How to Clean a Grocery Store: The Definitive Guide

by | Mar 20, 2024

With over 63,000 supermarkets and grocery stores in the United States, consumers have a lot of choice when it comes to buying food. Between superstores and mass marketers like Walmart and Target along with discount grocers like Aldi and WinCo, shoppers spend an average of $155 per household on their weekly grocery hauls.  

Consumers have multiple ways to get their groceries. But statistics point to a strong preference. Only 16% opt to shop online and get their groceries delivered. That leaves about 69% shopping in person, visiting a supermarket about eight times a month, according to Drive Research.

So, what keeps them coming to your supermarket? Convenience, good prices, product availability, and variety all rank high, but store cleanliness continues to drive customer trust and brand loyalty.

Keeping a grocery store clean is no easy task. Supermarkets are big, averaging over 48,000 square feet. They are complex, with different areas needing different cleaning strategies. And they’re usually busy.

There are tools and techniques that make cleaning a grocery easier and more complete. Here’s how to clean every part of a grocery store.

Keeping Grocery Floors Clean & Shiny

Grocery floors take a beating. Heavy foot traffic, rolling loads, and constant spills (more on spills below) mean floors need constant care. Effective maintenance actually starts in the parking lot and entryway. Keeping these areas as clean as possible cuts down on tracked in dirt and grit while making an inviting first impression.

Entry mats catch more debris and help pull rain, snow, and ice melt from shoes. Be sure to keep these mats clean and dry. An entry mat loaded with soil or soaked with rainwater can’t work as intended.

Most floor maintenance happens at night when foot traffic dies down. Some stores choose an autoscrubber or orbital machine for this work, but these tools can be expensive, bulky, and difficult to operate. An AutoVac Stretch™ from Kaivac offers a better choice. 

The AutoVac Stretch cleans and dries floors completely. The machine can service 25,000 square feet of floor an hour without a refill while conserving water and cleaning chemical. An AutoVac Stretch is also easy to operate and inexpensive to own.

But maybe the best feature is the shine the AutoVac Stretch leaves on the floor finish. Consumers expect grocery store floors to gleam and this tool leaves floors 25% shinier than other cleaning technology. 

Spills Require Round-the-Clock Care

Everything stops when there is a spill in a grocery store. That’s because spills create hazardous slip-and-fall dangers. Spills can be responsible for lost productivity, delays, accidents, expensive lawsuits, and painful injuries.

Slips and falls can lead to real, long-lasting injuries, according to the National Floor Safety Institute. Falls represent more than 20 percent of all hospital emergency room visits according to NFSI their data. Not only are these accidents the primary cause of lost workdays in the U.S. they are also the leading cause of workers’ compensation claims.

Mops are often the go-to technology for spill clean-up. But that doesn’t make them the best choice. Mops can’t fully remove spilled or tracked in liquids. Air-drying leaves floors wet and slippery for a long time, increasing the risk to people and property.

There are fast and effective ways to clean a dry a spill. The AutoVac Stretch or UniVac® picks up spills quickly, leaving floors dry and ready to walk on. Grocery aisles can open back up so shoppers can get back to shopping and employees can move to higher value tasks.

Food Preparation Areas: Cleaning Strategies for the Grocerant

It’s finally happened. Groceries have become more than a place to buy food, they’ve morphed into spots to sit down and enjoy a meal. Also known as a “Grocerant,” the supermarket deli section has extended into a fast casual restaurant offering a variety of hot and cold items meant to be eaten on the spot. 

Offering prepared food is great for a grocery’s bottom line, but cleaning these spaces poses extra challenges. Deli kitchens can be greasy, with bits of food trapped behind counters and equipment. Staff need to clean and degrease these floors every day to keep them up to food service codes.

That is why leading grocery retailers choose the UniVac® from Kaivac to service these specialty floors areas. Nimble enough to navigate tight spaces, the cord-free UniVac uses powerful vacuum extraction to fully remove dirt and grease from floors. Using the UniVac is easy. Workers flood the floor with water and chemical, scrub the problem areas, and suck up the mess. Once finished the tool conveniently stores away under a counter until needed again.   

Refrigerated Display Cases Need Cleaning Too

Nobody thinks about cleaning their refrigerated display cases until there’s an issue. And these issues can be quite painful. Dirty refrigerated display cases inevitably lead to:

  • Equipment Failure
  • Increased Service Calls
  • High Energy Bills
  • Spoiled Product
  • Unpleasant Odors

Cleaning the refrigerator coils is a hassle. That’s why supermarket managers usually wait until there is problem before calling in an expensive HVAC specialist.

The Cooler Case Cleaner by Kaivac lets managers bring the job back in house. Spray-and-vac technology allows workers to gently clean sensitive equipment. The Cooler Case Cleaner works so well employees can finish in half the time of manual cleaning methods. The tool is simple to learn, easy to use, and much less expensive than outside service contractors.

Restrooms, The Ultimate Challenge

Restrooms are a conundrum. They are the hardest, most unpleasant cleaning job yet everyone expects the restrooms to look pristine and smell fresh at all times. In fact, consumers judge the entire grocery store by the state of the restrooms. Get it wrong and supermarkets will lose trust, customers, and revenue.

Despite the importance of the job, cleaning grocery restrooms is hard. Mops and buckets are bulky and require bending and twisting. Cleaning fixtures like toilets, urinals and sinks is slow work. It also asks that employees get up close and personal with disgusting messes, usually while crawling around on their hands and knees. Worse of all, this old-fashioned method just can’t get the restroom fully clean.

Using a Kaivac No-Touch Cleaning System gets the job done quickly and completely.  The system’s combination of automatic chemical metering and injection, indoor pressure washer and powerful wet vacuum cleans up to 60 times better than cotton or microfiber mops in one half to one third of the time.

The system also does a great job of cleaning tile and grout by fully removing the bacteria that causes stains and unpleasant odors. After servicing restrooms are sparkling clean, dry, and ready to use.

Learn more about how to clean a grocery store here.

Amy Milshtein covers design, facility management and business topics for a variety of trade publications and consumer magazines. Her work has won several awards, most recently a regional silver Azbee Award of Excellence.She lives in Portland, OR with her family and Clyde, a 15-lb tabby cat. Once an avid hiker, these days she finds herself on the less-challenging -but-still-exciting 'creaky knees' trails.
Amy Milshtein
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