Cleaning and Sanitizing


At each point along the flow of food in a foodservice operation, food can be contaminated if equipment and utensils are not cleaned and sanitized. One of the five common risk factors for foodborne illnesses is using contaminated equipment. The other four risk factors are purchasing food from unsafe source, cooking food incorrectly, holding food incorrectly, and practicing poor personal hygiene. Here we summarize different methods of sanitizing, how and when to clean and sanitize, how to wash items using dishwasher or a three-compartment sink, how to use and store cleaning tools and supplies and finally how to develop a master cleaning schedule.

Cleaning and Sanitizing

- Cleaning removes food and dirt from a surface and sanitizing reduces the pathogens to a safe level.
- Use cleaners that are safe, stable, and non-corrosive.
- Food-contact surfaces can be sanitized using heat or chemicals.
- When using heat, water should be 171° F and items being sanitized should be soaked at least for 30 seconds
- Equipment, utensils, and tableware can be sanitized by soaking them in a sanitizing solution or spray them with it.
- Chlorine, iodine, and quats are three types of common sanitizers.
- Some factors that influence the effectiveness of chemical sanitizers are:
- concentration, temperature and the contact time.
- All food-contact surfaces such as cutting boards, knives, prep tables, and stockpots must be cleaned and sanitized.
- Never use one type of cleaner instead of other unless the intended use is the same.
How to clean and sanitize a food-contact surface:
- Remove food bits from the surface.
- Wash the surface.
- Rinse the surface.
- Sanitize the surface.
- Let the surface to air-dry.
When to clean and sanitize food-contact surfaces:
- After they have been used
- After 4 hours if they were used continuously.
- Before start working with a different kind of food.
- After being interrupted doing a task, and the item being used may have been contaminated.
- Follow manufacturers instructions when cleaning stationary and clean-in-place equipment.

Machine and Manual Dishwashing and Storing

Machine Dishwashing
- Dishwashing machines are often used to clean and sanitize tableware and utensils.
- Three-compartment sinks are used to clean and sanitize larger items such as pots and pans.
- After they are washed and sanitized, items should be stored in a way so that they do not become contaminated.
- High-temperature dishwashing machines use hot water to clean and sanitize.
- The temperature of the final sanitizing rinse must be at lease 180° F.
- Chemical-sanitizing machines use chemicals to clean and sanitize so they need a lower temperature.
- Keep the washing machine clean and scrape, rinse, or soak items before washing.
- Never overload dish racks and load it so water spray will reach all surfaces.
- Never dry items using towels. Always air dry them.
- Monitor temperature, pressure, and sanitizing levels of washing machines.
Manual Dishwashing in a Three-Compartment Sink
- Make sure the sinks and drain boards are cleaned and sanitized.
- Fill the first sink with 110° F detergent water.
- Fill the second sink with clean water unless items are not dipped and instead are spray-rinsed.
- Fill the third sink with water and sanitizer or hot water based on manufacturers' recommendations.
How to Clean and Sanitize in a Three-Component Sink
- Rinse, scrape, or soak items before washing them.
- Wash items in the first sink.
- Rinse items in the second sink.
- Sanitize items in the third sink.
- Air-dry items on a clean and sanitized surface and place them upside down to drain.
Storing Tableware and Equipment
- After cleaning and sanitizing, store tableware and utensils at least six inches off the floor.
- Make sure storage areas such as drawers and shelves are cleaned and sanitized.
- Clean and sanitize carts and trays used to carry clean items.
- Cover food-contact surfaces of equipment while they are not used.
- Store glasses and cups upside down.
- Store flatware and utensils with handles up.

Cleaning and Sanitizing in the Operation

- Use correct tools, supplies, and storage method to clean the operation.
- Many chemicals used in the operation are hazardous, and staff must know how to correctly use them.
- Clean nonfood-contact surfaces such as floors, ceilings, equipment exteriors, restrooms and walls regularly.
- Establish guidelines on how to clean up after people who get sick and contaminate the operation.
- Make sure to clean and store cleaning tools and supplies correctly to prevent food contamination.
- Store cleaning tools and chemicals away and separate from food and prep areas.
- Make sure lighting is good in the storage areas.
- Make sure hooks are provided for hanging mops, brooms, and other cleaning tools.
- Make sure there is a utility sink for washing cleaning tools and filling buckets.
- Make sure there is a floor drain to dump dirty water.
- Handwashing, food prep, and dishwashing sinks must never be used to clean mops, brushes, or other tools.
- Never dump mop water or other liquid waste into toilets or urinals.
- Hang mops, brooms, and brushes on hooks to air-dry.
- Air-dry towels overnight.
- Clean and rinse buckets, air-dry, and store them with other tools.
Using Foodservice Chemicals
- Use only chemicals approved for use in a foodservice operation.
- Store chemicals in their original containers.
- If the chemical is transferred to a new container, label it with the common name of the chemical.
- Follow the instructions on the label and local regulatory authority requirements about how to dispose of chemicals.
- Chemical manufacturers and suppliers of hazardous chemicals provide a Material Safety Data Sheet for each chemical.
Material Safety Data Sheet (MSDS)
- Some of the information in an MSDS are:
- How to safely use and handle the chemical
- Hazards such as physical, health, fire and reactivity associated with the chemicals
- Precautions and what to wear when using the chemical
- First-aid information and what to do in an emergency
- Name, address, and phone number of the manufacturer
- Date MSDS was prepared
- Hazardous ingredients and identity information.

A Master Cleaning Schedule

To develop an effective cleaning program for an operation:
1. Create a master cleaning schedule that has information about
- What should be cleaned.
- Who should clean it.
- When it should be cleaned.
- How it should be cleaned.
2. Train your staff to follow the program
3. Monitor the Cleaning Program