Cleaning Cloth Fact Sheet

A cleaning cloth is good for one of two things. Killing disease-causing bacteria on your food contact surfaces and equipment, or helping to spread disease causing bacteria from one end of your establishment to the other. The following are important do’s and don’ts:


  1. Cleaning cloths used to wipe service counters, scales, and other surfaces that may directly or indirectly contact food shall be used only once until laundered.
  2. If the cleaning cloth is held in a proper sanitizing solution when not wiping, it may be used repeatedly.
  3. Check the concentration of the sanitizer regularly with test strips to make sure that it maintains the proper concentration:
    • Chlorine 100 ppm 
    • Iodine 25 ppm 
    • Quaternary ammonium 200 ppm
  1. Keep the container holding the cleaning cloth and sanitizer at each food preparation area.
  2. Label the cleaning cloth container as “Sanitizer”
  3. Change the sanitizer whenever it becomes turbid or heavily permeated with food particles and juices, or no the sanitizing residual is below the acceptable level.
  4. Use freshly laundered cloths every day
  5. Use the cleaning cloth frequently on your equipment and counters to keep contamination under control


  1. Do not use the cleaning cloth used to wipe customer tables and seats for any other purpose. For example, do not use the same cleaning cloth to wipe customer seats and then use the wiping cloth to wipe a food preparation surface.
  2. Do not add detergent to bleach for a better “clean”. The soap may neutralize the sanitizer, making it ineffective.
  3. Do not forget to put the cleaning cloth back in the sanitizing solution after cleaning.


Kern County Environmental Health Division, 2700 M St, Suite 300, Bakersfield, CA 93301 661-862-8740