Food Service FAQ

Frequently Asked

What is the maximum length of a discharge hose I can use on my Wall Mount Spray System (EQFSWMSS)?
We recommend a maximum hose length of 50' when using 5/8" hose. We recommend a maximum hose length of 100' when using 1" hose. Small diameter hose will cause chemical draw problems. Use the largest diameter hose available.

When using quat paper to test my sanitizer solution, I keep getting readings around 300 PPM instead of the required 200 PPM. Is there a reason for this?
Three things can be happening here. First, your dilution control equipment may have applied too much concentrate, thus the high readings. Secondly, old quat test paper isn't very accurate and can sometimes read 75 to 100 PPM high. Third, water temperature should be maintained between 70°F and 80°
F as higher temperature will give false readings. For best results, a quat titration kit should be used. These kits are accurate within 10 PPM. They are available from LaMotte Labs (800) 344-3100 or under part number 3034-DR.

What water temperature is best for sanitizing with Quat Rinse (#2331)?
Whenever possible, use warm water 80
°F (25°C) for best results. The 1999 Food Code (4-501.114, section C) states a minimum temperature of 75°F (24°C) must be maintained.

I know bleach is very effective at killing most bacteria and viruses. What are the drawbacks of using bleach versus Quat Rinse (#2331) as a sanitizer?

  • Corrosive - this goes for human skin and metals. Contact time with metals should be minimized - long-term use will lead to premature wear of equipment and utensils.
  • Volatile - bleach doesn't stay effective in diluted form as long as quats do since it's volatile and evaporates easily. Therefore, employees need to change sanitizer solution more often than they would need to with quats.
  • Shelf Stability - bleach has a half-life (time it takes for 5.25% bleach solution to end up at 2.63% active) of about six months, assuming it is stored under ideal conditions (dark room, 70 degrees Fahrenheit, unopened bottle). Once opened, its shelf life/half-life drops dramatically. If proper inventory control and stock rotation isn't administered, the product may not be efficacious at the recommended dilution rate.
  • Poor Soil Tolerance - bleach is quickly inactivated by organic soils. If the wash and rinse stages during cleaning leave large amounts of soil residue, it will greatly reduce the sanitizing capacity of bleach.
  • Poor Hard Water Tolerance - water used to dilute bleach should be soft. If not, the metal ions in water will slowly inactivate the bleach the same way organic soil does.
  • Reactive - bleach should NOT come in contact with other chemicals. Deadly gases can form when it is mixed with amine/ammonia-containing compounds and acids.
  • Offensive Odor - some people are sensitive to chlorine, others think of cleanliness when they smell bleach.

I've got hard water scale deposits on all of my food service equipment. Is there anything I can do about this?
A short-term solution to this problem is to descale your equipment with D-Limer (#294). However, this does not eliminate the problem long-term since scale will reappear as you clean. Softening your water is the only real solution to this problem.

I've been thinking about installing a pressure washer in my Meat Department. Is this a good idea?

Pressure washers have their place in the cleaning world but meat departments aren't one of them. Foaming down equipment with a degreaser and scrubbing with a nylon bristle brush works very well. It cleans the best and reduces bacterial contamination. In addition, pressure washers are often misused. When directed into drains, dangerous bacteria can actually be spread through the air.

To save labor after I've foamed and scrubbed my equipment and tabletops in the Meat Department, I skip the rinse process and just sanitize. Is this a good idea?
Definitely not. Rinsing is critical since it flushes away both detergent and soil residue. In addition, sanitizers work much better when they are applied to a residue-free surface.

I've got tremendous carbon and grease buildup in my oven. What is the best way to use Oven & Grill Cleaner?
For best results, warm your oven to 140°F (60°C) before applying Oven & Grill Cleaner (#2806). Let it stand for five minutes, then wipe soil away with a clean cloth.

I would like to test various food contact surfaces for cleanliness. Are there test kits available that do this?
Yes. There are numerous kits available and new ones come to the market on a regular basis. We have experience with two styles that are each described below.

  • The first one is from Neogen Corporation and is called,
    Pro-Tect™. This simple, inexpensive swab test verifies cleanliness in food service and food-processing environments. The test is a useful measuring tool to indicate when re-cleaning is necessary. It also serves as a training tool for demonstrating proper cleaning procedures.

    The self-contained test tube with swab is easy to use. First, make sure test surfaces are visually clean. Then, swab surface - return swab to the tube - shake - and wait 10 minutes. After 10 minutes, a color indicator will tell you whether the surface is clean, dirty, very dirty or filthy.

    Kits are available in 50 or 100 packs and range in price from approximately $3.00 to $2.50 per swab depending on volume. Neogen Corporation can be reached at: 800.234.5333 or at
  • The second style is called ATP bioluminescence. This method is more costly than Pro-Tect but has the advantage of producing more refined results. It works by detecting food residues.

    Food residues are common media for bacterial growth and contamination. They can easily be detected by measuring adenosine triphosphate (ATP). ATP is a molecule found in all plant, animal and microbial cells. It is a highly stable compound that persists long after a cell has died - making it the perfect substance to validate cleanliness. Unclean food contact surfaces will have recoverable amounts of ATP.

    ATP is measured by bioluminescence. Bioluminescence occurs when ATP is combined with luciferase, an enzyme derived from fireflies. This results in light output that is measured by a luminometer (hand held device). The amount to light output corresponds to the amount of ATP (food residue). Test results are given in a matter of minutes through the luminometer.

    Some of the companies that sell ATP kits include:
    Celsis International plc -
    Charm Sciences -
    IDEXX Laboratories, Inc. -

I understand that the USDA no longer approves cleaning products for use in food processing establishments. Are any of Essential's products NSF approved?

Yes. They are listed below by name and category:



Food Service Degreaser
Quick Suds
Quat Rinse
Oven & Grill Cleaner
Block Whitener