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How To Clean a Meat Slicer

on May 15, 2024

Cleaning a meat slicer is an essential task for maintaining both the safety and performance of this valuable kitchen tool. Whether used in a bustling delicatessen, a butcher shop, or a home kitchen, a meat slicer can quickly become a breeding ground for bacteria and cross-contamination if not properly maintained.

This guide will walk you through the importance of cleaning your meat slicer, detailing the step-by-step process to ensure it remains hygienic and in optimal working condition. By following these instructions and avoiding common mistakes, you can keep your slicer clean, safe, and efficient, ensuring the best quality slices for your culinary needs.


What is a meat slicer?

A meat slicer is a machine designed to slice meat and other food items into thin, even slices. It can be powered manually or by electricity and is commonly used in butcher shops, delicatessens, and homes to slice meats, sausages, cheeses, and other deli products. Meat slicers are particularly useful for slicing already-cooked, cold meats into thin slices for sandwiches, and they can also be used to slice firm cheeses, cabbage, and other produce.



Why it is crucial to clean and sanitize a meat slicer?

There are several important reasons why it is crucial to regularly clean and sanitize a meat slicer:

  1. Leftover meat particles and residue can harbor dangerous bacteria like listeria that cause foodborne illness. Proper cleaning and sanitization is essential to prevent contamination and keep customers safe.
  2. Residue from one type of meat or food item can transfer to the next, affecting the taste and quality of the sliced product. Thorough cleaning between uses is necessary.
  3. Buildup of debris and lack of lubrication can damage slicer components, dull the blade, and lead to more frequent breakdowns and repairs. Regular cleaning helps the slicer operate at its best.
  4. Proper cleaning and sanitization of food contact surfaces like meat slicers is legally required. Failure to do so can result in fines, closures, or other penalties for the business.
  5. Neglecting to clean the slicer, especially the blade, can increase the risk of cuts and other injuries to the operator. Maintaining the slicer helps keep it safe to use.


How to clean a meat slicer properly?

The key steps to properly clean a meat slicer are:

  1. Unplug the machine, set the blade thickness to zero, and remove all removable parts like the blade, sharpener, blade guard, product tray, and center plate. Wear cut-resistant gloves when handling the sharp blade.
  2. Use a small brush and scrub pad to wipe off any food debris from all surfaces, including hard-to-reach areas. A toothbrush can help clean tight spaces.
  3. Create a soapy solution with hot water and detergent. Use a sponge to thoroughly wash all surfaces that touch food, like the blade, center plate, slice deflector, and food tray. A degreaser spray can also be used.
  4. Use a clean towel or cloth to wipe the exterior and other areas of the slicer, even if they don't appear dirty. Make sure to clean the slicer handle, blade ring guard, and slide rods.
  5. Spray the entire slicer with a food-safe sanitizing solution, not just the food contact areas. Apply it generously to kill any lurking bacteria. Allow to air dry completely.
  6. Use a food-grade silicone lubricant spray on the slide rods to keep the slicer operating smoothly.
  7. Put the slicer back together carefully, handling the blade with caution. Make sure everything is properly aligned and secure before use.

The key is to follow the manufacturer's instructions, wear protective gloves, and be thorough in cleaning and sanitizing all surfaces to maintain food safety and slicer performance. For sanitizing meat slicers:

  • Use a food-safe sanitizing spray to properly disinfect and kill any bacteria on the slicer after cleaning.
  • Spray the whole machine with the sanitizing solution, not just the areas that come directly into contact with food. Apply the product generously to kill any bacteria lurking in the machine.
  • Use sanitizers that have regulatory approval. Avoid mixing different chemicals or applying multiple cleaners and sanitizers at the same time as this may produce toxic by-products.
  • Allow all the components to air dry for a few hours after sanitizing. Don't store a wet slicer, as excess moisture can promote bacterial growth.
  • Develop written procedures for the frequency of sanitizing, which varies according to usage patterns. Ensure staff are adequately trained in the procedures.
  • As biofilms can form on slicers, it's important to include mechanical scrubbing in the cleaning process to prevent biofilm formation. Also, it's recommended to switch disinfectants to prevent resistance.


What are the best cleaning products for a meat slicer?

  1. Degreaser spray: A powerful degreaser spray is essential for cutting through built-up grease and food residue on the slicer.
  2. Sanitizing spray: A food-safe sanitizing spray is needed to properly disinfect and kill any bacteria on the slicer after cleaning.
  3. Food-grade silicone lubricant: Products like food-grade silicone lubricant spray help keep the moving parts of the slicer operating smoothly and prevent rust.
  4. Scrub pads or brushes: Specialized cleaning tools like the Easy Slicer cleaning wand and scrub pads allow you to effectively clean the slicer blade and other hard-to-reach areas without fully disassembling the machine.
  5. Cut-resistant gloves: Wearing cut-resistant gloves is recommended to protect hands and fingers when cleaning the sharp slicer blade.


Meat slicer maintenance tips

When cleaning a meat slicer, it's crucial to avoid several common mistakes to ensure both safety and hygiene. Firstly, always unplug the slicer before cleaning to prevent accidents. Rushing the disassembly process without adhering to the manufacturer’s instructions can lead to incomplete cleaning and potential damage. It's essential to remove all residual meat particles to avoid contamination and ensure the quality of future slices. Using mild detergents instead of harsh chemicals or abrasives protects the slicer's components from damage. Regularly sharpening and inspecting the slicer blades is necessary to maintain efficient and even slicing. Ensure all parts are fully dry before reassembling to prevent rust and maintain cleanliness. Finally, test the slicer's functionality after cleaning to confirm it is operating correctly. By following these steps, you can maintain your meat slicer hygiene effectively.



In conclusion, regular and thorough cleaning of your meat slicer is critical for ensuring food safety, maintaining the quality of your slices, and extending the life of your machine. By following the recommended cleaning steps and avoiding common mistakes such as skipping safety measures, using harsh chemicals, and neglecting to dry components, you can prevent contamination and ensure your slicer operates smoothly. Regular maintenance, including blade sharpening and inspection, also plays a key role in the slicer's performance. By taking these steps seriously, you not only comply with health regulations but also protect your investment and ensure the best results for your culinary endeavors.

At Vancouver Restaurant Supply, we understand the importance of maintaining your equipment!