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Bar Cleaning 101: How to Clean a Bar

November 23, 2019
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BinWise Staff

The cleanliness of your bar—even your customers’ perception of the cleanliness of your bar—has a huge impact on your business. A 2015 poll found that a whopping 85% of customers would not visit a business with negative online reviews about its cleanliness. Bar cleaning is obviously important.

It’s best to solve that problem before it starts. And here’s what we’ll cover to help you maintain and manage a bar that's squeaky clean:

  • Bar cleaning checklists (we’ve even got a free one for you to download)
  • How to deep clean your bar
  • When bars should clean their lines
  • How much cleaning costs

After reading this guide, download our free bar cleaning checklist and unleash your inner Mr. Clean. (We've also got a handy restaurant cleaning checklist, too.)

Use Bar Cleaning Checklists

The first step to learn how to clean a bar is to come up with a bar cleaning schedule. Decide what needs to be cleaned and how regularly it needs to be cleaned (daily, weekly, monthly, etc). Coming up with cleaning and maintenance cadences is central to bar manager responsibilities. Once you know your cleaning cadences, you can create bar cleaning checklists. You can also download our free bar cleaning checklist and customize it to fit the unique needs of your bar.

Daily Bar Cleaning Checklist

Daily cleaning tasks should cover things like cleaning glassware, refilling coolers with beer bottles and cans, taking out trash, and more. For the full list, check out our free daily bar cleaning checklist template.

Weekly Bar Cleaning Checklist

Weekly cleaning tasks should cover things like empty out and clean reach-in coolers, clear off and wipe shelving units, power wash floor mats, and more. For more, take a look at our free weekly bar cleaning checklist template.

Bar Deep-Cleaning Checklist

Since deep cleaning is a little more involved, there are a few special things to consider when creating your checklist. The first is how you’ll actually deep clean your bar: who’s going to do it and when. The second, if you serve draft beer, is how often you should clean your keg lines.

How Do You Deep Clean a Bar?

The responsibility for deep cleaning the bar usually rotates among the bartenders. It's one of the primary bartender responsibilities and a part of any bartender duties checklist worth its salt.

That means each bartender has a deep cleaning shift once every few weeks, every month, or every few months. It depends on what’s being cleaned. Alternately, if you have a lot of cleaning that needs to be done at the same time, you can throw a cleaning party! Close the place down for a bit, give your bartenders some food, and let them clean … as one.

Some biweekly deep-cleaning tasks include:

  • Changing beer lines
  • Empty out and clean any refrigerators

Some monthly deep-cleaning tasks include:

  • Remove all bottles and glassware from shelves and wipe down the entire shelving unit
  • Empty out and clean and freezers
  • Restaurant hood cleaning if your bar has a nearby range or grill

Some bimonthly deep-cleaning tasks include:

  • Cleaning and polishing light fixtures and decor
  • Scrub and polish floor
  • Descale espresso machine

There is a bit more to say about cleaning beer lines, though, because when you need to clean beer lines isn’t cut and dry.

How Often Should Bars Clean Their Lines?

Bars should clean their beer lines at least once every 6 weeks. And at least once every 2 weeks if they're serving small-batch, unfiltered craft beers. But cleaning your lines weekly is ideal.

Mold and bacteria can form in the lines, especially with unfiltered beers that still contain yeast. Add cleaning your beer lines to your cleaning checklist. Use a schedule that aligns with the types of beers you have on draft and you’ll be set.

Who Should Clean the Bar?

Everybody who works near it, to be honest. It mostly comes down to being a part of bartender or barback responsibilities, though. But any time you're hiring bar staff, you should make sure the person is ready and willing to contribute to the physical maintenance of your bar. Constant cleaning should never tumble too far downhill. If you see something, clean something. Part of being a good bar manager is imparting this precious wisdom on your bar staff.

How Much Does it Cost to Clean a Bar?

Want someone else to clean your bar? Fair! On average, it costs about $37 per hour for bar cleaning services. Most cleaners charge for materials used and square footage covered. So, the final cost depends on how big your bar is and whether it’s a deep clean or not.

The majority of commercial cleaning services don’t list prices online. They’ll gather your information and provide an estimate. Sometimes that involves a walkthrough of the space to be cleaned. It’s also worth noting that commercial bar and restaurant cleaning services may charge a flat fee instead of an hourly rate. But those who don't may be amenable to a flat fee instead of an hourly rate if that’s your preference. No harm in asking!

Use QR Codes and Touchless Menus

Here's another cleaning cost and contamination risk that often slips through the cracks: menus. The National Restaurant Association now suggests that all paper menus be discarded and replaced after each use.

But the cheapest and cleanest menu a bar or restaurant can get is a digital one. Digital wine lists are blowing up right now, thanks to the reality of post-covid menus. The cleanest, cheapest, and by far safest strategy is using a QR code for a restaurant menu.

But that’s not all QR codes are used for. They can be used for QR code marketing, contactless ordering, touchless payments, and more. And they’re very easy to roll out.

A static or dynamic QR code is super easy to use. Just look over how to scan a QR code on iPhone or Android and you’ll get the feeling. Or look at what to do if an Android or iPhone won’t scan a QR code. The troubleshooting is rare and easy. That’s why QR code statistics are growing exponentially.

And QR code menus are easy to create and maintain. They’re also simple to roll out, deploy, and maintain. Once you use a QR code generator PDF, you’re basically all set. Just mind the QR code security issues involved with using free websites that generate QR codes for you.

Clean Bar, Clean Slate

The takeaway here is to make bar cleaning schedules, use checklists to make sure you’re hitting everything, and stick to it. And pick up some top-notch restaurant cleaning supplies. The importance of turning cleaning into a set of boxes to be checked off and getting your staff into a rhythm cannot be understated. Include all your checklists and documentation in your bar staff training manual for reference.

One opportunity that consistently cleaning your bar gives you is to consistently take your bar’s inventory. If you’re pulling all the bottles and ingredients out already, it’s the perfect time to count them.

If you use liquor inventory software BinWise Pro, counting bar inventory becomes effortless, speedy scanning. Before you know it, all your inventory is accurately accounted for and your shelves are sparkling. Your bar will feel like a brand new place. Book a demo!