restaurant cleaning and sanitizing guide

Keeping a restaurant clean and sanitized is crucial for the health and safety of customers and employees alike.

This guide will cover everything you need to know about restaurant cleaning and sanitizing procedures, including the importance of cleanliness, the difference between cleaning and sanitizing, and step-by-step instructions for effective cleaning and sanitizing.

A clean and well-maintained restaurant is not only aesthetically pleasing but also vital for maintaining a healthy and safe environment.

Cleaning and sanitizing are critical aspects of restaurant operations, as they help prevent the spread of foodborne illnesses and keep customers and employees healthy. In this guide, we'll cover everything you need to know about restaurant cleaning and sanitizing procedures.

Why Cleanliness Matters in a Restaurant

Maintaining a clean restaurant is not just about creating a good impression; it's also about protecting the health and safety of your customers and staff. 

A dirty restaurant can quickly become a breeding ground for germs, bacteria, and viruses, which can cause foodborne illnesses and infections.

In addition, a dirty restaurant can lead to bad reviews, lower customer satisfaction, and ultimately, loss of business.

Cleaning vs. Sanitizing: What’s the Difference?

Cleaning and sanitizing are two distinct processes that are equally important in maintaining a clean and safe restaurant.

Cleaning involves removing visible dirt, grime, and surface debris using soap and water. This process helps to remove food particles, grease, and other contaminants from surfaces, making them visually clean. 

However, cleaning alone does not necessarily kill harmful bacteria and viruses.

Sanitizing, on the other hand, involves using a chemical agent to kill bacteria, viruses, and other harmful microorganisms. 

Sanitizing should be done after cleaning and involves applying a chemical solution to surfaces and allowing them to sit for a specified amount of time before rinsing them off.

Importance of Cleaning and Sanitizing in a Restaurant

Effective cleaning and sanitizing procedures are crucial for maintaining a healthy and safe restaurant environment. Here are some reasons why:

Preventing the spread of foodborne illnesses: Foodborne illnesses can spread quickly in a restaurant setting if proper cleaning and sanitizing procedures are not followed.

Maintaining a positive reputation: A clean and well-maintained restaurant is essential for creating a positive impression among customers and ensuring repeat business.

Meeting regulatory requirements: Restaurants must adhere to strict health and safety regulations to avoid fines and penalties.

Restaurant Cleaning and Sanitizing Checklist

An effective restaurant cleaning and sanitizing procedure should cover all areas of the restaurant, including the kitchen, dining areas, and restrooms.

Here is a step-by-step checklist for cleaning and sanitizing a restaurant:

1. Preparing the Restaurant for Cleaning and Sanitizing

  • Clear all tables of dishes, utensils, and debris.
  • Remove any excess food particles or debris from surfaces.
  • Put on personal protective equipment (PPE)
  • Prepare a cleaning solution by mixing soap and water.
  • Test any cleaning or sanitizing products on a small area first to ensure they won't damage surfaces. 

2. Cleaning the Kitchen

  • Sweep or vacuum the floor to remove loose debris.
  • Clean and sanitize all surfaces, including countertops, sinks, and cutting boards.
  • Clean and sanitize all kitchen equipment, including ovens, fryers, and refrigerators.
  • Empty and sanitize trash cans and dispose of any food waste.

3. Cleaning and Sanitizing Dining Areas

  • Sweep or vacuum the floor to remove loose debris.
  • Wipe down all tables and chairs with a cleaning solution.
  • Sanitize all high-touch surfaces, including door handles, light switches, and menus.
  • Empty and sanitize trash cans.

4. Cleaning and Sanitizing Restrooms

  • Sweep or vacuum the floor to remove loose debris.
  • Clean and sanitize all surfaces, including toilets, sinks, and counters.
  • Refill soap and paper towel dispensers.
  • Empty and sanitize trash cans.

Best Practices for Cleaning and Sanitizing

To ensure that your restaurant is clean and safe, follow these best practices:

  • Establish a regular cleaning schedule and stick to it.
  • Use cleaning products and sanitizers that are approved for use in food service establishments.
  • Train all employees on proper cleaning and sanitizing procedures.
  • Use disposable gloves and change them frequently.
  • Clean and sanitize all surfaces that come into contact with food.
  • Follow all health and safety regulations and guidelines.

Tips for Training Staff on Cleaning and Sanitizing

Proper training is essential for ensuring that all employees know how to clean and sanitize effectively. Here are some tips for training your staff:

  • Develop a written cleaning and sanitizing procedure manual.
  • Use visual aids, such as pictures and videos, to demonstrate proper cleaning and sanitizing techniques.
  • Provide hands-on training and feedback.
  • Encourage employees to ask questions and seek clarification.

Common Mistakes to Avoid When Cleaning and Sanitizing

Here are some common mistakes to avoid when cleaning and sanitizing your restaurant:

  • Not cleaning and sanitizing frequently enough.
  • Using the wrong cleaning products or sanitizers.
  • Not following manufacturer's instructions for cleaning and sanitizing products.
  • Not properly training staff on cleaning and sanitizing procedures.
  • Not using PPE, such as gloves, when cleaning and sanitizing.


In conclusion, restaurant cleaning and sanitizing procedures are crucial for maintaining a clean and safe environment for customers and employees.

By following the guidelines outlined in this guide, you can ensure that your restaurant is clean, healthy, and welcoming.


1. How often should I clean and sanitize my restaurant?

It's recommended to clean and sanitize high-touch surfaces every 30 minutes and perform a deep cleaning and sanitizing at least once a day.

2. What should I do if I notice a foodborne illness outbreak in my restaurant?

Contact your local health department and follow their instructions for reporting and addressing the outbreak.

3. Can I use bleach to sanitize surfaces in my restaurant?

Yes, bleach is an effective sanitizer when used correctly. Follow the manufacturer's instructions for diluting and using bleach.

4. How do I train new employees on cleaning and sanitizing procedures?

Develop a written cleaning and sanitizing procedure manual and provide hands-on training and feedback.

5. What should I do if I run out of cleaning and sanitizing supplies?

Restock as soon as possible and follow all health and safety guidelines in the meantime.

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