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Correct Steps for Cleaning & Sanitizing Utensils by Hand

Jennifer L. Betts
washing cutlery by hand

What is the correct order of steps for cleaning and sanitizing utensils by hand? It might not be something you think about if you have a dishwasher. However, after a disaster like a flood, you need to know the correct steps to cleaning utensils to ensure all dirt and pathogens are gone. Learn how to clean and sanitize kitchen utensils the right way.

Cleaning and Sanitizing Kitchen Utensils Made of Plastic and Enamelware

When it comes to cleaning and sanitizing kitchen utensils made of plastic and enamelware, you can use a bleach mixture to ensure all those little germies are gone. To sanitize these types of utensils by hand, you need:

  • Dish soap (Dawn preferred)

  • Bleach or peroxide

  • Scrubber or brush

  • Gloves

Cleaning Utensils With Bleach

  1. Scrap any food or particles that you can from the utensils.

  2. Fill a sink with hot water and a few squirts of Dawn.

  3. Allow the utensils to soak for five or so minutes.

  4. Use the scrub brush or scrubber to scrub all the debris from the utensils.

  5. Drain the sink and fill it with hot water.

  6. To sanitize, add two tablespoons of bleach.

  7. Allow the utensils to sit in the bleach water for ten or so minutes.

  8. Drain and rinse the utensils in hot water.

  9. Allow to air dry.

One cup of hydrogen peroxide can be substituted if bleach is not available.

Cleaning Utensils Made of Metal

If you don't want to use bleach or have metal utensils, you don't want to use bleach. In this instance, you want to use boiling water. According to the Health Department, you want to immerse utensils into hot water of at least 171 degrees but no more than 200 degrees to sanitize utensils. For this cleaning and sanitizing kitchen utensils of metal, you need:

  • Pot for boiling

  • Thermometer

  • Dish soap

  • Scrub brush

  • Gloves

Sanitizing Kitchen Utensils of Metal

  1. Fill a pot with a gallon of water and bring it to a boil.

  2. Remove any large dirt and particles from the utensils.

  3. Fill the sink with hot soapy water, using the scrub brush as necessary.

  4. Drain the sink.

  5. Use the thermometer to check the temperature of the water.

  6. Pour the 171-degree water over the utensils.

  7. Allow them to sit for at least a minute.

  8. Carefully, due to the boiling water, drain the sink.

  9. Allow the utensils to air dry.

Washing kitchen ware in clear water

Why Wash and Sanitize Kitchen Utensils?

Even if you don't own a restaurant, it's essential to keep your utensils clean and sanitized to ensure no one in your house gets sick. However, there are certain times that you want to ensure you clean utensils.

  • After large gatherings or continuous use

  • When they've been packed away or sitting for a long time

  • After a natural disaster, flood, or mold infestation

Factors That Influence Sanitizing

When you are sanitizing your utensils, there are a few things you need to consider. For example, if using a chemical sanitizer, it is vital to use the right concentration to be effective according to the Center of Disease Control. Other issues to consider include:

  • The hardness of your water - This can affect the sanitizing agents.

  • Contact time - It's crucial to ensure the utensils soak for the required amount of time.

  • Temperature - This is especially true for heat sanitation.

What's the Difference Between Washing and Sanitizing?

You might think that washing and sanitizing are the same thing, but they are different. Washing means that you remove food particles and crud from your utensils. However, this doesn't mean that you're killing the germs. This is where sanitizing comes in. Sanitizing is where heat or a sanitizing agent, like bleach, are used to kill the germs to an acceptable level.

What Is the Correct Order of Steps for Cleaning and Sanitizing Utensils by Hand?

When sanitizing your utensils for any reason, you want to make sure you do it in the correct order. You wouldn't want to sanitize utensils with food still on there. Therefore, you want to clean the utensils of any food or particles before you start using a heat or chemical sanitizer.

Correct Steps for Cleaning & Sanitizing Utensils by Hand