The food safety pillars

How Important Is Cleaning And Sanitising In The Kitchen?

The basic cleaning step in a kitchen revolves around cleaning and sanitising during the day and between various tasks. Cleaning and sanitising is one of the key ways to prevent bacteria from getting into foods. During which tasks is it important to clean and sanitise?

These tasks include :

  • Raw and ready-to-eat food preparation
  • Cleaning tasks
  • Leaving your work station

This is commonly known as clean as you go.

Below are the steps to be followed when implementing cleaning and sanitising :

  • Remove excess dirt or grease
  • Spray on a multi-purpose cleaner
  • Wipe off with a clean material cloth
  • Spray on a sanitiser
  • Allow a sufficient contact time (3 – 5 minutes)
  • Wipe off with paper towel

Below is a link to a video showing how to clean and sanitise tables (clean as you go) :


This is the only proven method to remove dirt and kill bacteria. These steps need to be followed in the order set out, such that bacteria cannot hide behind dirt and grease, allowing a good contact time for the sanitiser to be effective.

Areas such as tables, cutting boards, slicers and  blenders are all items that should have clean as you go procedures in place.

Using an approved supplier is also critical to the cleaning process. Chemicals, especially sanitisers should be registered and tested against your local or international standards. The sanitiser must be correctly diluted (ideally with an automatic dispenser), placed in a spray bottle with the nozzles adjusted to emit a fine mist.

Chemicals should also be correctly labelled at all times. The best chemical suppliers will also have various colours to easily distinguish the different chemicals during the clean as you go process.

Some suppliers have a 2-in-1 cleaner/disinfectant and advocate a 1-step Cleaning and Sanitising procedure. However be aware of this, as international best practice dictates a 2-step cleaning and sanitising. This would mean spraying the same chemical twice, once to clean and again to sanitise.

cleaning and sanitising Regardless of the sanitiser used, it is extremely important to physically clean a surface before sanitising. This ensures that dirt and grease are removed, as bacteria can ‘hide’ behind these and discourage the sanitation process. It is also important to remember that the use of a clean material cloth must be used to do the cleaning, because the physical action of scrubbing is almost more effective in removing bacteria than the sanitiser.

The contact time for the sanitiser on a surface is also important, so be wary or suppliers who promise very short periods for sanitising, 3 – 5 minutes is reported as being the most effective.

Cleaning and sanitising is distinctly different from the way we would deep clean the kitchen. Check out our article on deep cleaning in the kitchen.  We also have a deep cleaning schedule available for download.

 What are the food safety pillars?

For more information on the food safety pillars check the ebook on Amazon.

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