Types of Cleaning Agents and Their Uses

Date Posted:19 September 2022 

A regular cleaning and sanitizing schedule is essential for avoiding cross-contamination and food-borne illness. Cleaning agents in commercial kitchens are classified into four types:

  • Detergents
  • Degreasers
  • Abrasives
  • Acids

Use the proper cleaning agent and the appropriate cleaning method for the type of soiling on the item to be cleaned. Discover the four most common cleaning agents and when to use them.

1. Detergent

Detergents are the most commonly used type of cleaning agent in both home and commercial kitchens. They work by dissolving dirt or soil and making it easier to wash away.

Detergents used in commercial kitchens are typically synthetic detergents derived from petroleum products and can come in powder, liquid, gel, or crystal form.

2. Degreaser

Degreasers, also known as solvent cleaners, are chemicals that are used to remove grease from surfaces such as oven tops, countertops, and grill backsplashes.

In the past, methylated spirits or white spirit were commonly used as degreasers. To avoid chemical contamination, most food businesses now try to use non-toxic, non-fuming degreasers in their operations.

3. Abrasive

Abrasives are substances or chemicals that clean dirt from hard surfaces by rubbing or scrubbing. Abrasives are commonly used in commercial kitchens to clean floors, pots, and pans.

Abrasives should be used with caution because they can scratch certain types of kitchen equipment materials such as plastic or stainless steel.

4. Acid

Acid cleaners are the strongest type of cleaning agent and should be handled with care. Acid cleaners can be extremely poisonous and corrosive if not properly diluted.

Acid cleaners are commonly used to remove mineral deposits and can be used for descaling dishwashers or removing rust from restroom facilities.

How to Properly Handle Cleaning Agents

Remember that chemical exposure from cleaning agents can cause skin irritation, chemical poisoning, respiratory problems, and, in extreme cases, death. All employees in the food industry should be properly trained in chemical hazards, how to handle products safely, and what personal protective equipment should be worn when handling the product. Here are some tips on how to properly use and store cleaning agents:

  1. Store chemicals in a secure location in their original sealed containers, away from food or any equipment that may come into contact with food
  2. Wear any required personal protective equipment, such as gloves or safety glasses, when handling the product
  3. When using or disposing of the product, follow the manufacturer's instructions
  4. After use, clean and sanitize cleaning equipment such as brushes, mops, and other janitorial tools before storing them in a well-maintained, dry, and locked area.
  5. Wipe and clean with different cloth and replace them on a regular basis

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