Homesteading, Organic Gardening, How to Farm, Preparedness, Self-Reliance
The Cheese Doctor
Its basic, we all know how to wash and clean right? We step in the shower, use soap and come out clean. There are products for getting grease off mechanics hands, products for washing the milking parlor and products for the dishwasher. There must be a product for the Cheese Room, you would think so? But it’s not that simple, it’s a changing world and perhaps we need to recap.
It has been 33 years since I graduated from college and the basics went like this:
Warm rinse dump, hot caustic dump, rinse dump, hot acid dump, rinse then sanitize. This process uses a lot of water and a lot of chemical. Dumped but not spent there is still plenty of cleaning power left, that was when petrol/gasoline cost 25 cents a gallon and nobody ever dreamed of running out of water. That’s how we operated our clean in place systems and our COP (Clean Out of Place) tanks.
But not all washing is done in large tanks or sinks. You know those three compartment items the inspectors are so proud of, the ones that have to be large enough to get at least 50% of the largest piece of equipment? While they are a rule they are problematic. In the CIP (Clean In Place) example above there is no mention of soap. The chemicals are heavy duty alkali and or acids. When used in the right sequence alkali is first and is used at hot temperatures to make the alkali more effective. Where’s the soap?
Soap doesn’t clean the type of soils that are found in our make rooms. In make rooms we will find heavy duty fats, sugars and proteins. Depending on the type of products produced, these soils are present in differing levels. The soil on our equipment is not like the film on our dinner plates at the end of a meal, where soap, so gentle, is more like hand cream. A detergent can be used to clean those plates. A tough pot is simply scrubbed a little harder.
But most of us didn’t believe that it was good for our hands to wash dishes so we invested in dishwashers, machines that work something like this: rinse, hot wash, hot rinse drain. The detergent used to wash your dishes is not soap, it is low foaming detergent highly formulated to eliminate the soil from your pots, pans and dishes. It is cleverly formulated not to eat up your aluminum pots or copper and works well on stainless steel. They must be used at the right dilution or they will be strong enough to damage those precious and fragile metals. The detergents are highly formulated products that work but they don’t do well in less than ideal conditions of a simple wash sink.
To get any wash job done it takes the following: concentration, agitation, time and temperature. If one is missing, an additional helping of the others is required. In that wash sink you need good hot water, hotter than your hands can stand. My hands peak out at 121oF. I know this because I used to make swiss cheese and whey is 121oF. For good washing 140oF is the minimum, a good dose of soap or detergent, an active scrubbing brush and not much time other than a good soak often helps the process along. But most items in our production spaces that use sinks are washed at 120oF or less. All too often I find Cheesemakers using soap with luke warm water and limited scrubbing to clean hand washed equipment. The end result is soft deposits often made up of fat that are clinging to the surfaces, this film supports bacterial growth and protects bacteria from sanitizers.
Washing basics reviewed:
Warm rinse at above 104oF removes milk fats and sugar (water is the best solvent for sugar)
Wash aggressively with hot alkali detergent
Wash aggressively with hot acid detergent
Single Phase Cleaners
Warm rinse at above 104oF removes milk fats and sugar
Wash aggressively with hot alkali* or acid* detergent
*the decision to use alkali or detergent will depend on the primary soil load that is on the equipment being washed and the type of process that deposited the soil onto the equipment. Your Sanitation chemical supplier can assist you with this.
Rinse before you wash
Use the right chemical, alkali or acid, (CheezSorce recommends Mono Phase)
Sanitize with an acid sanitizer (low pH surfaces do not support bacterial growth)
If equipment is stored re-sanitize prior to use
If you are washing in a sink, a COP tank is a great investment. Because chemical is used in a more judicious way the cost is greatly reduced. You end up using the precise amount necessary to clean equipment. Dumping chemicals into the environment via septic, waste water and ponds eventually makes its way to the streams and lakes.
Look for more information on Mono Phase Cleaners, why they work and how they benefit the environment.
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