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How to Get Rid of Smelly Kitchen Hands

Although COVID-19 led to significant changes in patron habits, the top priorities for professional chefs remain the same: Preparing and serving safe food and working efficiently while ensuring staff wellbeing. “Smelly kitchen hands” have long been a hassle and worry in professional kitchens because they compete with those priorities. 

Effects of COVID-19 on chef behavior

Consumers are eating more takeout and delivery, even from fine-dining establishments. Yet all restaurants are under pressure to provide the same high-quality experience—with fewer staff members and a smaller budget.

Consumers are also still extremely concerned about restaurant cleanliness and food safety. In fact, 60% of customers reported that their expectations for restaurant and café hygiene practices had increased during the pandemic.1 As a result, restaurant hygiene is a growing focus among chefs as they face greater competition for guests, many of whom may still not be completely comfortable with eating out.

The bottom line: Consumers’ increasing cautiousness regarding restaurant cleanliness and food safety has caused many chefs to implement rigorous hygiene training and food safety practices that go far beyond pre-COVID levels. But the additional costs of cleaning supplies and the extra time required to prepare and serve food safely according to these new standards is having a big impact on restaurant budgets and kitchen efficiency—and causing chefs a lot of stress.

Challenges of preparing and serving safe food

Chefs have long struggled with the challenge of removing unpleasant odors and grease from their hands. If a hand soap doesn’t effectively remove odor and grease residue from hands, contaminating other dishes with the odor and flavor becomes a real concern. The contamination could spoil a dish or expose allergy-sensitive guests to an unintended ingredient.

Many soaps can also cause skin irritation due to frequent use. If chefs and employees stop washing their hands as often as they should, food and surface contamination can also lead to illness for employees and even guests—a nightmare scenario.

Challenges to kitchen efficiency and staff wellbeing

If a hand soap leaves odor and grease residue on hands, chefs may wash more often. This can interrupt the food preparation process as well as the precisely orchestrated workflow of a professional kitchen. The problem is magnified when the crew is under intense pressure to complete orders quickly and efficiently.

Many soaps can also cause skin irritation due to frequent use. This can significantly affect the efficiency of a kitchen if the irritation becomes severe or leads to food contamination and illness that requires time off.

The value of an effective hand soap

Effective yet gentle hand soap can have a big impact on chefs and kitchen staff—both on their work and their peace of mind. After all, a chef’s hands are their most important tools, and taking good care of them is crucial. As one chef said, “When the soap solves my problems, I feel taken care of.”2

Instead of worrying about food contamination, odor transfer, or dry, chapped hands, effective hand soap can help chefs concentrate on the most important and best part of their jobs: cooking the tasty meals that make guests happy and keep them coming back.

Content courtesy of Essity