How To Clean And Sanitize a Commercial Kitchen Efficiently

One of the most important steps to serving safe food is the usual washing and sanitizing of equipment, utensils, and facilities, this section will discuss the two-step process of cleaning and sanitizing. You will discover the difference between cleaning and sanitizing and understand how, when and why cleaning and sanitizing should be done.

Cleaning is the removal of food or soil debris from the surface to which it clings, Sanitizing, on the other hand, is a reduction of the microbial population on equipment, utensils or work surfaces. First, let’s look at the cleaning process.

To see how food particles cling to surfaces, you need to see the bacteria at a microscopic level, food particles and bacteria can be dried on the table surface, they could even work their way into surface scratches cuts and grooves. Many of these particles are not visible to the naked eye.

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It is possible that food particles and bacteria have dried on tables and countertops and even worked their way into surface scratches and grooves if these surfaces have not been properly cleaned and sanitized.

Food contact surfaces can also have biofilms that are formed by some bacteria, biofilm blended with dried food particles acts as a layer that protects the underlying bacteria from the environment and sanitizers.

Biofilms are highly resistant to cleaning and sanitizing efforts, thorough cleaning is the first step in removing this protective layer, cleaning requires three main components: water to wash and rinse soap or detergent and energy. Water helps loosen food and other items stuck to surfaces, dishes, utensils, and equipment.

The water also serves as a carrier for soap to remove these particles.  Of course, the water should be from an approved source so that we are not cleaning with dirty water. Potable water must be used for cleaning purposes, water temperature should be warm to hot about 110 degrees Fahrenheit or as recommended on the label instructions of the cleaning agent.


What surfaces should sanitisers be used on?

Any surface of dishes, utensils or equipment that comes into contact with food should be cleaned before it is sanitized, this includes cutting boards, stationery equipment, work tables and utensils, surface equipment, flatware and utensils, and dining room surfaces.

How often do you need to change the sanitizer solution?

Hand-operated cleaning starts with fresh soapy water in a sink or picked pail and ends with the rinsing of the work surface, water used to clean needs to be changed constantly, soap becomes less efficient at removing food and other particles as the water accumulates more food particles and other matter.

At a minimum, change wash water before each meal, if washable fabrics are used and get a clean one each time you change the wash water as it is hard to clean with dirty tools.

It is suggested that clean linens for the kitchen be kept in a separate area from those used in other areas of the facility such as for custodial or recreational purposes.

When should food contact surfaces be sanitized?

Sanitizing is done after washing and rinsing are completed, when serving to the public food contact superficies must be sanitized after cleaning to prevent foodborne illness, there are two ways of sanitizing dishware and equipment either mechanically through a dishwashing machine or manually using a three-compartment sink.

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Do Dishes need to be sanitized?

All dishes, cooking equipment and utensils used in the kitchen must be properly cleaned and sanitized after use, cleaning is the removal of food or soil debris from the surface to which it adheres and Sanitizing is a reduction of the microbial population on equipment, utensils or work surfaces.

Is sanitizer water supposed to be hot?

For mechanical sanitizing heat sanitizing with high temperatures or chemicals that could be used, heat sanitizing uses hot water, the final hot water sanitizing rinse temperature will vary depending on the type of machine, check machine instructions, the water temperature when it comes in contact with the dishware should be at least 160 degrees Fahrenheit.

What is the maximum temperature allowed for the hot water sanitizing rinse?

A final rinse temperature of 180 degrees Fahrenheit when water exits the machine is typical, consult with your local health inspector if you have questions regarding final rinse temperature for the type of machine in your facility, the water temperature should be checked when beginning dishwashing at each meal period to make sure the machine is working properly and heat sanitizing is occurrin

How should sanitizer chemicals be used?

Be sure that you only use chemicals that are approved for use in kitchens and appropriate for equipment, review manufacturer’s instructions for use of chemicals to be sure correct amounts are used.

Chemical sanitizer concentrations should be checked at least once during each meal for chemical dish machines and three-compartment sinks, in three-compartment sinks there often will be a fill line to indicate how much water should be in the sink.

The amount of chemical dispensed through a pump or tower should be in the correct proportion to the amount of water used, there are three types of chemical agents used in foodservice sanitizers: quaternary ammonium or quats, chlorine, and iodine.

They are not all the same, each has different characteristics and each requires a different concentration to be effective and a different test strip for checking the accuracy of concentrations, the proper concentration for food contact surfaces is based on the type of sanitizer.

What should the PPM be for sanitizer solution?

According to the current FDA Food Code quaternary ammonium should have a concentration as indicated by the manufacturer’s use directions, chlorine should be 50 to 100 parts per million and iodine should be 12 and a half to 25 parts per million.

The best way to ensure the sanitizer is effective is by checking it with a test strip, there are specific test strips for each type of chemical agent. When the test strip is placed in the solution for at least 10 seconds it should change color.

Compare the color of the test strip to the indicator on the package to determine sanitizer concentration, checking the concentration is important because sanitizers become less effective over time, that doesn’t mean more is better! If the concentration is too high there is a potential for toxicity.

Sanitizer’s effectiveness also breaks down when food particles are present in the solution.

You should now know the difference between cleaning and sanitizing and the proper steps for each procedure, to avoid re-contamination of clean and sanitized items be sure dishware and equipment are completely dry before returning to storage.

Do not use towels to dry items, Air drying is recommended, be sure clean hands are used to handle the clean and sanitized dishware and equipment.

Remember it’s a two-step process, step one is cleaning which involves washing with soap or detergent and rinsing with clean water.

Step two is sanitizing either by high temperature or chemicals applied manually or using a dish machine.

Remember these tips:
cleaning requires a cleaning agent, water and energy to be effective.

Use separate cloths and pails for cleaning and sanitizing to avoid cross-contamination.

Check your dish machine temperature or sanitizer concentration at each meal.

Document the temperature or sanitizer concentration and the date and time that they were taken.

Sanitizer in sinks or buckets should be changed several times a day.