Cleanliness is nothing new to the food service industry. It can make or break a business on a normal day. But with the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, cleanliness is on everybody’s mind. As the time comes for on-premise dining to return in many parts of the world, cleaning efforts need to be increased. As you reopen your doors, how do you help protect your customers, yourself, and your staff against dangerous pathogens? Luckily, we’re here to help. Vital Oxide is registered with the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) as a hospital-grade disinfectant and kills 99.9% of viruses and bacteria on surfaces. It’s also on the EPA’s list of disinfectants approved for use against SARS-CoV-2, the coronavirus that causes the disease COVID-19.
In a restaurant, there are three levels of cleaning: cleaning, sanitizing, and disinfecting. Here’s a quick roundup of what these three steps mean:
Cleaning physically removes dust, dirt, crumbs, food residue, spills, stains, and other unwanted debris from surfaces. It’s important to note that cleaning does not kill pathogens. Cleaning products are not registered with the EPA and cannot make public health claims on their labels about killing germs or about having any antimicrobial action.
Cleaning should always come before sanitizing and/or disinfecting.
Examples of cleaning in a food service environment include:
- Wiping down tabletops, chairs, and menus to clear off crumbs, spills, and smudges
- Dusting lighting fixtures
- Wiping down kitchen work surfaces
- Sweeping floors
- Scrubbing dishes, glasses, pots and pans with soap and water
- Washing the kitchen floor mats
- Wiping spills and splatters off the kitchen walls
One of the biggest challenges of running a busy restaurant is keeping it sparkling clean. With a multitude of activities happening all the time, regular cleaning can seem overwhelming if you don't have a system in place. To ensure that your restaurant is properly cleaned, create a cleaning checklist that includes daily, monthly, and annual cleaning projects.
For a good example of a cleaning checklist, check out Perfect Clean’s Industrial Kitchen Cleaning Checklist here.
Sanitizing follows cleaning and helps to reduce the number of microorganisms (such as bacteria and viruses) to levels deemed safe by public health authorities. Sanitizing is an effective preventative practice since it inhibits the growth of harmful bacteria and reduces the number of germs on a surface.
Some of the food-prep surfaces that should be sanitized multiple times a day include:
- Cutting boards
- Countertops, prep-tables, work surfaces
- Food contact equipment (can openers, slicers, grinders, mixers, etc.)
- Dishes and utensils
- Refrigeration units
- Beverage and ice equipment
Food-safe sanitizers can be used on any surfaces that come into contact with food. Designated by NSF International as a “no rinse required” food contact surface sanitizer, Vital Oxide is a versatile multi-purpose solution that can be used full strength, or diluted for multiple applications. Vital Oxide kills 99.999% of bacteria, including e Coli, Salmonella, and Listeria in less than 60 seconds. You can read Vital Oxide’s guidelines for sanitizing commercial food preparation areas here.
Disinfectants kill bacteria and viruses on hard, non-porous surfaces. The EPA currently recognizes disinfecting as the most effective way to kill viruses like the novel coronavirus SARS-CoV-2, so it’s important that you not only clean surfaces and high-touch points, but also regularly disinfect them. We’re proud to offer an EPA-registered disinfectant that kills 99.9% of viruses and bacteria and is on the EPA’s List N as a disinfectant approved for use against the novel coronavirus, SARS-CoV-2. Vital Oxide is currently being used in restaurants across the globe to help combat against SARS-CoV-2 and other harmful pathogens.
Key surfaces and high-touch points to disinfect multiple times a day (or ideally, between uses) include:
- POS systems, keyboards
- Doorknobs, railings, light switches
- Bathroom surfaces (faucets, sinks, toilets, etc.)
- Chairs, stools, benches, etc.
- Highchairs and booster seats
- Takeout stations
- Drink machines
- Condiment and napkin holders
In cases where more frequent disinfection of surfaces results in possible buildup of dry disinfectant residue, a wipe down with a moist towel or microfiber cloth of surfaces that come into contact with clothing (chairs, stools, benches, etc.) will prevent any possible discoloration of fabrics.
Five Steps to Effectively Clean & Sanitize
Now that you understand the difference between these three actions, here are five steps to effectively clean, sanitize, and disinfect the customer-friendly areas of your restaurant.
Extra Measures to Take
Implementing cleaning and disinfection protocols as well a workplace health and safety plan for your establishment is important, especially during the ongoing pandemic. When putting together these plans, carefully consider what kinds of chemicals you want to use around your staff and customers. Most cleaning products and disinfectants on the market are extremely toxic and have harsh fumes. Vital Oxide doesn’t pack the toxic downside of so many conventional disinfectants. Instead, you can have peace of mind knowing that you’re using an effective product that does not come with any alarming safety warnings or precautions. It’s also odorless; Vital Oxide won’t alter the taste of food on sanitized surfaces or fill your restaurant with noxious fumes. With Vital Oxide, you no longer need to use harsh chemicals that increase Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) in your environment.
Additional Resources for Restaurants
- Before Coming to Work
- Hand Washing 101
- Cleaning vs. Sanitizing
- EPA's N-List of Disinfectants Approved to Kill SARS-CoV-2
- National Restaurant Association’s Coronavirus Information and Resources
During this unpredictable time in our history, each community is finding its way through tough times. The common goal of restaurants is to protect their employees and patrons from this terrible disease, and to continue running their business. By pulling together and sharing prevention tips with each other, we will see normalcy return. At Vital Oxide, we’re grateful to be able to help during this global health crisis by providing homes, schools, and all kinds of workplaces – including restaurants – with a disinfectant product that kills 99.9% of viruses and bacteria.
Learn more about the science behind our product, as well as tons of great tips on cleaning, disinfecting, and more. If you have any questions, please Contact Us or Send Us a Message on Facebook. We’re all in this together and we’re here to help.