cutlery, and other dinnerware that the customer sees is important if you want to uphold the restaurant’s quality standards.

Toilets need to be kept very clean

Another big one is the bathrooms. They need to be stocked with fresh toilet and hand paper, the mirrors need to be spotless, there can’t be any trash lying around and the floors need to be relatively clean without forgetting the most important part, the toilet.

We all know how disgusting it can be when going to a restaurant’s bathroom and it hasn’t clearly be cleaned in days so you wouldn’t want to give the customer that same feeling.

Additional cleanings

Last but not least is the additional cleanings. These can be when a customer accidentally drops a glass and it breaks, then you as a server should clean that up so the customer doesn’t need to worry about it.

Another one is that when the kitchen is in a hurry and there is a slow moment for the servers, they could use help and you should offer it to them. This works both ways and unlike in some restaurants where the servers and chefs are like opposing teams, they should work together and help each other out which will only motivate the employees and make better results in every aspect, not just cleanliness.

What is sidework in a restaurant

Sidework is considered small tasks that need to be taken care of during the day which isn’t exactly the main job description, but still definitely is part of it. These tasks can be stocking the server areas, sweeping the floor, cleaning messes, and helping the kitchen if necessary which works vice versa as well.

Do servers have to wash dishes

Depending on the restaurant, servers usually wash the dishes that come from the dining hall, whereas chefs wash all the cooking equipment and supplies. However if the restaurant has hired a steward or a dishwasher, then washing dishes isn’t part of the server’s job description.

What waitress should not do

There are certain things that a server shouldn’t do and have listed some of these aspects down because they can make the customer uneasy.

  • Being REALLY overly friendly
  • Ignoring some customers more than others
  • Serving foods separately
  • Leaving guest to wait for the check
  • Forgetting to clear the finished dishes


As you might have heard the saying, working in a restaurant is 80% cleaning and 20% serving which is true more or less, therefore everyone in the restaurant needs to participate in cleaning if the business wants to run smoothly.

I hope that this article gave you great value and you now understand what is the responsibilities of servers when it comes to keeping things nice and tight.

Omar Abdalla

I’m the owner of JRS. While I love writing about food, I also enjoy peaceful and relaxed cookouts at home.

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