Iva Carter
Published by Iva Carter
Last Updated On: September 19, 2023

Maintaining hygiene in a kitchen is paramount, especially when it comes to tools and equipment used for food preparation. If you're a meat lover, you probably love sliced meats and use your meat slicer almost daily.

However, ensuring that your meat slicer is clean is about cleanliness and food safety.

With years of experience in the food industry, I've dedicated substantial time to researching and understanding the importance of meat slicer hygiene.

In this article, I'll share the insights I've gained to guide you on how often you should clean your meat slicer.

Quick Summary

  • A meat slicer should be cleaned after every use for individual purposes, and every four hours for commercial use. It must be wiped down when switching between different food types.
  • Uncleaned meat slicers can lead to harmful bacteria growth, causing food poisoning and illnesses like listeriosis.
  • Cleaning removes surface dirt, while sanitizing removes microorganisms. Proper cleaning prevents cross-contamination and flavor transfer.

How Often Should You Clean and Sanitize A Meat Slicer?

For individual purposes, meat slicers should be cleaned and sanitized well after every use. Commercial meat slicers must be cleaned every four hours, especially if used continuously.

The slicer must be wiped and cleaned beforehand to ensure food safety when switching between meats, dairy products, and vegetables.

In-depth sanitizing using a sanitizer solution must be done once slicing has finished for the day.

Cleaning slicers well will not only prevent oil and food build-up - leading to bacteria - but it will also lengthen the lifespan of your meat slicer machine.

Why is it Vital to Clean A Meat Slicer?

Cleaning a meat slicer

It is vital to clean a meat slicer to prevent cross-contamination and maintain food safety.

Not only are meat slicers used for meats, but they can also be used to slice different deli items such as cheese, fruits, and vegetables.

When a meat slicer goes uncleaned, food residue can build up, leaving a nasty growth of harmful bacteria. A huge food safety no-no.

Once your meat slicer or grinder becomes a breeding ground for bacteria, it can contaminate food, causing food poisoning and other illnesses.

Not cleaning and sanitizing properly can transfer previous food particles, cross-contamination, and flavors onto other food items.

Mishandled food often leads to the growth of common Listeria Monocytogenes (LM), which can also be found in cooked and processed foods.

Eating contaminated meats - like the ones found in an unclean meat slicer - may lead to listeriosis.

In the United States, listeriosis is one of the top causes of foodborne illness-related deaths among kitchen workers. [1].

So, cleaning a meat slicer often is vital for your health and your family's.

Things to Remember Before Cleaning a Meat Slicer

One hand spraying a formula and one hand wiping a meat slicer

Before you go ahead and clean your meat slicer machine, it is important to remember these things:

  • Always check the manufacturer's manual for specific cleaning and maintenance guidelines.
  • Wear protective cut-resistant gloves before handling and cleaning the meat slicer.
  • Don't use abrasive materials like a steel wool scrub pad when cleaning the meat slicer. This can scratch the blades and damage them.
  • The whole slicer shouldn't be submerged in water. Check the manufacturer manual for specifications in which parts can be washed safely. This includes the center plate, face plate, blade guard, and handle.

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Cleaning meat slicer collage

Here are some simple steps to cleaning your meat slicer machine efficiently:

Step 1

First, set the cut thickness to 0. Find a gentle scrub pad to wipe both sides of the meat slicer blade.

The slicer should be moving, so wearing those protective gloves is essential.  Once you've removed all the large food particles, you can unplug it.

Step 2

Make sure the gauge plate is completely closed. Be careful with the sharpening stone and ensure it's not in the way.

Carefully remove the slice deflector, product tray (food chute), and center blade plate. Softly rinse and wash all the parts with hot water, disinfectant, and soap. Leave them on the side to dry.

Step 3

You can either remove the slicer blade from the blade holder or clean it while it's in place. If you decide to remove it, handle it carefully while it's being cleaned and sanitized.

If you clean the blade while in a fixed position, clean the blade in an outward motion starting from the blade's center.

Make sure there are no grease or food particles left. You can use hot water to clean the blade.

Step 4

Clean all the slicer's exterior and other remaining parts with a fresh, clean rag. Use a clean paper towel and hot water soap solution to rinse them.

Step 5

Use a meat slicer sanitizing solution in a spray bottle to coat the machine completely and let it dry.

Step 6

Oil the slide rods using a spray lubricant. Replace the blade, product tray, and faceplate when completely dry.

Step 7

Using a lint-free towel, dry the parts where water accumulates. Lubricate the parts to prevent corrosion, and replace the damaged components.

Cleaning and inspecting in-use food slicers every 4 hours. Cleaning at this frequency, and inspecting for damage and debris, can reduce contamination of food sliced on the slicers.

- Environmental Health Services (EHS)

Meat Slicer Problem Points

Removing a meat slicer part

When it's time for your meat slicer to be cleaned, a few parts should be handled with special care. These are the ring guard mount, blade guards, mount, and handle of the slicer machine.

If there are any broken, cracked, or loose parts on the slicer, these parts usually gather blood and raw meat tissue.

Taking an extra minute or two to clean the slicer parts thoroughly may be the make or break of your cleaning routine.

Keep an eye on seals, seams, and the rubber gasket of the machine. You can replace these parts before they become worn out and damaged.

If you find out the gasket is damaged, it's best to replace it immediately. These cracked and broken parts will become a breeding ground for bacteria.

It can become difficult to keep your machine clean unless you can identify these problem points on the machine.

Read More: How to Sharpen a Meat Slicer Blade


What Should You Not Do When You Clean the Slicer?

Never use steel wool to clean your slicer or put it in a dishwasher. Also, never pressure wash or spray your machine.

How Often Should a Meat Slicer Be Cleaned and Sanitized When Used Constantly?

A meat slicer should be cleaned and sanitized daily when used constantly. Clean the slicer, meat grinder, or meat-slicing machine thoroughly after every use. If constantly used, every 4 hours.

Should a Meat Slicer Be Cleaned After Using Cooked Meat?

A meat slicer should be cleaned after every use, no matter what you cut. Even if you're slicing cheese, you should clean the blade afterward.


Regular cleaning of your meat slicer is crucial to ensure food safety and maintain optimal performance.

Generally, home cooks should clean a meat slicer after every use. During continuous usage, you should clean the slicer every 4 hours.

Cleaning your meat slicer thoroughly after each use prevents cross-contamination and bacteria buildup.

A daily cleaning routine is also essential for commercial settings to meet hygiene standards.


  1. https://www.cdc.gov/listeria/index.html
  2. https://www.cdc.gov/nceh/ehs/ehsnet/plain_language/retail-deli-food-safety-practices.html
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