Things You Need To Know about Sanitizing Your Utensils

Proper sanitization, disinfection, and cleaning of kitchen tools and equipment are essential for food safety. Poor sanitization of the kitchen and the tools lead to food poisoning and illnesses. Sanitation goes beyond by simply washing your hands or the tools. Some sneaky germs and bacteria may lurk in areas where it is hard to reach.

Several studies have found that serious illnesses occur when a person ingests bacteria like E.coli or virus even with just a little amount. According to The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, contamination of food is one of the five leading causes of foodborne illness. The Food Code encourages people to clean and sanitize food-contact surfaces and utensils regularly. 

But how can you achieve a clean and sanitary kitchen?

What is effective cleaning?

Effective cleaning is a process that removes dirt, grease, and grime as well as effectively destroying the food-borne disease pathogens. It extends beyond cleaning the utensils and equipment and includes maintaining the cleanliness of the area as well. The first thing to do is to identify the areas and tools that need cleaning and applying appropriate methods to clean and sanitize them. Detergent residues must be removed completely as they neutralize the sanitizers.

What are the 6 stages of cleaning?

Cleaning undergoes 6 stages to effectively remove dirt and bacteria in kitchen tools and equipment. The six stages are: pre-clean, main clean, rinse, disinfect/sanitize, final rinse, and dry. 

The first stage involves removing excess food waste and particles by scraping and rinsing. The second stage, where the main cleaning happens, involves removing grease and loosening surface waste with detergent and agitation. The first rinse is to remove loose food waste, grease, and detergent before sanitizing/disinfecting happens. The next stage is to sanitize the tools and equipment with a chemical solution or heat. Disinfect them with a disinfecting solution. The fifth stage is the final rinse to remove the sanitizing solution or disinfectant. Lastly, the last stage is drying to remove all moisture. The ideal method for drying is air-drying but you can use paper towels to dry the utensils.


How do you sanitize?

Sanitizing is the process of reducing bacteria to a safe level. It is nearly impossible to eradicate germs 100% but sanitizing regularly can reduce your risk of bacterial exposure.

 Before sanitizing and disinfecting your kitchen utensils, it is important to clean them first, which means removing visible dirt on the surface. Experts recommend using clean dishcloths instead of sponges since bacteria tend to live in grimy sponges. 

Sanitizing may include chemicals like the chemical solution or high heat. Sanitation is important to make sure that the germs are destroyed and prevent foodborne illnesses. Washing a kitchen item with soap and water is not enough to kill the germs. 

Most public places are prone to spreading viruses and germs in the vicinity which is why they sanitize their premise regularly. Your home should be sanitized as well. This is where you live, where you eat, where you sleep. You spend most of the hours of your day in your own home, thus, you must sanitize and disinfect regularly to prevent exposure and the risk of spreading germs and viruses.

Sanitizing can be done in two methods: chemical solution or high heat. 

Chlorine bleach solution is the most common chemical solution used to sanitize. In a chlorine bleach solution, kitchen items are soaked in the solution of 1 tablespoon of chlorine bleach and 1 gallon of cool water. Use unscented chlorine bleach to avoid the pungent smell of bleach. Some bleach solutions do not sanitize especially the scented ones. Also, hot water stops the sanitizing properties of bleach so use cool water for this solution. Check the bleach label before purchasing them. According to The Food Code, chemical sanitizers must be capable to reduce the number of harmful organisms that cause diseases by 99.999%. 

For the hot water method, the kitchen items are soaked in hot water in 170 degrees Fahrenheit for at least 30 seconds. 

How about surfaces?

The same method but the chemical solution method is commonly used on surfaces. Use ¼ teaspoon and 1-quart cool water in the solution. Food contact surfaces must be in a dry sanitary condition before using them.

The surfaces and utensils must be thoroughly dried before using them. In drying the items or surfaces, avoid using a cloth or towel to dry them. The best option is to air-dry them. When you use utensils regularly, you must clean and sanitize them as necessary.

What are the two methods to properly sanitize dirty dishware?

The two sanitizing methods used to properly sanitize dishware are chemical solution method and hot water method. Bleach solution must be safe and adequate to use so check the label before using them. Keep in mind that not all bleach solutions are sanitizers.

How do you clean and sanitize kitchen tools and equipment?

Cleaning and sanitizing the kitchen, including the tools and equipment used, can keep you and your family safe from food contamination. Cleaning and sanitizing are not enough—you must clean them properly and thoroughly! 

Kitchen tools and equipment and even surfaces should be kept clean and sanitized regularly since this is the area where you prepare food. 

The ideal time to clean your kitchen tools and equipment is as soon as you finish using them to reduce the risk of spreading the bacteria. In cleaning kitchen tools and equipment, the first thing you have to do is scrape any food remnants into a bin. Use warm to hot water and an antibacterial detergent to wash the tools using a dishcloth. If you wish to use a sponge (though this may not be the best option), replace them as necessary to prevent spreading the bacteria in the kitchen tools. Scrub the kitchenware thoroughly, removing every bit of food remnant and every hard-to-reach surfaces. Leave the items in a rack to air-dry them.

To sanitize kitchen tools and equipment, you can use either the chemical solution (1 tbsp of bleach + 1 gallon of cool water) or hot water and soak them for a few minutes and rinse them afterward.

For equipment that cannot be submerged in a sink or soaked, you should follow the instructions for cleaning according to manufacturer specifications.

There are also sanitizing hacks that you could apply if you want to ditch the chemical solution method. Some people use vinegar or hydrogen peroxide to sanitize their kitchen tools and equipment. They heat white vinegar in a saucepan and pour them in a spray bottle to spray on the kitchen tools for sanitizing.
Cleaning, sanitizing, and disinfecting should not be applied to kitchen tools and equipment only. Your storage cabinets and drawers should also be thoroughly cleaned and sanitized as well. Spray a bit of sanitizing solution in them and wipe them with a clean, dry dishcloth. Also, do not store your kitchen tools when they have not completely dried to avoid moisture where bacteria grows.

How do you sanitize food equipment?

Cleaning is defined as a process to remove any dirt, grime, and other particles to make it “clean to touch and free of extraneous visible matter and objectionable odor.” Cleanliness refers to the state where there is “no accumulation of garbage, recycled matter, food waste, dirt, grease, and other visible matter.” 

Sanitizing comes after cleaning since sanitizers won’t work if the tool or surface is not thoroughly cleaned with detergent and water. Detergents are chemicals that are used to remove dirt and grease but cannot kill bacteria and other microorganisms. Sanitizing is required to kill the bacteria, not only to remove them.

On the other hand, sanitary is defined as a condition of a food contact surface or utensil where it contains microorganism on a safe level that transmission of infectious disease or food contamination would be possible. 

It is important to use sanitizers properly to ensure safety. Some sanitizers contain toxic chemicals that are harmful when ingested so the residue must be rinsed off completely. Chlorine dioxide is food-safe and does not require sensing. The trick in using sanitizing solution is in the dilution. It must not be too weak or too strong to work effectively. Always follow the manufacturer’s instruction in using sanitizing solutions.


Solvent cleaners also help in removing grease in surfaces and tools. Apply solvent cleaners on food equipment and surfaces with grease or where grease is burned on. Do not let grease to linger on the surfaces and equipment.

What are the three steps needed to effectively clean and sanitize utensils?

It is important to effectively clean and sanitize utensils and is achievable. The three steps include cleaning by scraping food waste and washing them with detergent and water, sanitizing with either high heat or chemical solution, and finally, drying in a draining rack.


Which of the following can be used to sanitize eating utensils?

Sanitizing utensils may either use chemical solution with 1 tablespoon of chlorine bleach and 1 gallon of water. Or with high heat by submerging them in boiling water. You can also use vinegar and hydrogen peroxide to sanitize eating utensils. The most common method, however, is submerging them in hot water.


How do you disinfect a spoon?

Disinfecting is the method where you wipe surfaces clean and wiping them with a disinfecting solution. Disinfecting is better in killing germs than sanitizing. Any items that have direct contact with food or with the hands of food handlers must be disinfected regularly. Silverware is usually disinfected by boiling them in water for about ten minutes. Chemical solutions are not ideal for disinfecting silverware since bleach reacts with many metals and may darken the utensils.
Disinfecting wooden spoons is different from metal spoons. Soaking wooden spoons in water is not ideal since wood expands in water. The spoons are immersed in a bowl with warm water and a few drops of liquid dish soap and scrub it with a nylon pad. Removing grease and remnants of food should be done thoroughly to effectively sanitize and disinfect the spoon. Rinse the spoons well under warm water and let them dry. To sanitize a wooden spoon, lay them flat on a flat surface and pour 3 percent of hydrogen peroxide over them. Let it sit for fifteen minutes and rinse the spoons. 

Are our wooden spoons sanitary?

Wooden utensils are essential cooking tools that are used in the kitchen for centuries because they are sturdy and visually pleasing. Wooden spoons are commonly used for tossing. This useful kitchen tool is usually used in non-stick pans as it prevents scratches. However, avoid using wooden spoons in stirring foods that are common sources of food poisoning such as raw meats and eggs. Wooden spoons are susceptible to musty odor when exposed to moisture so you have to clean them with dish soap and a teaspoon of baking soda.

When you spot cracks in wooden spoons, you have to throw them away since dried food particles and bacteria will grow in those cracks thus increasing your exposure to food contamination. The cracks may be caused by exposure to extreme temperature like putting them in the dishwasher, excess moisture after washing or naturally drying them out. Wipe your wooden spoons with a dry dishcloth and let them air-dry before storing them.
Just a little TLC for wooden spoons, they are sanitary as metal spoons. Wooden spoons can get rough, worn down, fuzzy, or stained. Sandpaper or steel wool can smoothen the wooden spoons. It is also important to rub an ample amount of food-grade mineral oil. To prevent cracks from forming apply mineral oil to wooden spoons monthly. Use paper towels instead of dishcloth to prevent bacteria from spreading.

Is it OK to put wooden spoons in the dishwasher?

Dishwashers are not friendly with wooden spoons. The wooden spoons can war or crack because of the heat and the detergent in the dishwasher. Dirty water in the dishwasher can also cause an odor in your wooden spoons as it can penetrate the wood. Dishwashers can also raise grains in wood because of long exposure to water, heat, and detergent. Grains may appear in the first few washes but they disappear after several washes. The lacquer of the wood used for finishing is prone to peeling in the dishwasher.


Does boiling sterilize?

Items are like baby bottles, pacifiers, and utensils are commonly sterilized by boiling them in water to destroy harmful microorganisms. The items must be thoroughly cleaned before sterilizing them in a pot of boiling water.

Does boiling kill bacteria?

Some people may be too sensitive in using chemical solutions to kill bacteria that they opt for sanitizing them in hot water. But is it effective? 

Hot water does kill bacteria but not as much as you expect. Hot water, together with detergent, fights oils and grime that can contain bacteria. Detergents are less effective without hot water. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) suggests that moist heat is the most effective way to sterilize needles because of its ability to kill microorganisms. However, boiling is not enough to kill heat-resistant bacteria such as endospores. Heat destroys the structural components and essential life processes of viruses, bacteria, protozoa, and other pathogens. You have to boil water in 212 degrees Fahrenheit or 100 degrees Celsius for at least 10 minutes to effectively remove a significant amount of bacteria. Bacteria are the fastest pathogens to die in a pot of water in 65 degrees Celcius in 1 minute. When the water reaches its boiling point, it would most likely pasteurize and eliminate all the pathogens which could harm you. Pasteurization is the process of eliminating pathogens that can harm a human.


Reasons why need to sanitize kitchenware

A messy, greasy kitchen may harbor bacteria and germs and lead to food contamination and bacterial exposure. This environment is most likely to cause foodborne illnesses in the family. Clean kitchenware, equipment, and surfaces also keep pests like rats, ants, and cockroaches away.



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