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  • Writer's picturePacRimReps

CLEAN, SANITIZE or DISINFECT - Is there a difference? - Hawaii Foodservice Industry

Especially right now, a lot of companies are increasing their frequency of cleaning & sanitizing their foodservice establishments in order to prevent the spread of the COVID-19 virus. The words CLEAN, SANITIZE & DISINFECT are being used somewhat interchangeably but note that these words do not all mean the same thing.

CLEANING is the process of removing grease, dirt, debris & dust off of a surface.

SANITIZING is the process of disinfecting a surface according agency guidelines.

DISINFECT is to use a chemical to rid a surface of organisms

When cleaning a surface, it is important to remember that it is a two-step process. Eliminate one step and it renders the other ineffective. If you don't CLEAN before DISINFECTING you're going to leave behind a lot of debris which could be carrying bacteria still and of course CLEANING does not mean you are SANITIZING a surface.

First you must CLEAN which means taking a soap solution or all purpose cleaner to a surface to wipe away the grease, dirt, dust or debris. After CLEANING you can proceed to SANITIZE the surface with a chemical DISINFECTANT to eliminate any harmful organisms.

Another important step to remember is HOW LONG you let the product saturate the surface. If you don't give the product enough time to do its job, you're not truly disinfecting a surface.

In order to properly use a chemical disinfectant, you have to really wet the surface with the product & let it sit for anywhere between 3-5 or sometimes even up to 10 minutes. If it starts to dry you have to re-wet the surface. This is why disinfecting wipes can spread bacteria rather than eliminate them as it doesn't let the product sit wet on the surface long enough to eliminate bacteria. If you're using wipes you must rewet the surface to make sure the surface remains really wet for how ever long the product recommends. After that it can be left to air dry.

Also make sure you are catching other points of contact such as commonly touched door jams, railings, backs of chairs, light switches, the condiment holders on tabletops and also non-slip mats at the end of the day.

When training an employee to 'clean up' after a guest has left, it is important to emphasis the difference and make sure instructions on your disinfectant chemicals are properly followed.

We appreciate all that everyone is doing to do their part to prevent the spread of the COVID-19 virus. We're all in this together & we want to do what we can to be of value to you during this time. For other products that can help improve your sanitation practices please give us a call - we are here for you!


#PACRIMREPSHI #sanitation #clean #sanitize #disinfect #hawaii #foodservice

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