Germ Illustration

Cleaning and Sanitizing

Food is easily contaminated, therefore it is essential that all the equipment and utensils, particularly those that come in contact with food, be regularly cleaned and sanitized. Effective cleaning and sanitizing requires that visible soil be removed and microorganisms, which are invisible be destroyed.

Cleaning and sanitizing are two separate steps.

  1. Cleaning – removes food, dirt and soil and prepares equipment and surfaces for sanitizing.
  2. Sanitizing – reduces the number of micro-organisms to safe level and destroys all micro-organism and spores.

Before using any commercial sanitizer, read the label carefully and follow the manufacturer’s instructions. If you have any questions regarding the suitability of a product, call the Huron Perth Public Health (1.888.221.2133) for recommendations.

How Sanitizer and the Contact Time Work

Sanitizers are generally chemicals which kill organic material, especially bacteria and viruses. There are many different types available. Different products claim different levels of effective “kill”. The ability for a disinfectant to “kill” depends on the strength of chemical and the amount of contact time it has with the surface. Contact times generally ranges between 45 seconds to 10 minutes.

Storage and Testing

  1. Keep your sanitizer stored in a locked cupboard away from heat, sunlight and out of the reach of children.
  2. Ensure all bottles containing sanitizer are properly labelled.
  3. Test your sanitizer daily using paper test strips to ensure your solution has the proper strength.

Using Sanitizers

Counters, trays, food contact surfaces, lunch tables and chairs should be cleaned using the following method:

  1. Wash with warm soapy water.
  2. Rinse with hot clean water.
  3. Apply the sanitizer (contact time will depend on manufacturer’s instructions).
  4. Rinse sanitizer with clean water as per manufacturer’s instructions.

Sanitizer Concentrations (Manual Method)

Concentration for Food Contact Surfaces
Minimum Contact Time
Concentration for Utensils and Kitchen Cloths
Minimum Contact Time
Chlorine200 ppm (200mg/L)1 minute100 ppm (100mg/L)45 seconds
Quaternary Ammonium (Quats)400 ppm (400mg/L)Follow manufactuer’s instructions200 ppm (200mg/L)45 seconds

Recommended water temperature for all situations: 24℃

Chlorine/Iodine/Quats test papers to measure the chemical strength must be available.

ppm = parts per million

Bleach Low Level Disinfectant

  • Utensils sanitization, immersion method: 100 ppm for 45 seconds
    2.5 ml (½ tsp) of bleach to 1000 ml (4 cups) of water

Bleach Intermediate Level Disinfectant

  • Daily environmental cleaning, spraying method: 200 ppm for 1 minute
    5 ml (1 tsp) of bleach to 1000 ml (4 cups) of water

Last modified: February 19, 2020