Being in the food industry makes it almost mandatory to have a food slicer, be it a restaurant, a cafeteria, delis or grocery stores. Even in a simple household, a meat slicer can be very useful and practical.
Owning a meat slicer is surely a thing to be happy about, it’ll help you making delicious recipes and will save you tons of slicing time, will make the job much easier than doing it with a simple knife and it can turn out to be even funny if you are of those like me that enjoy every time they want to cook a special meal. They can help you slice cheese, meat and in some cases, if you are very creative, vegetables. There are almost no limits when cooking and creativity get mixed.
One of the most important things of owning a meat slicer is to actually know the best ways to clean and sanitize it. Doing things in the wrong way can lead not only to injury but also bacterial growth and food poisoning. If not cleaned properly, the small and imperceptible particles of food remaining on your instruments will start to decay and contaminate all the food you slice with your meat slicer. To avoid this, follow the next steps and tips to get your meat slicer perfectly clean and remove all the risks that come with using cooking tools that have not been properly cleaned.
With the time, your slicer will worn out and you’ll have to replace it with a new one, but until then, you must clean your slicer very carefully, not only to remove the particles of decaying food but also to add more time to its lifespan.
1. Use Cut Resistant Gloves
While handling meat slicers, or any other sharp or pointy tools it is best advice to use cut resistant gloves to protect your hands from the sharp edges, even if the power is of, and there’s no way of activating the mechanisms. Putting a barrier between your skin and sharp edges is a must whenever there is the risk of cuts.
2. Unplug the Power
Sounds like very basic stuff, but you would be amazed by the amount of accidents that have happened for not unplugging the meat slicers. Also, you should set the blade settings on the appliance to zero (0). Being extra cautious while cleaning your meat slicer can actually save your fingers or hands from serious injury.
3. Gauge Plate
Make sure this pieces is completely closed as some manufacturers won’t allow you to disassemble your slicer if this piece isn’t in the right setting.
4. Prepare your Soapy Cleaning Solution
The best Soapy Solution you can make consists of only two things: hot water and regular dish soap. Mix it in a 50/50 proportion and use it with a sponge with a both soft and abrasive sides.
5. Prepare your Sanitation Solution
There are several different ways to prepare sanitation solutions for cleaning your home electrics such as the meat slicer. The most common (and recommended) way to create a sanitizing solution for your meat slicer is to add one tablespoon of bleach to one gallon of hot water. You can use this solution with clean clothes or pour it in to a spray bottle.
Sanitation solution is really important as it is what will remove harmful bacteria and germs. In the United States, the FDA claims that a meat slicer of commercial use should be sanitized every four hours of use (two times a day for most working environments).
With all your preparations ready, you can start cleaning your meat slicer.
First you have to do is to remove all of the big crumbs and food particles that are accumulated in your machine while cutting different foods. Doing this after each use highly reduces the risks of cross food contamination and also avoids food particles to enter the smaller nooks and cranny of the machine which will eventually reduce the amount of time you need to make a full cleaning of meat slicer.
Once you have removed all of the loose food particles that resided in your machine it is time to use the Soapy solution you created to give a good wash to your machine. Use only the soft side of the sponge to clean most of the meat slicer but if you find some built up food particles that are hard to remove, then use the abrasive side carefully until you have removed all of the accumulated food particles.
If your meat slicer is easily assembled and disassembled and you know how to properly do it, then it is best recommended to dismount all the pieces you can and wash them separately, this ensures that there won’t be any food residues in any part of the machine. You can also consult your user manual (or with the manufacturer if you lost the UM) to check if your meat slicer has dish washer safe parts.
Having cleaned your machine with soapy hot water is sadly not good enough for food processing machines, you need to kill and remove all the germs and bacteria that survived all the soapy solution. Here is when it comes handy to have a sanitation solution… oh that’s right you already know how to make one. The sanitation solution will kill all the remaining germs and bacteria that could lie on your machine, simply put the solution on a spray bottle and use it all over the machine. The dry it with a lint-free clean cloth or let it air dry and now your meat slicer is fully cleaned and ready to be used again.
AS a final tip, if you are going to store your meat slicer for later use then cover it with some plastic wrap or cover to avoid dust and airborne particles to accumulate on the machine.