You should make sure that you are using the proper cleaning chemicals in your business, as different products are suitable for different purposes. You should follow the manufacturers’ instructions for any products you use in your business.

Detergents or Degreasers are chemicals that are used to clean items or areas that are greasy, oily or otherwise visually dirty. These will not sufficiently kill bacteria though, and should not be used on their own when cleaning surfaces where food is handled. Examples of these are washing up liquid or kitchen degreasing spray.

Disinfectants are chemicals designed to kill bacteria, but cannot clean surfaces sufficiently and should not be used on their own.

You should clean any surfaces where food is handled using a two-stage process. Clean the surface using a detergent or degreaser, then sanitise the surface with a disinfectant and leave it for the contact time stated on the label.

Sanitisers are chemicals that act as both detergents/degreasers and disinfectants. These can be cost-effective and easy to use as part of your daily operations. However, if an area or surface has a significant build-up of dirt or grease, using a dedicated detergent or degreaser first may be recommended before applying a sanitiser.

Any disinfecting chemicals used in a food business must conform to British Standard EN1276. This means that the chemical kills a sufficient amount of bacteria, including harmful types that can cause food poisoning (for example, E.coli). Here is a link to a website which provides a free list of commercially sold products that conform to BSEN1276; these are readily available from supermarkets and often inexpensive.

Staff handling any specialised industrial chemicals (e.g. Oven Cleaner, Decarbonisers) should be suitably trained and provided with Personal Protective Equipment where appropriate. Products that can cause significant harm will have hazard symbols on the back – some example of these are below:

Toxic product labels

Products with these symbols will have associated safety sheets. These sheets should be kept available in case there is an incident or accident involving the product, as they will contain safety information you may need to pass on to a medical professional.


Hand washing

Antibacterial gel or foam soap must be provided at all hand washing points. Bars of soap should not be used, as they can dry out and harbour bacteria.

The use of alcohol gel is not a suitable replacement for hand washing, and should only be used to supplement proper hand washing procedure.



Disposable gloves can be used in the handling of food to help reduce the risk of the food becoming contaminated, and they are often inexpensive to use regularly. However, if you do use gloves in your business you must replace them often – otherwise, they can act as a means of cross-contamination between raw and cooked foods, or dirty and clean surfaces or equipment. You must also ensure that any gloves used for food handling are food-safe and do not leave any dangerous residues.

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