How To Clean A Restaurant Walk-In Freezer: Full In-Depth Walkthrough

The restaurant’s walk-in freezer is without a question one of the most important and costly appliances in the building, therefore it should be properly taken care of. The most simple and easy way to do this is to clean it regularly and in the right way so it can function as intended and keep the ideal temperature consistently because if it doesn’t function properly, it could lead to huge amounts of food waste.

First, clean the interior fans with a stiff bristle to get dirt and dust out and finish with a portable vacuum cleaner for tough spaces. Then clean the walls and shelves with hot soapy water with a dash of isopropyl alcohol to prevent the water from freezing quickly and lastly vacuum or swipe the fallen dirt from the freezer’s floor. Dry cleaned areas immediately.

That’s the short answer but you really should know the why behind the cleaning and the other factors that need to be cleaned from time to time. Keep reading and you will learn why and how you should clean your restaurant’s freezer more in-depth way, and you might pick up something that you didn’t already know.

Why To Clean A Walk-In Freezer Floor

The freezer is an appliance as the next thing and should be treated as such so neglecting will bring up a variety of problems that will affect the performance of the freezer, and could possibly break something that wouldn’t have if cleaned properly.Let’s see 5 aspects of the question ”why”.

Air Circulation

Keeping the air circulating well it’s really important to clean the evaporator and condensing coils at least twice a year. You can simply use a stiff bristle brush and a slim vacuum cleaner to get rid of the dirt, ice, and dust out of the way so they can keep the air flowing.


A really important aspect especially in a place that holds foods is hygiene. It’s disgusting if the freezer is full of food parts, spilled sauce ice, and other foods and even if the freezer is at its Optimal Temperature of 0°F(-18°C) where bacteria won’t grow, they won’t be killed either and if the freezer is just dirty it isn’t really pleasant to be there either.

Drain Lines

The freezer’s drain lines are important to keep clean and open and it should be done once a year. However, drain lines aren’t exactly the easiest cleaning task and you should use a professional in this task.


Another essential in the food industry! Order and organization of the ingredients, foods, and everything is important to keep in line so you can have a clear understanding of where everything is and how much of it there is. This will save a great amount of time and energy. You can keep a professional look on your freezer by simply removing ice regularly and keeping it clean. Years ago I was working in a restaurant which freezer was so horrible that I couldn’t find anything from there and I was once looking for a box of cookies for at least 20 minutes…

Ice Buildup

Ice build-up is correlated for the order but also with everything else. If the whole freezer has too much ice buildup it will be unhygienic, the air can’t flow well, and it would just be chaos.
Now that’s the why is clear, let’s walk you through in-depth the whole freezer cleaning process.

How To Clean A Restaurant Walk-In Freezer

What You’ll Need

Now that you have gathered everything you need, let’s start cleaning but first we need to consider how are you going to do it.

1. Consider How

First, you need to determine the best way to excetuce your cleaning process. How big is your freezer? If it’s a small one then you can just start ahead but if it’s huge you should clean it in sections because it’s really cold there and hours of cleaning in the freezer aren’t just great.
Also, if your freezer is really full you will need to take some items out of the cleaning process and place them on the countertop or utility cart. Don’t unload the whole freezer tho, it’s enough if you remove one section of a shelf so you can rotate the process by moving the items within the freezer so you can clean from everywhere. Now it’s time for preparation.

2. Preparation

Now that you have figured out the how, it’s time to prepare the hot water, cleaning gloves and other items needed and bring them nearby.

3. Clean The Fans

So the first step is to start from the top so you won’t need to clean everything twice. Use a stiff bristle brush to clean ice buildup and dust from the fan units. Check them carefully afterward and use a portable vacuum cleaner so you can get the remaining debris out.

4. Clean The Interior

Use cleaning cloths to wipe dirt off the shelves and walls with Freezer Cleaner or if you don’t have any you can use isopropyl alcohol, methanol, or other highly strong alcohol mixed with hot water so it won’t freeze so easily. If you have a hard time finding space when cleaning the shelves you should take boxes out from one section and move the items along with your cleaning.

5. Clean The Floor

Now that everything is clean above the floors it’s time to clean it. Use freezer cleaner or soap water & alcohol mix and mop it like any other floor. An Automatic Scrubber is an excellent tool for freezer floor cleaning because the power against the harsh floor will make it effortless to clean it where a mop will have a little time struggling.

6. Clean Doors

Clean the doors with a cleaning cloth and keep an eye on the gaskets so the doors will seal properly when closed. Dry the gaskets well after cleaning them.

7. Clean The Entrance

Now that everything is done you probably got a little mess on the entrance of the freezer and it’s won’t harm you if you scrub & mop it with soap water afterward.

Exterior Evaporator and Condenser Coils

This is a step that doesn’t need to happen every time you clean the freezer but more like twice a year and you will need a Coil Brush and Coil Cleaner. Brush the unit with the coil cleaner so you can remove the dirt and dust which will result in a much higher airflow and efficiency.

How Often Should A Walk In Freezer Be Cleaned

This will vary a lot but a great rule of thumb is that a walk-in freezer should be generally cleaned and spruced up once a month however, the in-depth cleaning process isn’t usually necessary every month and the case will vary among different restaurants and management choices.


With these steps, you should have no problems properly cleaning your walk-in freezer and even if you don’t need to clean it as regularly as a refrigerator, if you make a small mess in the freezer it should be cleaned immediately. Especially with any liquids because they will form ice which just isn’t great.

I hope that you got real value from this article and can continue with your freezer cleaning tasks with more confidence and joy.

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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