Steps to Reopening: Part 4 – Clean and Sanitize

One of the most disruptive tasks to your typical workday (other than wearing a mask) will be the requirements to clean and sanitize areas frequently. In this article, we’ll discuss the tools, spaces, frequency, and ventilation process of cleaning that you should try and achieve.

Many states have put out stricter guidelines, so it’s a good idea to make sure you follow those and omit anything that is too generalized.



The EPA has identified a variety of cleaning agents that are used against SARS-CoV-2. Somewhere on the label will be an EPA Reg. No. and you can cross-reference it with the list from the official EPA website. One important thing to note is that different cleaners have a contact time, which is required for the cleaner to be effective.

The varying contact time means that the cleaner should sit on the surface in general 2-15 minutes before being wiped away, which is why most government regulations (county, state, and federal) are recommending that you follow the product instructions.



You should disinfect surfaces:

  • Before reopening
  • Before opening each day
  • In between customers
  • Once something is spilled
  • If a customer or employee vomits and experiences diarrhea.
  • After closing each day

Most experts recommend cleaning objects every four hours.


Areas of Focus

Multiple areas will need to be a regular focus either for a person or the whole team. Many states are recommending that you hire or appoint a specific person (most likely in front of the house; FOH) that has the main job of cleaning. These areas include hot spots/high traffic, food prep, and dining spots.


High Traffic

Examples of frequently touched surfaces and objects that will need routine disinfection following reopening are: 


  • PENS!
  • Doorknobs
  • Light switches
  • Countertops
  • Handles
  • Desks
  • Phones
  • Keyboards
  • Toilets
  • Faucets and sinks
  • Touch screens
  • ATMs


Food Prep

Examples of areas of food prep include:

  • Food contact surfaces
  • Food preparation surfaces
  • Beverage equipment


Dining Spots

In between each customer, you should clean:






Best ways to clean

The general process of cleaning should not be difficult or time-consuming. But it does need to be thorough.

The best thing to do before beginning is to put on disposable gloves and determine if the surface is hard or soft. These two areas should be cleaned differently to work with the material.


Hard, Non-Porous

  1. Wash visibly dirty areas with soap and water
  2. Using an EPA approved disinfectant spray the area. Including all crevasses and hard to see places. Be sure to read all product labels and follow the instructions. Providing the necessary amount of time for the disinfectant to remain on the surface.
  3. Wipe the area clean.
  4. Allow the area to dry before use.


Soft, Porous

When possible:

  1. Place soft, porous materials in a bag.
  2. Launder using hot water and detergent containing color-safe bleach.
  3. Dry on high heat.

Materials that are soft but can not be removed should be treated as a hard surface but be given extra time to dry and ensure mold is not formed by using an excessive amount of water.



Windows should be left open or to run a fresh air cycle system for the foreseeable future to reduce the risk of over saturating the area with chemicals.



Next up will be a deep dive into social distancing!


Be sure to check out our previous articles on personal hygiene, handwashing, and proper PPE.

To help facilitate the reopening process and assist in the training process, we’ll be offering a free PowerPoint presentation that has been made available with this *information that is free to download and reuse



Recommended Cleaning Products

*(This material is not supported by any state or federal government and is not sanctioned by an authority on food handling safety.)