How to Properly Clean and Disinfect Food Premises

Many of us have seen it happen, someone wipes down a surface with nothing more than a dishrag and gets to work making a meal.



Bridget Houlihan


Jan 21, 2021

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Many of us have seen it happen, someone wipes down a surface with nothing more than a dishrag and gets to work making a meal.  We might let this slide in our own kitchens, but we certainly don’t expect this to happen in a commercial kitchen. Whether you are shopping for commercial cleaning services in Miami or just trying to break your own bad habits, we are going to discuss some tips that will help make sure your food space is not the breeding ground for food borne illness.


First and foremost is hand-washing, even when wearing gloves.  You need to wash your hands even before grabbing gloves. Straight from the CDC, they state, “Germs from unwashed hands can get into foods and drinks while people prepare or consume them. Germs can multiply in some types of foods or drinks, under certain conditions, and make people sick.”  These same germs can be moved from surface to surface, including the outside of your gloves if you don’t wash your hands first. Once your hands are washed and your gloves are on, take care to understand that germs can still be spread with those gloves if you touch contaminated surfaces and then move onto clean surfaces. 

Top to Bottom

One tip is to start from top to bottom. Make sure that any cleaning is started at the highest spot.  If you happen to start on your food prep surface, which is usually at approximately waist level, and then clean anything above that surface, dirt and germs can fall from the higher section and contaminate the surface just cleaned and disinfected.  This means that your floor is going to be the last spot to clean and disinfect.

Disinfect Process Steps

In the same sense that to properly clean and disinfect you need to work from top to bottom, there is also an ordered process to follow when properly disinfecting.  The process is rinse, clean, rinse, then disinfect. If hiring a commercial cleaning service in Miami, ask them about their cleaning and disinfecting process. If their process isn’t along those lines of rinse, clean, rinse, then disinfect, you may want to consider another company. Cleaning and disinfecting isn’t as simple as wiping a surface and spraying some disinfectant.

Food-Safe Chemicals

Since we are specifically speaking about food premises here, it needs to be stated that any chemicals that you use to clean or disinfect need to be food-safe. It doesn’t make sense to disinfect a food preparation surface and prevent food borne illness if your chemicals are just as dangerous! Although this United States Department of Agriculture list is for equipment in organic operations, it is a good resource to know what detergents and sanitizers are safe for food contact surfaces.


Our eyes and noses are not able to detect germs, so you may be wondering how you can tell if a surface was properly disinfected. The easiest way to determine this, without doing microbiological testing, is to check for residue. A properly disinfected surface will not contain any residue. This residue can be either organic or chemical, but residue means it was not properly completed.


To recap, wash your hands, work top down, follow the proper process, use food-safe cleaning and disinfecting chemicals, and check for residue. If you do all these when working to clean and disinfect your food premises, you will be preventing food borne illness. Preventing food borne illness is the main goal for any commercial cleaning service in Miami and should be the main goal in your own kitchen.

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