Cleaning and sanitizing are often incorrectly used interchangeably. However, these two actions should be done together to ensure the safe production of high-quality dairy products, food, and drinks. Anything that comes into direct contact with food should be cleaned and sanitized such as preparation tables, conveyors, wash tanks, spinners, bins, knives, and brushes.

What is Cleaning?

Cleaning is the physical removal of visible dirt, soil, food particles, grease, or allergens from equipment, utensils, or work surfaces. A cleaned surface will look shiny and spotless, but pathogens that cause illness are not removed during cleaning. In general, the cleaning process includes removing large particles, wetting the surface, scrubbing, rinsing, and air drying. When cleaning, be careful to avoid cross-contamination through splashing or blowing from one surface to another.

What is Sanitizing?

Sanitizing reduces the number of harmful microorganisms from a cleaned surface. While sanitizing does not remove all bacteria, it brings it down to a safe level. Cleaning must always come before sanitizing. If cleaning is skipped, the sanitizing process will be ineffective as oil, grease, and dust deactivate sanitizers.

Cleaning & Sanitizing Process

Why is it Important to Both Clean and Sanitize?

  • Helps to prevent pest infestations.
  • Helps to stay in compliance with food safety laws and regulations.
  • Helps to protect from food poisoning and allergic reactions.
  • Helps to reduce the amount of waste due to unsafe or spoiled food.
  • Color-coding brushes and tools is an effective way to prevent cross-contamination from food contact to non-contact surfaces, and raw to pasteurized foods.

Importance of Training

Different types of food and ingredients require different cleaners and practices. Employees should be aware of the correct chemical use—which chemical and concentration is needed, the correct mixing and usage procedures, plus, how to store and label. Personal protective equipment may be required depending on the chemical, so it is important for employees to be educated on the proper procedures for cleaning and sanitizing.

Talk to a product specialist today to discuss the best cleaning and sanitizing products for your facility!