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In part one of this series, we discussed how manual cleaning involves the use of tools, such as brushes, scrapers, and squeegees, along with other cleaning aids, to effectively remove contamination from surfaces and equipment.
In numerous instances, manual cleaning offers the best practical option for cleaning, especially when it comes to cleaning of complex equipment. However, is manual cleaning just about, say, an employee using a hand brush to clean the internal surface of a soiled tank? Well, no, it’s more than just that!
Cleaning involves the removal of visible debris from a surface. Industry best practices and regulatory requirements have always been to clean before you disinfect the surface.
Cleaning should not be taken as a one-size-fits-all activity, since several factors may influence how, when and why to remove soils from a surface. The cleaning activity may be achieved in many ways, and a single cleaning method may involve overlaps of various cleaning activities:
As shown, manual cleaning may or may not involve the disassembly of the parts of equipment. Moreover, it is important to define the ‘level of clean’, which is a risk-based decision generally dependent on the type of contaminant (mainly microorganisms, allergens, and foreign material) to be removed from a surface. Some of the factors influencing the level of clean are as follows:
As shown below, certain cleaning activities may increase the risk of contamination spread, hence they are deemed high-risk.
As illustrated, use of high pressure cleaning techniques, is a high-risk activity compared to wiping or scraping. The former will generate liquid aerosols and droplets, or particles, that will spread over a considerable distance, carrying with them contamination from the surface being cleaned. However, other common manual cleaning techniques, like scrubbing, or sweeping, are generally classed as medium risk, requiring some caution in their performance. For instance, scrubbing dirty parts using a brush is better done by submerging the part under the water while scrubbing, to minimise the spread of droplets generated by the scrubbing action.
The selection of manual tools is vital, since this can greatly influence its cleaning efficacy and durability, and its subsequent cleaning maintenance and storage. Some useful tips on tool selection are provided below:
This blog series will go over the various ins and outs of manual cleaning and why it is necessary for the safe production of food.
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