Between health department regulations and the Coronavirus Pandemic, keeping your restaurant clean, sanitary, and safe can be a daunting task. Staying sanitary while being eco-friendly is another massive and daunting activity. If you're running an environmentally-friendly business, we have a helpful guide to avoiding COVID-19 while being eco-friendly just for you!
Products to Avoid
The things we love about common cleansers and sanitizers are exactly what makes them rough on the environment: abrasiveness, concentration, and longevity of effects. All these things are great for cleaning but horrible for the environment. Chemicals like bleach and phosphates are two big players in harming the environment. After cleaning your surfaces and killing bacteria there, they can go on to kill good bacteria on the earth.
When cleaning an eco-friendly business, you should avoid products with chlorine bleach and soaps with phosphates.
What to Use Instead
Bleach seems like an irreplaceable product -- it's versatile, effective, and fast. What can you use instead? There are a few options: hydrogen peroxide and alcohol. Both products are very effective when used correctly.
Because hydrogen peroxide reacts with water to create nascent oxygen, it's a highly useful cleaning product. Nascent oxygen attacks lipids, nucleic acids, and proteins. This means it acts as a disinfectant that kills bacteria, fungi, spores, and viruses. According to the CDC, 3% hydrogen peroxide is effective against the virus for the common cold (rhinovirus) after 6-8 minutes. This means that, once you introduce your hydrogen peroxide to the surface, you need to wait 6-8 minutes before wiping it off. After wiping it off, the only residue left is water. There's no need to rinse after cleaning.
Alcohol is a great cleanser for a lot of purposes. It efficiently kills bacteria and viruses without the negative effects and toxicity of bleach. Alcohol that's at least 70% will kill bacteria and viruses within 30 seconds. Higher concentrations run the risk of evaporating too quickly. When in doubt, follow the instructions on the bottle. Alcohol leaves no residue once it's dry.
For machine maintenance, many products leave harsh residues and chemicals. If you have an ice cream or espresso machine, you can easily (and greenly) clean it with this machine cleaner. It's environmentally friendly and cost-effective.
When cleaning and sterilizing your restaurant, it's important to follow guidelines from the department of health and the FDA. Use only products approved by those organizations. Cleaning with only eco-friendly products may be slightly more time-consuming, but it's completely worth it to protect the environment. Your contribution makes a big difference.
Tell us in the comments about how you keep your restaurant safe and eco-friendly! We love hearing from you.