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How to Correctly Clean & Sanitize Dining Room Tables
Surface cleaning of dining room tables Surface cleaning of dining room tables

Surface Cleaning of Dining Room Tables

Written by Cindy Rice, RS, Eastern Food Safety

COVID-19 has now come to be a fact of life in the restaurant industry and controlling its spread is top of mind by managers and operators in their daily operations across the country. Many have implemented more stringent cleaning protocols and ramped up efforts to train staff to specifically battle this emerging pathogen, nationwide. However, food operations still have to deal with the more mundane risks to dining tables, which are easily contaminated by many other substances: leftover food, debris, and spilled beverages. Also, bacteria and viruses from consumers’ hands and arms can linger on tabletops and pose a risk of pathogens to the next person that sits.

One report showed that tables in food courts contained the second highest levels of bacteria when compared with other objects, including ATM machine buttons, and even water fountain handles. One can assume that hospital cafeteria tables would be highly contaminated as well, given the higher microorganism levels in a hospital setting, combined with multiple persons sharing the same tables.

Cleaning protocols are sometimes short-changed, however. Staff often clear dirty dishes from tables, then spray the still soiled tables directly with a sanitizer solution or glass leaning product, and wipe multiple surfaces with the same cloth. They skip the very important wash and rinse step first- the surface’s remaining soil or food debris essentially “blocks” the sanitizer from doing its job. Basically they spread microorganisms all over the surface, and repeat the process from table to table in the dining room, spreading contaminants as they go. This would also be an ineffective cleaning/disinfecting process for COVID 19 measures.

This is the correct process to clean tables in any foodservice establishment: After clearing dishes from a table, the surface should be cleaned with a mild detergent solution, to remove all food particles and debris from the surface, and then rinsed. Be sure that there is no soap residue left on the tabletop. The sanitizer solution should then be applied, using either a spray bottle or a wiping cloth dipped in a sanitizer solution and left to air dry for 30 seconds. Remember to first mix the chemical solution according to manufacturer’s instructions, and test the sanitizer solution for proper strength using paper test strips: Chlorine Test Strips , Sanitizer Test Strips: QT-10 , Visual Compliance System 6 Qt Bucket and Visual Compliance Sys Indicator Strips


Surface Cleaning of Dining Room Tables

As food operators begin welcoming back dine-in guests, it is more important than ever to use effective cleaning procedures for guest areas.



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