Categories

Menu

Sanitizers & Detergents - What's the Difference?

Sanitizers & Detergents - What's the Difference?

Sanitizers and detergent are both used in cleaning restaurants, but there are distinct differences between the two of them and when to use them. A key part of food safety is knowing these differences and which situations to use sanitizer and detergent will help keep your kitchen clean and prevent cross-contamination.

What’s the difference between detergents and sanitizers?

The major difference between detergents and sanitizers is that a sanitizer kills 99.9% of pathogenic bacteria–meaning it reduces bacteria to a safe level. Detergents remove dirt, food waste, and grease

Important things to remember:

  • To kill or reduce pathogenic bacteria to a safe level, items and equipment must be sanitized after having been cleaned with a detergent.
  • A sanitizer must be used AFTER cleaning with a detergent, since a sanitizer cannot remove grease and dirt.
  • The sanitizer must also be left on the surface long enough to work properly; this is called the 'contact time' (always check the manufacturer’s instructions).

Remember, a detergent removes dirt, food waste and grease—a sanitizer kills pathogenic bacteria.

What should you clean with detergent?

Detergents should be used to clean the following:

  • Floors
  • Walls
  • Storage shelves
  • Garbage containers

These are surfaces that may have dirt, food waste, and grease that must be removed before sanitizing.

What should you sanitize?

The items that you need to sanitize depend on their use and if they come into contact with food. Rule of thumb is if they come into contact with hands or food, sanitize them to prevent cross-contamination.

Hand contact surfaces:

Hand contact surfaces include anything that is frequently touched by your hands.

  • Handles
  • Doors
  • Coolers and freezers
  • Drawers
  • Faucets
  • Switches
  • For front of house, sanitize the order tablets

Food contact surfaces:

Be sure to sanitize any surface that comes into contact with raw or high-risk foods. These will include:

  • Cutting boards, preparation tables, and work surfaces
  • Knives, tongs, and other utensils
  • Containers, pots, and pans
  • Food processing machinery such as slicers, mixers, and meat grinders

Wiping cloths

You also need to sanitize wiping cloths as they are a major source of cross-contamination. Make sure to replace wiping cloths often.

Key Takeaways

  • To kill or reduce pathogenic bacteria to a safe level, items and equipment must be sanitized after having been cleaned with a detergent.
  • A sanitizer must be used AFTER cleaning with a detergent, because a sanitizer cannot remove grease and dirt.
  • The sanitizer must also be left on the surface long enough to work properly; this is called the 'contact time' (always check the manufacturer’s instructions).

Watch our quick two minute video for more information on when to use sanitizer and detergent. And learn more about keeping your kitchen clean and prevent cross-contamination by taking our food handlers training course.

Leave your comment