Tips for Cleaning and Sanitizing in the Kitchen
As we are all so keenly aware these days, good hygiene, cleaning, and sanitation practices are crucial to our health and well-being. Kitchens are high-touch areas and naturally create environments for germs and pathogens to settle on surfaces. These germs and pathogens can cause foodborne and other types of illnesses.
Aren’t CLEANING and SANITIZING the same thing?
The short answer is no.
- Cleaning is removing dirt and debris from surfaces usually by using soap and hot water.
- Sanitizing is reducing or removing the germs and pathogens on the surface by using a disinfectant.
If a surface is not properly cleaned first, a sanitizer will not fully do its job and be effective. And, simply rinsing a surface will not be enough to remove what you don’t want lingering.
WHAT SHOULD I USE TO CLEAN AND SANITIZE?
- Use hot soapy water to thoroughly clean all of the surfaces and touchpoints in the kitchen – counters, the stovetop, handles, sink, etc.
- Dawn dishwashing soap is effective in helping to cut grease.
- Vinegar is also effective cleaners for many surfaces. Mix 1/2 cup distilled white vinegar with 2 – 3 cups water in a bucket or spray bottle. Wipe or spray on the surface, clean thoroughly and allow to dry.
- Vinegar can be used on many sinks, stovetops, countertops, glass, door knobs and handles
- Vinegar should NOT be used on granite, marble, soapstone, aluminum, cast iron, waxed wood
- An easy homemade sanitizer consists of mixing 1 tablespoon of liquid chlorine bleach with 1 gallon of water. This can be used in a bucket or a spray bottle. Wipe (or spray) over the desired kitchen surfaces, then wipe with a clean paper or cloth towel. Allow the area to dry completely before using that surface again.
- If using a commercial sanitizing solution, follow instructions from the manufacturer.
LEARN MORE ABOUT CLEANING AND SANITIZING
To incorporate effective cleaning and sanitizing practices into your routine, check out these resources –
- Clean THEN Sanitize: A One-Two Punch to Stop Foodborne Illness in the Kitchen – USDA.gov
- Making Your Own Sanitizing Solution – Penn State University Extension
- A Clean Kitchen is Required for Food Safety – University of MN Extension
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