When you work in the food industry, properly handling the food is a priority to avoid a health hazard. But it goes beyond refrigerating and properly cooking the food. You must also be careful about how you clean and sanitize the equipment.

If you’re not sure how to care for your food equipment, here are some basic cleaning and sanitizing guidelines to get you started.

image of clean and sanitized commercial kitchen

Cleaning Process

When it relates to food equipment, the cleaning process involves removing excess leftover food or soil from the equipment. To ensure safe food handling, removing these substances is a step you cannot skip.

There are a few options you have when it comes to cleaning agents. What you can use depends on the type of equipment you have and the surfaces with which it comes in contact.

Detergents

Detergents should be used for cleaning table surfaces and equipment. Since detergent penetrates quickly and softens the surface, it makes the cleaning process easier.

Solvent Cleaners

Use solvent cleaners for equipment and surfaces touched by grease or where grease is burned on. These solvents are also called degreasers.

Remember that lingering grease could be a health hazard.

Acid Cleaners

Acid cleaners take care of mineral deposits when detergents can’t do the job. Sometimes mineral deposits will form in equipment that touches water, such as washing machines and steam tables.

Abrasive Cleaners

If the food equipment has creases and hard-to-reach places, you might need to use an abrasive cleaner. These cleaners help take care of heavy accumulations and might even disinfect.

Sanitizing Procedures

If you’re dealing with food equipment, cleaning is not enough. You also need to sanitize after you’ve cleaned the surface.

You should only sanitize after a surface has been cleaned. This is because if the equipment has food residue on it, the residue can react with chemicals during the sanitation process.

Sanitizing can be accomplished by using chemicals, heat, or radiation. You should know, however, that although radiation is an option, it is rarely used in food handling sanitizing procedures.

Heat Sanitizing

Heat sanitizing is pretty straightforward. There are three ways to use heat to sanitize food equipment: steam, hot water, and hot air.

Hot water is the most typical method used in restaurants. The sanitation is delivered by putting the equipment in a washing machine where the water can get as hot as 171 degrees Fahrenheit.

Sanitizing food equipment using heat will depend on the size of the equipment. For larger equipment, you might need to resort to hot air or steam.

Chemical Sanitizing

Common chemicals used to sanitize include chlorine, iodine, and ammonium. The concentration, temperature, and contact time has to be precise to ensure that harmful bacteria are killed and equipment is ready to use safely again.

Follow Manufacturer Guidelines When Cleaning and Sanitizing

If you work with food handling equipment, you know the importance of making sure it’s clean to avoid food contamination. But before you start cleaning and sanitizing, it’s always important to make sure the cleaners and methods you use are recommended by your equipment manufacturer.

Following your manufacturer’s guidelines will help extend the life of your equipment.

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