Cleaning vs Sanitizing. Which should I do? Is there a difference? Are they the same? When it comes to kitchen cleaning, there is an old saying, “cleanliness is next to godliness.” This saying is very true when you are cooking. It is especially true when you are cooking for people undergoing chemotherapy. Their immune systems are suppressed. This makes them more susceptible to sickness from food. So, make certain that you thoroughly sanitize every surface in your kitchen every time you begin cooking, switch tasks, and finish cooking!
Now before I go any further, I must explain to you that there is a difference between something that is clean and something that is sanitized.
Difference between Cleaning vs Sanitizing
Clean is an aesthetic quality.
Sanitized is the state of absence of microorganisms and other contaminants.
For example, just because something looks clean, does not mean it is sanitized and germ free. Let’s say I just cut up uncooked chicken on my counter. Then, I wiped off any juice with a dry towel. The surface now looks clean, but the germs and bacteria from the uncooked chicken are still on the counter even though you can’t see them. This is actually one of the easiest ways to get food poisoning.
Another way to think about clean is to think about home design shows on HGTV. They’ll describe a brand new modern layout as having clean lines. “Clean” in this context actually refers to the minimalist qualities of that design.
Sanitary, on the other hand, is a scientific state. The ugliest and most complicated item in your home can be made sanitary. What we mean by sanitary is “free of bacteria, viruses, allergens, and dirt.”
Cleaning vs Sanitizing: How to Sanitize Your Kitchen
Now when you sanitize a surface, you are decontaminating it or killing any bacteria or germs that you can or cannot see. You sanitize by using a liquid solution that kills germs and bacteria. Everyone has their own preference. But, the point you need to take away is that it has to be a solution that kills bacteria!
This is how we do it in restaurants. We use a solution that is called sani-water (sanitized water) to wipe tables and kitchen surfaces. It is a mixture of bleach and water. It is a measurement of 1 tablespoon of bleach to one gallon of hot water. This will yield the desired 200 ppm solution. Doing something as simple as adding bleach to the water will kill all the bacteria and germs on surfaces. Just like adding chlorine to a pool prevents germs from growing in a public pool. If you want to use the bleach and water method, follow the directions on the bottle to achieve the desired results.
You must always sanitize your kitchen surfaces and wash your hands with soap and water to help prevent cross-contamination. Specifically, you must do this every time you:
1. switch tasks
2. touch raw or uncooked food