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    Restaurants | 3 min read

    What Sanitizer Should Restaurants Use to Fight Coronavirus?

    Here at Workstream, we aim to provide you with the information you’ll need to survive the tough times ahead caused by the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. We’ve talked about the best loan options, potential food delivery service partners, restaurant safety protocols and guidelines - and today we’ll touch on the different kinds of sanitizers available.

    In a recent study conducted by scientists from the National Institutes of Health, the coronavirus has been found to survive on plastic and stainless steel for up to 72 hours. This finding makes it absolutely critical that all contact surfaces in a restaurant be properly sanitized, in order to kill off pathogens and limit transmission. Also, according to the FDA’s Food Code, contaminated equipment is one of the major risk factors that contribute to foodborne illness.

    Sanitizing Process

    It’s important to note that there is a proper multi-step process to best sanitize dishes and equipment.


    The five-step process is as follows:

    1. Pre-clean

      Scrape off all particles (or food “soil”) from the surface of your tools and equipment. Oils or grease can actually prevent sanitizers from effectively cleaning your equipment.

    2. Wash

      Soak and wash in the first compartment of your restaurant sink for at least 30 seconds. Water must be at least at least 171˚F (77˚C), or you can run items through a high-temperature dishwasher. 
    3. Rinse

      Move equipment to the second compartment of your sink and rinse them off with clean, warm water. If using the dipping method, make sure to replace the water often. 
    4. Sanitize

      Clean with a combination of water and chemical sanitizer. This process will help kill off up to 99% of all pathogens. 
    5. Dry

      Let your equipment and tools air-dry. Do not pat or wipe dry as the cleaning aids you will use may transfer pathogens once again if not sanitized properly.

    Types of Sanitizers

    There are many different kinds of chemical sanitizer out there - and yes, not all of them are created equal. There are sanitizers that cannot be used on food-contact surfaces because they are too corrosive, too toxic, or simply too expensive for regular use. Here’s a breakdown of the three most common types used in restaurants, and some of the pros and cons for each

    • Effective against a wide variety of microorganisms
    • Non-staining
    • Relatively inexpensive
    • Can irritate skin
    • Has a strong odor
    • Effectiveness decreases with higher PH of cleaning solution
    • Non-corrosive and non-irritating to skin
    • Longer shelf life
    • Not affected by water hardness
    • Relatively costly
    • May stain some surfaces
    • Less effective against bacteria (compared to chlorine)
    Quaternary Ammonium
    • Very stable, little loss of efficacy over use
    • No odor or taste residue
    • Non-corrosive and non-toxic
    • Long shelf life
    • Not compatible with many detergents
    • Not as effective against bacteriophages
    • Relatively expensive

    So how do you choose which is the best one for you? 

    • Check which sanitizers are allowed by your local regulatory authority
    • Contact suppliers and see which is the most readily available to you
    • Do your costing to determine which is more practical for your budget in the long run
    • Determine your restaurant’s specific needs and match to the most appropriate sanitizer

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    Camille Ranullo

    Part-time content marketing writer at Workstream, full-time mom and chef wannabe. Currently catching up on her reading and trying out new recipes in the kitchen.

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