We all know that sanitizing our machines is absolutely necessary since juice is something humans consume. But sometimes it can feel like a bit of one of those “where do I start?” situations.
What to Sanitize Your Press With
For best practice, you would sanitize surfaces that touch food with an acid. Vinegar is an acid, but really isn’t strong enough to kill all the germs, so it’s not our first choice. Bleach (or BLECH! we like to say) is effective for germ removal but gross for your body and environment- not to mention the residual smell that can actually be off putting for your customers in the shop. There are other chemicals (plenty of options there) that are specifically created for sanitation too… but most negate the intention of producing raw food like cold press juice.
Sigh, what’s a cold press juice producer to do?
You still have options! There are some environmentally, food safe and people safe sanitation options available. One of our favorites, Five Star Star San food grade concentrated sanitizer, is biodegradable, odorless, flavorless and completely safe for your machine and the juice prepared on it*. It’s a dream come true! (And in keeping with our dream of helping you achieve your dreams, you can pick up some Star San by emailing us at firstname.lastname@example.org)
*While all the safety claims are accurate, Star San is still an acid and sold in concentrated form. Being an acid and doing what acids do, this product is corrosive and unsafe for bare skin. Follow label directions, wear protective gloves and you will be good to go!
When to Sanitize Your Cold Press Machine
When to sanitize your cold press juicer depends a little on your own process. Most shops run their press in the morning, bright and early, to deliver the freshest cold press juice to their people. But the time of day doesn’t really matter as much as the fact that you sanitize before you start juicing.
You want clean and healthy juice (of course you do) for all your lovely customers. And who doesn’t love clean juice? The health department definitely loves clean juice (not to mention those who drink it). When you start your production with a good sanitation process for your machine, you all but eliminate the risk of germs and pathogens eeking their way into your juice through pressing. Not to mention removing the chance of cross-contamination from anything microscopic that may be remaining on the press from the last use.
Get Ready to Sanitize Your Machine
When you’re getting ready to sanitize, make sure you are starting with a super duper clean machine (which, of course, you have because you love your machine). Sanitizing your machine isn’t really very effective if it’s not properly cleaned. We HIGHLY recommend thoroughly cleaning after EVERY juicing session. If you don’t have a good process for cleaning your machine, check out our recommended process in this article and in our Washdown 101 video (you will also learn about de-chunking, which is important terminology).
Step by Step Process to Sanitize Your Machine:
- Safety First! Put on some good quality rubber gloves to protect your skin- this is acid we’re working with here (long sleeve cleaning gloves work great, just be sure to check often for tears or damage and replace as needed).
- Prepare your Star San according to package directions to the proper dilution (or any other sanitizer you choose to use). You can do this in a bucket, sink (if it’s close enough to your machine) or larger container that you can use to fill your spray bottle. We highly recommend having a spray bottle handy as you will need to sanitize frequently, just clearly label the bottle.
- Apply your sanitizer to surface with soaked cloth, mop or spray to saturate the surface. If you are spraying, we recommend you use a course mist, pump or trigger sprayer and spray 6-8 inches from surface of the machine. Don’t forget to open up your shredder and spray or wipe inside there also.
- If you are spraying the machine, follow up with a rub down of the machine using a brush, cloth or sponge with your smartly gloved hands.
- Make sure the surface remains wet for at least one minute. This is an important step, this is where the sanitizing magic is happening. If the solution evaporates too quickly, just spray again with more than you did the first time.
- Allow to air dry. Rinsing after application is optional (unless your brand of sanitizer states differently, most do not require rinsing). Sometimes the flavors of your juice can be altered due to the sanitizer you use. We recommend testing to be sure you are preserving your juice while also using best health and sanitation practices.
- Don’t forget that your machine isn’t the ONLY thing that touches your produce when juicing. You also need to sanitize your bags, boards, blade holder, blade, shredder skirt, any hardware, etc.
An Important Note About Acid and Alkaline Solutions
Remember that sanitizers are acids (if you haven’t caught that yet), which means they are corrosive to ALL materials, including stainless steel (your Juiced Rite cold press machine is made of stainless steel!). You don’t want your sanitation to start damaging your machine, which an acid can and will do.
The best way to protect your machine is to keep it clean after juicing and rinse with an alkaline solution (learn that process here). Using an alkaline rinse promotes the protective oxidation layer that keeps your food safe (uh what? Read more about oxidation protection here!).
#PRO TIP: Sanitize with acid before juicing, alkaline rinse after cleaning and you will have a happy and well loved machine!
Happy Clean Juicing!