Janitorial Supplies Buying Guide

Janitorial Supplies Buying Guide

Cleaning becomes a much easier job with the right janitorial supplies on hand. In this buying guide we'll cover what cleaning supplies will help make the job easier.

There's no denying it—cleaning commercial kitchens, dining areas and public restrooms is a dirty job. If you intend to serve food to the public, you can bet that health inspectors will keep a close eye on your cleaning habits to avoid cross-contamination and prevent a foodborne illness outbreak. It's just good practice to keep a regular cleaning schedule, but did you know that proper cleaning can also save you a lot of money? It's been proven that regular cleaning of your restaurant equipment will extend its life because it doesn't have to work as hard. Plus, have you ever had a plumber out to clear your clogged pipes? That's an expense you can easily avoid.

At Tundra Restaurant Supply, we carry a variety of brushes, buckets, cloths, squeegees and more from the industry's leading brands like Carlisle, San Jamar and Rubbermaid to help you get the job done. Read on to learn what janitorial supplies you'll want on hand for tackling the toughest of messes.

Buckets

Mixing sanitation solutions requires a good bucket. But more importantly, you need a separate, dedicated bucket for mixing cleaning solutions. A color-coded bucket like San Jamar's Kleen-Pail® meets HACCP guidelines for dedicated-use, labeled containers that helps to minimize cross-contamination between cleaning and sanitizing solutions; green Kleen-Pails® are designated for cleaning solutions while red Kleen-Pails® identify sanitizing solution. It's also a serious food safety hazard to use sanitizer on a cooking or kitchen work surface. Because most solutions are clear and sometimes odorless, investing in these containers becomes even more important as you have staff coming and going from various shifts.
And don't forget having a trusty mop bucket or two! Mop bucket and wringer combos help do the heavy lifting when you've got a lot of floor space to cover. Many mop buckets come equipped with casters to make it easier to transport. Best part? The casters can be easily replaced over time so you're not footing the cost of a new mop bucket.

Brushes

Janitorial cleaning brushes are the best way to fight the regular dirt and grime that appears on the job. Don't make the mistake in thinking that one single scrub brush will do the trick—you wouldn't use a single spatula to cook everything on your menu, would you?

Types of Brushes

Find out what types of janitorial brushes you'll want to tackle the toughest of messes both in and out of the kitchen.

Bowl Brush

Clean those toilet bowls, and clean them regularly. No ifs, ands or buts.

Floor Drain

Featuring a long handle with a rounded brush at the end, these are necessary for scrubbing away grease and other grime from your drain and part of the pipe.

Floor Scrub Brush

When it comes to floors, you want the heavy duty cleaning power of these types of brushes.

Broom

Great for quickly cleaning debris and other food particles, a broom is a must in any commercial kitchen.

Wire Brush

Wire brushes are ideal for scrubbing away grease and other grime from heavy duty equipment like griddles and fryers.

General Scrub Brush

Restaurants and commercial kitchens can get very dirty, very quickly. Stock up on some all-around scrub brushes great for cleaning countertops, shelving and more.

Brush Bristle Types

Before you stock up on just any brush, pay attention to what the bristles are made out of. In most cases, you’re looking for either a hard or soft bristle option, because you’ll need one or the other depending on the task at hand. Nowadays there’s much more than just animal hair or synthetic options. With multiple kinds of synthetic options available, plus newer plant fiber options which are extremely durable, there are more kinds of brushes than ever to choose from.

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Animal hair and plant fiber

Typically softer than synthetic substitutes, animal hair bristles are better suited to sweeping tasks. Plant fiber bristles range in durability, with a Tampico brush bristle to be softer than Bassine fiber, which is ideal for heavy floor cleaning.
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Nylon

Extremely popular and cost effective, nylon bristles are great for heavy duty jobs due to their abrasion and chemical resistance. Nylon bristles can sustain temperatures up to 350°F.
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Polyester

Polyester brushes have good abrasion resistance and bristle bend recovery, but you'll find that they can only sustain temperatures up to 125°F.
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Polystyrene

Great for floor sweeps and brooms, polystyrene bristles have great bend recovery and tear/break strength.
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Wire

Stainless steel and carbon steel wire brushes have great bend recovery and provide a high degree of abrasion and wear resistance. Ideal for cleaning grills and other equipment, these brushes are extremely durable in a busy commercial kitchen. Brass wire is softer than stainless steel or carbon steel, which helps if you want to protect your equipment from heavy scratches.

Additional Janitorial Supplies

Contrary to popular belief, there are a few other janitorial supplies besides brushes that get used frequently in the kitchen. Read on to learn more.

Squeegees

Probably one of the most sought after cleaning tools by staff, a squeegee is your best friend when it comes to scrubbing those floors every night. After scrubbing your floors with warm, soapy water, use a squeegee to push all of the dirty water down the drain. Pro Tip: make sure your drain is equipped with a floor basket first! Otherwise you could run the risk of pushing debris down your drain and causing a costly plumbing problem later on.

Cleaning Cloths

There's no shortage of uses when it comes to cleaning cloths. Cleaning cloths are used for everything from cleaning your countertops, to wiping down gaskets, cleaning cloths are always needed in and out of the kitchen. Get a lot of them, trust us.

Drain Filters and Floor Drain Baskets

The best way to solve a problem is to avoid it in the first place. Products like drain filters and floor drain baskets block debris and other particles from making it into your drains and causing some serious problems later on.

Cleaning Agents

Water alone won't kill the thousands of bacteria that lurks on your floors, countertops door handles and more. Invest in commercial-grade cleaning agents that are designed to tackle the toughest of jobs in a commercial kitchen. If sustainability and eco-friendly practices are important to you, look for environmentally friendly brands like Boulder Cleaners® brand soaps and cleaners that are non-toxic and feature natural ingredients that are 100% biodegradable.

Sanitizer Test Strips

Your health department requires proper solutions for effectively sanitizing countertops, floors and other areas to prevent the risk of cross-contamination and foodborne illnesses. There are three common types of chemical sanitizers:

  • Chlorine-based
  • Quaternary ammonia (QA)
  • Iodine-based (available idione)
Sanitizer test strips are used to determine if your sanitizing solution is at the concentration required by health inspectors. Test strips can be used for any type of sanitizer listed above, and indicates whether the concentration is too low, too high, or just right. Don't forget to test chemical sanitizers in all locations, this includes your wiping cloths, low temperature dishwasher and 3-compartment sink. Keep strips in a handy location so if a health inspector drops by unexpectedly (which happens all the time) you'll be ready.

Ready, Set, Clean

So you're equipped with the right cleaning tools—now what? Time to set up a regular cleaning schedule for your staff. Tasks like mopping the floors, wiping down counters and cleaning the restrooms should all be done at least daily. Other tasks like cleaning behind large equipment is required by most health departments, which is why you should probably keep your equipment on casters (and use flexible gas hoses too).

Gaskets

Use a cleaning cloth and warm, soapy water to remove spills, crumbs and other particles from wearing your gaskets. When your gaskets are brittle from grime and use, they could crack and come apart, decreasing the effectiveness of the seal and making your refrigerator/freezer work harder to maintain cold temperature.

Floor mats

Clean these daily with warm, soapy water and use a brush to scrub thoroughly before rinsing with hot water. Avoid putting mats through the dishwasher or using bleach or other harsh chemicals which could shorten its lifespan and may void the warranty.

Shelves

Wipe shelves in your pantry, walk in cooler, refrigerators and more as needed, or at least once a month to clean away spills and other particles from collecting.

Hood Filters

Hood filters work by removing grease from the smoke caused by cooking. Don't let your filter become overly clogged, which is a serious fire hazard and could raise the heat in the kitchen (and consequently your air conditioning costs). Many filters can be washed in the dishwasher, just make sure you aren't using harsh chemicals which can corrode the metal.

Burner Grates

Use a stiff wire brush and some warm, soapy water to clean the gunk that accumulates while cooking. If it's been awhile, you might consider adding a degreaser to help cut through the grime as well.

Vinyl drapes/air curtains

Extend the life of your vinyl drapes and air curtains by wiping them down regularly with a cleaning cloth and some warm, soapy water.

Drains

Grease is terrible, and gets everywhere in a restaurant. Not only that, dirty mop water and other debris can easily clog your drain. Spare yourself the headache of a potential blockage and get a drain basket. Then be sure to clean your floor drains regularly with a cleaning/sanitizing solution safe for drains (you don't want anything corrosive that could damage your pipes) and use a flexible floor drain brush to scrub the sides of the pipe.

Condenser coils

After shutting off power, use a stiff bristle brush to gently loosen the dust and grime that accumulates on the coils. Finish with a vacuum.

Restroom

Restrooms should be cleaned frequently throughout the day. In addition to restocking dispensers (including paper towels, toilet paper and soap), clean toilet bowls with a brush and wipe down countertops and faucet handles to reduce the spreading of germs.

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