Depending on the size and type of food service location or commercial kitchen, the number of cleaning solutions used to maintain the facility can be considerable. For instance, degreasers are invariably used to clean floors, walls, metalwork if there is a heavy buildup, and other areas. All-purpose cleaners are used just about anywhere and everywhere. Solutions to clean and polish stainless steel are always needed.
Further, many food service locations have very specific needs, such as selecting cleaning-related products to keep drains running smoothly, spot removers to clean carpets, and if they fully clean their own carpet, cleaning solutions made just for this purpose.
But there are two more cleaning solutions that are used in virtually every food service location. They are not designed to make surfaces look cleaner or shiner. They are designed to help make surfaces healthier, more hygienically clean, by eliminating or minimizing the number of pathogens—germs, bacteria, viruses, and other contaminants—on a surface that could possibly cause illness.
These two ubiquitous products are sanitizers and disinfectants. In many ways, we can view them as we did penicillin and other antibiotics when they were first introduced. Discovered in 1928, penicillin was labeled as one of the first “miracle drugs” ever created. And in some ways, sanitizers and disinfectants are “miracle” cleaning solutions because of their ability to attack pathogens. However, just like penicillin, it was learned over time that if these cleaning products are not used properly and safely, their benefits can be cut short—something we cannot allow to happen in any facility, and certainly not in a food service location.
Although some countries may define sanitizers and disinfectants differently, the following are the two most commonly accepted views of sanitizers and disinfectants in Canada and the U.S.