Maintaining high sanitation standards in a commercial kitchen is necessary to pass health inspections, protect one’s reputation, and keep customers safe.

One way to do this is by implementing the right sanitizing method for your dishwashing stations. Whether you use a three-compartment sink or a dishwasher, there are specific solutions available to aid the process. In this post, we discuss the most common sanitation methods and ways to test the solutions.


Chlorine Test Strips

Chlorine solutions are popular because of their affordability and availability. To work properly, solutions must contain 50 to 100 parts per million (ppm) of water and remain between 75- and 100-degrees Fahrenheit. At this temperature, the solution should be left in contact with the surface for at least 7 seconds. It can be used on dishes, equipment surfaces, and tables and chairs.

San Jamar provides test strips that test chlorine levels from 10 to 200 ppm so that staff can be sure their solution meets food safety standards. They warn that chlorine solutions should not be used “on wood, other porous surfaces or worn surfaces” as it could cause damage. It is safe for food contact and non-food contact surfaces. The test strips themselves use a color-coded chart for convenience.


Iodine solutions are ideal for areas with hard water since they won’t be as affected by the minerals in the water. It still should be tested before use since pH levels can change the solution. Testing it will allow operators to make adjustments as needed. To work, the solution should be concentrated of 12.5 to 25 ppm of water. As with chlorine solutions, it should be at least 75 degrees Fahrenheit when it meets the surface you’re sanitizing. Keep the solution below 120 degrees Fahrenheit.

Iodine does not work as well for dinner and drinkware because, over time, it will stain them. It is a rich brown color. However, some operators may consider this an acceptable sacrifice since it is much easier on a person’s skin, causing less damage and dryness.

Another drawback to using iodine solutions is that they are not approved for use in certain locations. You will need to check local regulations to make sure you are compliant with foodservice laws.

Quaternary Ammonium or Quat

Water Testing Kit

Quaternary ammonium or quat solutions should contain 150 to 200 ppm in water, remain at 75 degrees Fahrenheit, and cover surfaces for 30 seconds to work effectively. Test strips for quaternary ammonium are available with color-coded charts and will show if levels are between 0 to 500 ppm. Test strips come in rolls where you can tear them off or individually.

This solution lasts longer than either chlorine or iodine and is ideal for sensitive skin. It is a much gentler solution. This is true for surfaces as well. It will not pit, bend, or corrode stainless steel where chlorine solutions can over time.

Hot Water

Hot water as a sanitation method is extremely popular since it does not require the purchase of additional solutions. It will, however, require you to invest in a hot water heater. Thermometers or test strips can be used to test temperatures between 160 and 180 degrees Fahrenheit. These work for testing water for washing, rinsing and sanitizing.

Special thermometers and test strips are available for dishwashing units. They rest on the interior side of the machine, recording the highest temperatures reached by your dish or ware washer. This enables operators to make sure the washer is heating correctly. Special thermometers and test strips must be obtained; however, cause others will not endure the intensity of the warewasher.

Whatever sanitation method you choose, let us know what you need. We sell dish and ware washers in undercounter, door type style, or specifically for bar equipment. We provide sinks of varying bowl sizes with drainboards and other accessories. If you desire, we can provide the solution testing tools as well.


Call: 888.778.4815