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Reusable Food Wipes: The Green Solution For Your Kitchen

Going green is a positive, environmentally conscious trend among the modern companies all around the world, and many new and experienced business owners want to go down this road.

However, a lot of them have a feeling that it is difficult to make the first step.

The truth is, it isn’t hard at all to start making your company more eco-friendly.

All you need to do is take care of simple things first, things that at first sight look too mundane to be addressed.

For example, if you consider the amount of waste created by paper products designed to be thrown away after one use, like paper towels, for example, it becomes clear that introducing a more sustainable solution like cloth wipes is the right way to go.

Read on to find out more about this particular issue.

Clean Kitchen Is A Must

Every restaurant owner should know that the clean kitchen is the first prerequisite for a good restaurant.

A clean kitchen is a healthy kitchen. It is very easy for bacteria to develop among food leftovers and other impurities which normally appear during a normal working day in a restaurant. Since taking care of your employee’s and your guests’ health should be your top priority, you need to make sure that the food preparation area is always kept in impeccable condition.

It is true that your guests rarely get to see what your kitchen looks like. But you need only one food poisoning to forever tarnish reputation of your restaurant, so do all you can to prevent it.

There are a number of chemicals used for cleaning kitchens, each specific to a certain area.

  • Chlorine bleach and iodine are very effective when used to disinfect work surfaces and cooking equipment.
  • Alkali detergents are used for heavy duty requirements.
  • Acid based cleaners are used for cleaning ovens, floors and walls.
  • Regular detergents can be used in many areas, from washing to general cleaning.

These chemical cleaners are available in industrial strength and are preferable to those commercially available for home use. In general industrial strength cleaners have less “fillers” and are more effective than their commercially available cousins.

The Negative Side Of Paper Based Wipes

While paper based products can be used for cleaning in a kitchen, these products need to be disposed of after use and generally cannot be recycled effectively. Paper based wipes are less durable and are a one use only type of cleaner. Continued use of these products can lead to bacterial contamination of sterile areas.

There are a number of stronger “paper” based cloths available which have a reasonable life durability, but are unable to be recycled and have a tendency to be used beyond their usable “sterile life”

Why Using Reusable Wipes Is The Way To Go

The use of reusable wipes provides a more hygienic solution for keeping a restaurant clean. A systematic approach has been developed for the use of cotton cloth wipes.

Different coloured cloths help identify where they should be used so cross contamination is minimised.

There are four available colors of cotton wipes, which helps your staff know which part of kitchen should be cleaned with which wipes.

  • Use Green wipes to clean areas where you prepare raw food.
  • Use Blue wipes to clean spaces where the food is cooked.
  • Pink wipes are for general use in restaurant establishments..
  • White cloths are all purpose wipes used for general cleaning.

These colors conform to the HACCP Food Safety System rules and you are required to use them as prescribed, especially if you go through an audit.

Cotton Cloth Uses

Using a cloth for cleaning is not limited to benches in the kitchen – cotton cloths are very effective for drying of dishes and detailing of glassware.

  • For drying of dishes, nothing beats a cotton tea towel, which also has the advantage of being ideal for use as a general cleaning cloth.
  • In the case of detailing of glassware, in particular wine glasses, the best solution is a slightly damp polyester cloth.
  • While cotton cloths are effective in glass detailing, polyester cloths have the advantage of leaving no lint.

For general restaurant use, polyester cloths have the disadvantage of not being able to be used near hot surfaces as the polyester will melt. However, their inherent natural properties make them an ideal cloth for cleaning up.

Cotton cloth wipes are made from natural fibres, while micro-fibre is a synthetic product made from very fine polyester and polyamide threads. Visually, there is little difference between a micro-fibre and cotton cloth, both have a similar texture and feel. However, there are some significant differences between the products.

Micro-fibre fibres are thinner than a strand of hair, in comparison to cotton which is a thicker thread. Micro-fibres have strong elasticity content and resist shrinking or stretching.

The angled edges of the fibres contain deep splits to attract moisture and dirt, leaving no residue after cleaning. The dirt is trapped and held in the fibres until the cloths are washed.

Cotton is the most widely used textile fibre in the world.

Natural cellulose is spun with long-staple cotton and woven into a 100% natural cloth. The result is a soft and absorbent cloth that will not cause scratching, ideal for glass cleaning.

Once this type of fabric has been through its first few washes it becomes more absorbent but has the disadvantage of potentially leaving lint when used as a glass wipe.

Reusable Wipes – Clean To Green

If you have any more questions regarding the proper use of cloth wipes, feel free to contact Alsco and ask more about this subject. Call 0800 4 ALSCO and talk to our friendly representatives who are always more than happy to assist you in finding the solution that best fits your needs.

Photo courtesy of Flickr Images by Didriks

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