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5th March 2024

The business of sanitation in hospitality (Part 1)


How has hospitality sanitation evolved over the past decades? Hospitality News’ columnist Romeo Apolega takes a walk down memory lane of the kitchen and laundry side of the hospitality business by comparing today’s technology with the past




Forty years ago, there were very few big-sized hotels, fine dining restaurants, and commercial laundries. Things were so simple for the kitchen and laundry side of the hospitality business.


The hotels and restaurants utilized good silverwares – the real silver cutleries and flatware with burnishing equipment on hand to maintain the silver’s shine and spotless standards. Of course, chemical detarnishers were very helpful too.


The smorgasbord? Hotels and restaurants used liquid alcohol as warmers for the chafing dishes.

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Dishwashing machines were rare and, if they were even present, their only function was for rinsing after the dishes have gone through manual washing by the dishwashers.


Meanwhile, hotels used ordinary detergent powders for laundry. They used liquid chlorine for bleaching whites. The washers were manually-operated, belly washer type, or commonly called conventional washers, with a separate machine for extracting the water called hydro extractor.


Commercial laundry was called steam laundry since they had boilers that would produce steam for washing, drying, and flatwork ironing. They were the true steam laundries. For hotels, boilers functioned to heat water too.




Technology has changed the roles of man, machine, and chemicals. Cleaning and sanitation processes evolved dramatically.

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Plastic water glasses that stain fast, combi ovens, electric chafing dish, and soft ice cream machines are just few modern machines that came into the kitchen scenery.


More dishes to be cleaned and sanitized means better dishwashing machine for faster production of clean dishes per rack per minute. The standards have gone up too with the hot-wash, hot-rinse sterile dishes that need to be dried automatically after less than a minute out of the dishwashing machine. Wiping glasses to clean them is today a no-no. The cleaning process now is strictly hands-free wash to the storage until it reaches the guests’ dining tables.


The manual dishwashing cleaning and sanitizing chemicals before came in powder forms, almost all of them are now liquid, premeasured sachet or used with the liquid chemical dosing pumps. For manual sink dishwashing, all-purpose chemicals for manual washing have to be dispensed by a proportioner that delivers the desired concentration with water.

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Food safety is now the lingo for the foodservice industry, and HACCP is not anymore for the food but also into the modern laundering. These are the new technologies we now see in the kitchen. These are the new technologies we now see in the kitchen. The second part will tackle laundering.


Editor: This article was fist published in Hospitality News’ November 10, 2014 Issue, with the title, “The sanitation business: Yesterday, today and tomorrow”.


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