The Proper Sequence for Hand Cleaning and Sanitizing Utensils

Hand cleaning and sanitizing utensils are essential processes in maintaining safe and hygienic conditions in the kitchen. Properly cleaned and sanitized utensils can prevent the spread of harmful bacteria that can cause foodborne illnesses. In this article, we will discuss the proper sequence for hand cleaning and sanitizing utensils.

Hand Cleaning

Hand cleaning is the first step in food safety practices. Before handling any utensils, hands must be properly washed with soap and warm water for a minimum of 20 seconds. When washing hands, make sure to clean all surfaces, including the back of the hands, between the fingers, and under the nails. Hand washing should be done frequently throughout the day, especially after using the bathroom, sneezing, coughing, or handling raw meat or vegetables.

Utensil Cleaning

The next step in the sequence is to clean the utensils. All utensils used for food preparation must be thoroughly cleaned with hot, soapy water. This includes equipment such as knives, cutting boards, measuring cups, and mixing bowls. It is important to use a scrub brush or sponge to remove any leftover food particles and rinse each utensil in hot water to remove any soap residue. Once the utensils have been rinsed, they should be dried with a clean towel.

Utensil Sanitizing

After cleaning, the utensils must be sanitized. Sanitizing is the process of reducing the number of microorganisms on a surface to a safe level. There are several methods for sanitizing utensils, including chemical, heat, and irradiation methods.

Chemical Sanitizing

Chemical sanitizing involves using a solution of sanitizer and water to reduce the number of microorganisms on a surface. Common chemical sanitizers include chlorine, iodine, and quaternary ammonium compounds. To properly sanitize utensils with a chemical solution, first clean the utensils as described above. Then, prepare a solution of the sanitizer according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Immerse the utensils in the solution for the recommended amount of time, usually one to two minutes. Finally, rinse the utensils thoroughly with hot water and allow them to air dry.

Heat Sanitizing

Heat sanitizing involves using high temperatures to kill microorganisms on a surface. This method is commonly used for heat-resistant utensils such as metal or glass. After cleaning the utensils, immerse them in boiling water for at least one minute. Allow them to air dry.

Irradiation Sanitizing

Irradiation sanitizing is a less common method that involves exposing utensils to ultraviolet radiation. This method is usually only used in commercial settings.


In conclusion, proper hand cleaning and sanitizing of utensils are essential in maintaining safe and hygienic conditions in the kitchen. Remember to wash hands frequently, scrub utensils thoroughly with soap and hot water, and sanitize properly using chemical, heat, or irradiation methods. By following these steps, you can help prevent the spread of harmful bacteria and keep your kitchen safe for yourself and others.

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