that the cleaning agent makes contact
with the soil on the surface, to remove
soil from the surface and keep it away
from the surface. The next step is rinsing.
Thorough rinsing is essential to remove
the cleaning agent; it may also continue
the cleaning action. Drying, the third
step, removes water and volatile residue.
Cleaning processes involve TACT:
temperature, action, chemistry, and
time. In general, higher temperatures promote cleaning effectiveness. For every
10 °C increase in temperature, the reaction rate doubles. Action is the physical
force that promotes soil removal. Two
examples of action are high-pressure
spray and elbow grease. Cramer2 describes the function of the chemical
components of cleaning agents. Terms
like emulsification, saponification, peptizing
agents, and dispersive agents translate to a
host of chemical ingredients, not all of
which are listed on the safety data sheet.
The correct time is required at the wash,
rinse, and dry stages. The temptation to
decrease cleaning process time is pervasive through many industries. For this
reason, cleaning processes have to be
not only clearly defined but also documented and monitored.
More is not necessarily better. Cleaners should be used at recommended
dilutions. There have been instances
where employees have poured cleaning concentrate directly onto surfaces.
Some cleaners can be more effective at
removing soils when they are diluted.
Using excessive cleaner can make rinsing difficult. Those who formulate
chemistries for cleaning and disinfection
are put in a bit of a catch- 22 situation.
From an environmental and economic
standpoint, concentrated products are
a great idea. Shipping concentrate has
a smaller environmental footprint;
less packaging is needed and less water
means lower cost per pound. However,
if employees decide that more product
means better performance, the concentrate may be wasted, and the process
may be compromised.
Compatibility and Coordination
The cleaning process must not dam-
age the work surface. It would be unac-
ceptable for the cleaning process to
increase surface porosity because soils
could become entrapped and more dif-
ficult to remove. Materials compatibility
issues are a potential problem with any
cleaning process, because a process that
effectively removes soil could interact
with the surface. With repeated cleaning
cycles, aggressive cleaners can damage
food contact surfaces. Thus, regular in-
spection of such surfaces is crucial.
Cleaning must be coordinated with
disinfection. Life requires water, the correct atmosphere, a favorable temperature, an appropriate amount of time,