How to clean effectively in the kitchen and prevent harmful bacteria from spreading onto food.
Effective cleaning removes bacteria on hands, equipment and surfaces. This helps to stop harmful bacteria and viruses from spreading onto food.
You should wash your hands before you prepare, cook or eat food. Where possible you should wash your hands with warm soapy water.
Bacteria and viruses
You are removing harmful bacteria by cleaning with warm, soapy water or by using disinfectant cleaning products.
You should regularly clean your:
- work surfaces
- chopping boards
You are not actually killing the bacteria when you wash in this way. To kill the bacteria you need to make dezinfection.
Cleaning kitchen items
Wash or change dish cloths, tea towels, sponges and oven gloves regularly. It’s important to let them dry before you use them again. This is because dirty, damp cloths allow bacteria to breed.
Utensils and serving dishes
Take care to keep all utensils and dishes clean before preparing food. This is to avoid cross-contamination. You should use different utensils, plates and chopping boards when preparing ready-to-eat foods and raw foods that require cooking. Remember to wash them thoroughly between tasks to avoid the spread of harmful bacteria.
A wide range of products are available for cleaning and disinfection. You should read the manufacturer’s instructions carefully to ensure that the product is suitable for food surfaces and that you are using it correctly.
To effectively kill any harmful bacteria properly, you should make sure you:
- leave the cleaning product on the surface for the time specified in the instructions
read the manufacturer’s guidance to check if it needs to be diluted before use
Cleaning products will be classed as detergents, disinfectants or sanitisers.
Detergents clean the surface and remove grease, but they do not kill bacteria.
Disinfectants kill bacteria. They should be used on a visibly clean surface. They do not work effectively if the surface is covered in grease or visible dirt. It is important that you follow the specified contact times for the products to be effective.