September 08

Cleaning & Sanitizing Best Practices

Food can easily be contaminated if you don’t keep your facility and equipment clean and sanitized. While cleaning removes food and other dirt from a surface, sanitizing reducing pathogens on a surface to safe levels.
Here are some tips to do it right.

Tip 1: Use cleaners the right way:
  • Follow the manufacturer’s instructions carefully when using them
  • Only use cleaners for their intended purpose. Never use one type of cleaner in place of another unless the intended use is the same.
Tip 2: Use sanitizers the right way:
  • Make sure you mix sanitizers to the right concentration. Sanitizer solution is a mixture of sanitizer and water. The concentration of the mix—the amount of sanitizer to water—is critical. Too little sanitizer and it will not be effective in reducing pathogens. Too much sanitizer and the solution can be unsafe:
    • Use a test kit to measure the concentration
  • Make sure the water is the right temperature
  • Make sure you leave the object in the sanitizing solution for the right amount of time. For a sanitizer solution to kill pathogens, it must make contact with the object being sanitized for a specific amount of time:
    • The contact time can be anywhere from 7-30 seconds depending on the sanitizer and other conditions
  • Change the solution when it looks dirty or its concentration is too low. Hard water, food, and leftover detergent can reduce the solution’s effectiveness
Tip 3: Clean and sanitize surfaces correctly. Surfaces that don’t touch food only need to be cleaned and rinsed to prevent dirt from building up. But, any surface that touches food must be cleaned, rinsed, sanitized, and air-dried:
  • Follow these steps to clean and sanitize surfaces correctly:
    • Scrape or remove food from the surface
    • Wash the surface.
    • Rinse the surface
    • Sanitize the surface
    • Allow the surface to air-dry
Tip 4: Clean and sanitize surfaces when required:
  • All food-contact surfaces need to be cleaned and sanitized at these times:
    • After they are used
    • Before working with a different type of food
    • After handling different raw TCS fruits and vegetables
    • Anytime there is an interruption during a task and the items being used may have been contaminated
    • After four hours if the items have been in constant use
Tip 5: Use cleaning cloths the right way:
  • Never use cloths that are meant for wiping food spills for any other purpose.
  • Store wet wiping cloths used for wiping prep tables and other equipment surfaces in a sanitizer solution between uses.
  • Keep wiping cloths used to wipe food spills from tableware, such as from a plate during service, dry while in use.
Tip 6: Use foodservice chemicals safely:
  • Only use chemicals approved for use in a food service operation
  • Always cover or remove items that could become contaminated before using chemicals
  • After using chemicals, make sure to clean and sanitize equipment and utensils
  • When transferring chemicals to a new working container, label the new container with the common name of the chemical
  • Store chemicals separately from food and equipment by either:
    • Spacing the chemicals apart from these items.
    • Partitioning off the chemicals from other items stored in the same area

Cleaning & Sanitation Tips:

  1. Use cleaners correctly
  2. Use sanitizers correctly
  3. Clean and sanitize the right way
  4. Clean and sanitize when needed
  5. Use cleaning clothes correctly
  6. Use chemicals safely
To extend your Food Safety Month experience, visit our resources page to download posters, activity sheets, and more!