How clean are your floor drains?

Ensuring that you have clean floor drains is an area within a food business that may get overlooked. The first real sign that you do not have clean drains is the rancid or putrid smell coming from them.

Do you have clean floor drains?

Welcome to Week 27 of the Food Safety HACCP Challenge. This week you are challenged to complete a visual inspection of your floor drains to see if they are clean. This may seem pretty basic but you would be surprised at how many food businesses neglect this area in their cleaning programs. You are also challenged to find out the following:

  • Are all floor drains documented within your cleaning program?
  • Has a method to ensure clean floor drains has been documented and implemented?
  • Is there a ‘clean floor drain’ verification program is in place? For example, do you complete microbiological swabbing after your floor drains have been cleaned?
  • Do staff have adequate training in how to clean floor drains correctly?
  • Are high pressure hoses used to clean floor drains?
  • Have you considered and assessed microbiological contamination from floor drains in your hazard analysis?

The dangers of unclean floor drains

When water is allowed to remain stagnant in an unclean floor drain it can become an ideal place for bacteria to grow. If you then use a spray hose or high pressure hose to wash your floors and drains, this bacteria can be dispersed and spread around your food production area via water droplets. Examples of bacteria that thrive in dirty drains include staphylococcus aureus, E.Coli, Salmonella and Listeria.

Listeria and drains

Listeria is frequency found in floor drains. The elimination of listeria can be particularly challenging for the food industry especially in wet environments. Contamination can then be supported by the ability of listeria to grow at refrigerated temperatures. Food businesses that produce ready-to-eat product with a higher moisture content are more at risk of possible listeria contamination. It is imperative that in this situation, high pressure hoses are not used to spray into unclean floor drains.

Cleaning methods for dirty floor drains

Avoid having any food production in operation when cleaning is being implemented.

  • Ensure that all solid waste is removed prior to cleaning. You want to avoid food scraps from ending up in the floor drains.
  • Using hot water and detergent, scrub the floor drain and grates until visually clean.
  • Flush the drain with hot water.
  • Apply the recommended chemical sanitiser for the appropriate time period. Rinse with hot water if applicable.

Make sure that you also clean the ‘cleaning equipment’ that you used to clean the floor drains. This will reduce the likelihood of further contamination.

How clean were your floor drains?

Share your experience and the outcome of this #FSHChallenge by leaving a comment below.

7 thoughts on “How clean are your floor drains?”

  1. Should drains be tested immediately afterwards every time to verify effectiveness of cleaning/sanitizing or is the cleaning and sanitizing enough? Drains are on our EMP swabbing site list I’m just not 100% sure about the need to test after cleaning especially since I haven’ read anything saying it is required at that step. I am working on cleaning up a Work Instruction.

    1. Amanda Evans-Lara

      It really depends on the confidence you have in your cleaning process and the risk to your product. The more confidence you have the less you will need to verify. As a starting point I would test weekly and then you may be able to extend out to monthly if the performance is suitable. You really need to do a risk assessment for your business.

  2. Very well put together, could be interesting to have a discussion. We are the drainage company and promote this initiative as well.

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