When Is It Essential To Clean And Sanitize A Utensil

When is it essential to clean and sanitize a utensil? All utensils should be cleaned regularly but it is essential after coming into contact with raw meats or having been placed in someones’ mouth. Fork, spoons, and knives are all important for eating an putting food in our bodies, but you need to be careful that it’s only food you’re putting in your mouth. Contaminated eating utensils and other kitchen utensils can lead to serious illness that could make you very ill, even bad enough that you have to go to the hospital. While cleaning and sanitizing you kitchen utensils can be a pain, so can getting sick, so which one would you rather have: one with or without medical bills? If you picked the latter, here are some proper ways and times for when to clean and sanitize a utensil.

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When and how to clean the utensil

Kitchen utensils are more than just spoons, forks, and knives; they can be different utensils such as pizza cutters and baking equipment. Each utensil has various needs to be met in order to make them as clean and sanitary as possible. So let’s break down what some cleaning processes are for kitchen utensils.

  1. The Basic Process

The basic process focuses on your basic cutlery: knives, spoons, forks, and plates. Basically anything that you sit down and use in a meal. This process is the easiest as all you have to do is rinse the utensils you’ve used with water and soap and then dry when you’re done. This process should be completed within a day as most dishes begin collecting bacteria as soon as you are done using them. According to a study at Ohio University, when left at room temperature, bacteria can double in number in as little as twenty minutes. So the sooner you get to cleaning and sanitizing those utensils, the better.

  1. Removing the Parts

The next cleaning and sanitation process is the removing the parts process. This part is all about focusing on using those utensils that have detachable parts. For example, when you’re whipping up a delicious batch of cookies, most people use an electric beater to help them mix all the ingredients together in order to make them clean. If not taken care of properly, those detachable parts can become a breeding ground for bacteria to grow and thrive, thus increasing the damage to your health and the chances of you getting sick.

The best practice for this step is the same as the basic, clean and sanitize your dishes as soon as possible. But, take it a step further to examine all the equipment to make sure that all the equipment is properly clean. Examine any machines for any food that got flung into nooks and crevices and get those out to avoid dangerous bacteria.

What to clean with

Now the processes involve more than just quickly rinsing and drying the utensils, they also need the proper cleaning agents. According to a food safety guide by North Carolina State University Associate Professor/Food Safety Specialist Angela M. Fraser. most cleaning agents are divided into four categories: detergents, solvent cleaners, abrasive cleaners, and acid cleaners.

  • Detergents – You should routinely use detergents to wash your utensils. Some examples of detergents are dishwashing and automatic dishwasher detergents.
  • Solvent cleaners – Use periodically on utensils such as pans where grease has burned on. Solvent cleaners are often called degreasers..
  • Abrasive cleaners — These cleaners help battle heavy accumulations that are difficult to remove with detergents. Some abrasive cleaners also disinfect.
  • Acid cleaners — Use periodically on messes that detergents cannot remove. Be careful not to use it too often as it can damage your utensils if they are made of stainless steel. 

The Best Clean

Along with the sanitizers, there are other things to keep in mind. Fraser’s food guide states there are three components that contribute to getting the best effectiveness out of sanitizers: heat, concentration, and contact time. If you want to get the best clean, you should understand how these factors influence how well a sanitizer performs. Let’s dive into each component.

  1. Heat

Heat is one of the most part of the cleaning and sanitation process because it helps the sanitizer work optimally. The best temperature for santizers to work is between 55 and 120 degrees Fahrenheit, or 12 to 49 degrees Celsius, according to the Fraser. Make sure to read the labeling on each sanitizer and soap to see if there are any temperature requirements before you start cleaning and not to hurt your hands or other body parts with hot water.

  1. Concentration

Concentration looks at the amount of sanitizer that is need to properly clean utensils. Be careful with how much you use as too little won’t have much of an impact, while too much can create a toxic and dangerous amount of sanitizer. Again, be sure to follow any instructions provided on any sanitizer product to ensure that you are using it correctly.

  1. Contact Time

Cleaning utensils can be frustrating: you just had a hopefully good meal and want to kick back and relax, maybe watch some T.V. or go on social media, but instead you have to dedicate your precious time towards a menial task that can be infuriatingly slow. But, your patience will be rewarded as the more contact time your dishes have with a sanitizer, the less harmful substances there will be on the utensils. Be sure to check the directions on your sanitizer to find out how long it should be in contact with the utensil to make it as clean and as sanitary as possible.

Wrapping Up:

When Is It Essential To Clean And Sanitize A Utensil

When is it essential to clean and sanitize a utensil? ASAP. Although cleaning and sanitizing utensils can be tough, it is highly worth it to start early if you want to stay healthy. From using the best cleaning and sanitation processes, to knowing what to use to make sure your utensils are clean and sanitized as possible, these will keep your utensils and you healthy to enjoy more meals in the future.

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