Doctors attribute a long life to clean living. To keep a freezer healthy, a regular sanitation schedule goes a long way.

“One of the things we recommend for bakeries is to perform a daily cleaning of the freezing and chilling equipment,” said Dan Morgan, director, food and beverage markets, Messer. “Food particles can get into the gears and other mechanical systems and can accelerate wear and tear. A daily washdown and cleaning of the equipment and drying it out before starting it up again is really critical to the long-term operation of it.”

Yes, once a day can keep the doctor away. Realistically, in the baking industry, daily cleaning is often not the case.

Spiral and tunnel blast freezers may run days or even weeks in between regular maintenance and sanitation. That’s because it typically takes hours to thaw a freezer so that it can get a thorough washdown and drying before starting up again.

The production run time between cleaning schedules depends on the type of product and the related risk assessment done by the food manufacturer, noted Roger Scheffler, food safety specialist, Commercial Food Sanitation, an Intralox company.

In the meat industry, for instance, food processors deep clean their spiral freezers once a week.

“Our DirectDrive spirals can perform reliably even in the most abrasive conditions, so the cleaning and sanitation schedule is truly determined by the food manufacturer,” he said.

Freezers, however, could benefit from less-intrusive cleaning and sanitation as part of a preventive maintenance schedule. Think of it more like taking a shower every day instead of visiting the doctor for a complete checkup.

“The longer you go between sanitation, the greater the chance you have of product and frost buildup on the belt, and unknown operating conditions,” said Jonathan Lasecki, director of engineering, Ashworth Bros.