General cleanliness and hygiene

Regulations Logos

Updated on 2024

Lesson 7: summary

General cleanliness and hygiene

We are talking about the cleanliness of everything that will surround the food, from the utensils to the facilities. Cleaning and disinfecting are not the same, they are two complementary actions. But what is the difference between cleaning and disinfecting?

Cleaning is the removal of all visible residues that can serve as food for microorganisms. Disinfecting eliminates or greatly reduces microorganisms that may be present, and should be performed after cleaning. The correct sanitization is determined by cleaning and disinfection programs, where a written control of all this will be carried out.

In order to maintain a correct sanitization we must take into account that there are PRACTICES that are not permitted in the food sector, and we must know them.

With regards to the handling of waste and residues, different aspects must be taken into account so that this area, which is usually a dirty area, is not a source of pollution that could attract plagues. We must prevent the appearance of plagues and, for this, we must comply with and monitor the preventive measures of the facilities such as nets and mosquito nets, grids, insect collectors…

And, if we find any animals, we must notify external companies, approved by the competent authorities, so that they can make them disappear.

Lesson 7: extended

Hygiene standards for a catering or food-handling facility

Correct food hygiene and handling is essential in all catering or food handling premises, so it is essential to follow a correct cleaning and disinfection protocol. We clean because it can be dangerous due to the appearance of microorganisms, but we also do it to avoid the appearance of pests, since areas with bad cleaning favour the appearance of these animals.

All cleaning and disinfection is carried out to eliminate microorganisms and to avoid the appearance of pests.

We have previously advanced the most frequent ones: birds, insects, rodents... and for this reason we, as manipulators, can control that different PREVENTIVE MEASURES are fulfilled so that they do not appear:

  • Grilles in the drains: check that they are well placed and that no animals can enter through them.
  • Window screens and mosquito nets: they are there to prevent the entry of birds and insects, we must check that they do not have holes or are broken.
  • Bug zappers: Fluorescent lights that attract insects, attract them to it and destroy them. They must be on.
  • That all the doors are properly closed and have no small holes through which animals can enter.
  • Clean garbage cans and change the bag frequently.
  • Do not leave doors or windows open, without protection, to prevent the entry of birds, insects...
  • Order and cleanliness in the warehouses (disordered areas can act as shelters for animals). Never placing food directly on the floor.
  • Carefully inspect the incoming merchandise to ensure that no animals are being transported.

But if, despite these measures, we find any animal, we must notify external companies, approved by the competent authorities, so that they can destroy these pests. Under no circumstances will we be able to use products that we "find" to deal with this problem, since special methods and products must be used for each establishment and each animal.

With regard to the management of waste and residues, different aspects must be taken into account so that this area, which, a priori, will always be dirty, even if it is as clean as possible. This area is a major source of pollution that can attract pests, so to avoid risks, all waste bins:

  • Buckets must always be closed, except when used.
  • They will not be in areas with high temperatures or in the sun, to avoid the fermentation of the residues it may contain.
  • They should be used exclusively for garbage and be easily cleaned.
  • They will have a lid to prevent animals from entering (insects, rodents, etc.).
  • They must be opened manually (with a pedal to open them), and never by hand.
  • They should carry a single-use plastic bag, which should be evacuated at least once a day (in many cases more than once a day).
  • ALWAYS WASH HANDS after handling garbage or waste.

Food handling equipment and utensils policy

In order to maintain proper hygiene in premises where food is handled, we must take into account hygienic practices for equipment and utensils:

  • All utensils placed in contact with food should be easily washable and have no areas where dirt can accumulate. Therefore, all wooden utensils are prohibited (boards, ladles....), they could also chip and fall into the food, which would pose a danger to the consumer.
  • Clean and disinfected utensils should be stored in sterilizers, they should not be left in the environment, as they will be recontaminated.
  • The use of cloths or rags is not permitted, disposable papers must be used.
  • All parts of the machines we use must be easily removable (so that they can be cleaned and no dirt or food remains can accumulate).
  • As for the cleaning of the facilities, dry sweeping is not allowed where food products are present, as it can raise dust and cause it to fall into the food and contaminate it.
  • Cleaning products may not be stored near food.
  • The use of household cleaning products is not allowed, special cleaning and disinfection products according to our industry or establishment will be used instead.
  • It is not permitted to keep pets in handling areas, warehouses or areas where foodstuffs may be present.

Cleaning and disinfection of utensils

The first thing is to differentiate between cleaning and disinfection. Is it the same? No. They are two different actions that must be taken together, and in this way we will obtain a correct sanitation in everything that surrounds the food.

Cleaning is the removal of all visible residues that may serve as food for microorganisms. If we just clean up we are not going to eliminate the microorganisms, which could grow on those surfaces.

In general, we would try to remove everything we can see, using hot water and detergents (according to the area to be cleaned, as each industry needs a specific type of cleaner). To do this, we will use utensils that will help us to remove this dirt (scourers, brushes, etc....).

Disinfection must be carried out after cleaning, and with it we will be able to eliminate or reduce to a great extent any microorganisms that may exist, up to limits that do not pose a risk of contamination of food.

To disinfect we will use chemicals such as bleach, water vapor with other products.... The steps we would follow for a good cleaning and disinfection would be:

  • Cleaning everything we see (food scraps, various residues...) first dry and then help with hot water.
  • Application of the detergent or product according to industry, rub until all the visible is removed.
  • Rinsed.
  • Application of the disinfectant.
  • Rinsing (although some products must be left until the next day to work, and then rinsing, before starting work).
  • Drying (with disposable paper).

More courses

More information

Food Standards Agency
Codex Alimentarius at FAO
European Food Safety Authority
WikiPedia - Food Safety


We use 256 bit SSL encryption technology to guarantee the security of our website. You are safe with us.


Food Safety Card in Spanish