If you are like most meat-lovers who can’t get enough of sliced meats, chances are, you are using your meat slicer almost every day. After some time, your meat slicer will need replacement, but until that point, basic maintenance and cleaning must be observed.

Meat slicers are versatile kitchen tools that slice meats, produce, and cheese to perfection. Because they are used for a variety of food items repeatedly, it is crucial to understand the proper methods in cleaning them. You must also determine how often must a meat slicer be cleaned and sanitized when in constant use.

Why Is It Important to Clean Meat Slicers?

Meat slicers are not only used for meats and deli items but can be used to slice different kinds of food. Not cleaning your slicer regularly can result in food residue build-up, which may cause the growth of harmful bacteria.

Once bacteria germinate, it can contaminate food in contact, causing food-borne illnesses. Moreover, not cleaning your slicer properly can transfer unwanted flavors or food particles on to other food items.

Among the most common bacteria that grows in mishandled food items is the Listeria monocytogenes or Lm, which is found even in cooked and processed foods. Eating contaminated meats may lead to listeriosis, which is one of the top causes of food-borne illness-related deaths in the United States.

How Often Must a Meat Slicer Be Cleaned and Sanitized When in Constant Use?

Commercial meat slicers must be cleaned every four hours, particularly if you are using it continuously. Letting the food particles sit on the blades and other parts of the meat slicer is like allowing bacteria to breed on them.

When switching meats, produce, or cheeses, you must practice wiping down the slicer first beforehand. Complete cleaning and sanitizing must be done once you are finished slicing for the day. This will prevent oil and food residue build-up, which does not only harbor bacteria but also shortens the lifespan of your meat slicer.

Cleaning vs. Sanitizing

What is the difference between cleaning and sanitizing? Cleaning removes only the surface dirt while sanitizing reduces the number of microorganisms to safe levels. Both procedures can be done using the proper chemicals or heat levels.

Like meat slicers, any surface that is used to prepare or process food must be thoroughly cleaned and properly sanitized. As a rule, cleaning and sanitizing must be done during the following circumstances:

  • After using the equipment
  • Anytime you start preparing a different type of food
  • When a food preparation task has been interrupted, leaving the tools prone to contamination
  • At intervals of four hours, particularly if you are using the equipment constantly

Specific Issues to Take Into Consideration

Before using or cleaning the meat slicer, you have to monitor its parts carefully. Check its blade guard, ring guard mount, and slicer handle for any broken, cracked, missing, or loose parts. Check if there are food particles that have accumulated inside the blade guards and other parts.

Also, examine the seals, seams, and gaskets on the meat slicing machine regularly, making sure that there are no worn-out parts. Never use the equipment if there are any missing, loose, or broken parts or if the seals and gaskets are defective or missing.

How to Clean a Meat Slicer

Before cleaning your meat slicer, please read these important notes:

  • Wear protective, Cut Resistant Gloves before handling the meat slicer for cleaning and maintenance.
  • Check the manufacturer’s manual, and follow the cleaning and maintenance instructions precisely.
  • Do not use abrasive materials like steel wool when cleaning the machine. The use of such materials can scratch the blades and damage them.
  • Do not submerge the whole slicer in water. Check the manual for specifications on which parts can be safely washed and which cannot.

Cleaning a Meat Slicer: A Step-by-Step Guide

Here are the simple and easy steps on how to clean a meat slicer:

Step 1: Set the cut thickness to zero. Use a gentle scrubbing pad to wipe both sides of the blade while the slicer is moving (now do you understand why we keep telling you to wear those cut-resistant gloves). Once the large food particles are removed, turn off the machine and unplug it.

Step 2: Completely close the gauge plate and make sure the sharpening stone is not in the way. Take off the slicer’s product tray, center plate, and slice deflector. Wash and rinse them carefully, sanitize them properly, and let them dry.

Step 3: Remove the blade from the blade holder. Wash it in hot and soapy water thoroughly, making sure there are no grease or food particles left. Clean the front and back parts of the blade in an outward motion starting from the blade’s center.

Alternatively, you can also clean the blade while it is intact. You may use hot, soapy water or a degreaser spray to clean the blade. Wipe it clean for a few times, changing clean rags each time.

Step 4: Using a fresh, clean rag, wipe down the slicer’s exterior, as well as the other remaining parts. Use a clean towel and hot water to rinse them.

Step 5: Coat the machine completely with meat slicer sanitizing spray and let it dry.

Step 6: Using a spray lubricant, oil the slide rods. When completely dry, replace the product tray, blade, and faceplate.

Step 7: Check for parts where water accumulates and dry them using a lint-free towel. To prevent corrosion, lubricate the parts, and replace the components that seem to be damaged.

Blade Maintenance Tips

With the correct maintenance procedures, you can greatly increase the life of your meat slicing machine, and at the same time, make its operation more efficient. Here are some tips on how to maintain the meat slicer blade:

  • Clean the slicer blade frequently and sharpen it regularly using a sharpening stone.
  • Always clean the blade before sharpening it and sanitize right after.
  • Follow the manufacturer’s recommendations in routine servicing.


So, how often must a meat slicer be cleaned and sanitized when in constant use? We can safely say to clean it whenever needed. It may be every four hours during continuous use or after every use. This will give the harmful microorganisms no time to breed.

All the above may seem like a lot of work and hassle, and at first, it is, but after a few times it will be no different than cleaning any other kitchen item.

Just keep in mind to practice safety when handling your meat slicer and make sure to do the cleaning and maintenance properly. Doing so gives your meat slicer a longer life to serve you perfectly sliced meat, cheese, and produce whenever you need it.


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