Five Factors of Cleaning
There are five key factors involved when cleaning that are equally important: time, temperature, mechanical action, chemical reaction and procedures. Balancing these factors will produce the best possible results. When any one of these factors is out of balance, the results be inconsistent.
Time is the duration allotted to a cleaning task. The results in the cleaning process rely heavily on the amount of time spent. If you increase the amount of cleaning time, the chemistry behind the product has a better chance of breaking up soils and being more effective. However, with longer contact times you face the risk of surface damage. The required time to clean can be minimized by adjusting one of the other factors in the equation. In the case of warewashing, all commercial dish machines have minimum time requirements set by NSF.
International regulations and standards. For the amount of time the unit will run during its cycle and how many racks per hour it can wash. Typically, a single rack low-temp machine will clean 40 racks per hour on a 90-second cycle. Under counter machines will wash 30 racks per hour on a 2-minute cycle.
Higher temperatures aid in chemical productivity. To put it simply, the cleaning process becomes faster and easier as temperature increases. Higher temperatures also decrease the viscosity in soils, allowing for easier removal. Although higher temperatures allow for better cleaning results, they can also result in higher operating costs and can harm certain surfaces.
Dish machines must meet and maintain certain temperatures to stay in compliance with local Board of Health requirements. Typically, manufacturers put an NSF rating for a low temperature wash and rinse cycle at 120°F but recommend 140°F. High temperature wash cycles are typically 155°F to 160°F with a final rinse temperature of 180°F. In order for the chemicals to work, the temperatures for each machine type need to be accurate. Heat breaks up fat and grease, assisting in their removal.
3. Mechanical Action
Desired results occur when optimal chemical reaction and mechanical action takes place. Agitation can help break up soils, increase wash efficiency and reduce wash time. Too much mechanical action can result in damaged surfaces, resulting in higher equipment and maintenance expenses. During the warewashing process, agitation typically occurs first with pre-scraping to remove stubborn food deposits. A specific amount of pressure is required to affect the response rate.
4. Chemical Reaction
The type of chemical being applied will affect how the soil is removed from the surface. Understanding how to utilize the right chemical is critical in achieving the desired level of clean. Titration kits help with the initial understanding of how to obtain the best results and how they can be achieved. This will allow you to check for alkalinity, water hardness, pH levels, iron content, chlorine presence and sour levels.
Improper procedures can negate all the positive qualities of the other factors. In-service training and reinforcing the five factors of cleaning is the best way to have a positive impact on your operation’s effectiveness.
It is important to note that the reduction of any one of the five factors must be balanced by an increase in one or more of the remaining factors.