Cleaning a surface for dough

Joined Jul 27, 2011
Hello all,

When I'm making bread, pasta, or pastry, I like to have a large surface to work on, like a kitchen table. However, I'm never sure of how best to clean this surface. I usually go over it a few times with a soapy sponge, then a wet towel, then a dry towel. But it would be nice if there were some kitchen spray that I could use, then know that the surface was both clean, safe, and not about to give a strange odor to my dough. In high school I worked at a restaurant that used "sanitizer" on all surfaces for food, which they told us made the surface both clean and non-toxic. Does anyone know any good kitchen spray I can buy that's similar to this? Thanks for your help.
Joined Feb 1, 2007
Sounds like the approach you're using now is just fine. You haven't noticed any off flavors or smells have you?

If you're particularly concerned, get one of those plastic tablecloths sold for picnic tables, and reserve it just for when you're making dough. When you're done each time, clean it, dry it, and fold it up for next time.

Personally, I don't like the over-use of sanitizers. All they're doing is creating races of resistent bacteria. Soap and water are the only cleansers you really need.
Joined Feb 13, 2008
You can buy all-surface and kitchen surface sanitizers in the cleaning supply section of the store.  They even sell pre-wetted sanitizing wipes which will not only sanitize your surfaces but help with your excess cash problem.

You can make your own by diluting ordinary household bleach with water at the ratio of 1 part bleach to 10 parts water 1 tsp bleach to 1 qt tap water, and keep it in a plastic spritz bottle.  It's thriftier and works at least as well.

It's a good idea to use one sanitizer on another on your cutting board after prepping raw proteins, and whenever you wrap up your after-meal or daily cleaning. 

Otherwise you need a clean surface, but probably not sanitized for dough work.  Unless, that is, you get up to some fairly weird stuff. 


PS.  Ratio edited after Chef Layne caught the error.
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Joined Aug 21, 2004
You can make your own by diluting ordinary household bleach with water at the ratio of 1 part bleach to 10 parts water, and keep it in a plastic spritz bottle.  It's thriftier and works at least as well.
That ratio is way too high in bleach for food contact surfaces, it should be more like 100PPM - 200 PPM. The upper end of that ratio translates to 1 TBS of bleach to 1 gallon of water.
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Joined Feb 13, 2008
Thanks Cheflayne.

My mistake.  1 tbs (ordinary chlorine) bleach (like Clorox) to 1 gallon water is the standard for food contact surfaces.  That's roughly 1:250, or exactly 1:256 if you're picky. 

If you're using a 16 oz spritz bottle, a scant 1/2 tsp to a bottle of ordinary tap water  (~1:200) is close enough.

Cheflayne's 100 - 200 ppm (1:10000 - 1:5000) isn't right either.  Where my solution was too strong, his tbs/gal was right but his ppm math is wrong.

Great minds may or may not think alike, but between his and that lump of gristle which passes for mine we got it bracketed.

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Joined Feb 13, 2008
One PPM is equivalent to 1 millgram of something (in this case bleach) per liter of water.
Who said anything about milligrams? And what do mg have to do with the issue at hand?

Yes, 1 mg per kg is 1ppm.  But no matter how you slice it, 1 tbs per 1 gal is 3,906ppm, a far cry from your 100-200ppm. 

PPM means "parts per million."  1ml (which would mass as 1g with a "1" density substance) is 1ppm of 1,000L.  As I'm sure you already know the prefix "m" in a metric unit stands for "milli" and means 1/1000.  There are 1,000ml in 1L, and 1,000g in 1kg; but 1,000,000ml in 1,000L and 1,000,000g in 1,000 kg.  So 1g is 1ppm of a 1,000 kg, 1ml is 1ppm of 1,000L, and 1mg (1/1,000g) is indeed 1ppm of a kilogram.

Units of mass and units of volume are usually compared to units measuring like qualities to prevent confusion, because density varies from substance to substance.  If you want to conflate mass and volume, it's not a bad idea to at least offer a word about density.

No doubt all of this is old hat to you, and the problem arose from a mere moment of inattention.  Just making sure no one else gets confused.

Bottom line (and back to "English" measurements) 1 tbs bleach/gal water; 1scant tsp bleach/qt water; 1 scant 1/2tsp bleach/pt water will do the trick.

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Joined Feb 1, 2007
For starters, isn't it 9:1 rather than 10:1? That's the ratio I was taught, years ago, and have always used.

Be that as it may, forget all that math. As is obvious, it confuses everyone. Just go with volumetric measurements. F'rinstance, if you're using the 10:1 ratio, just use a large measuring cup. Take 10 oz of water (as indicated on the cup), and 1 oz of bleach, and you're good to go.

Or, as the regs say, 1 tbls per gallon if that's what you're mixing.

Let me say, too, that a gallon of diluted bleach is a whole bunch for the typical home kitchen. I'd opt, instead, for BDL's suggestion of a one-quart spray bottle. Using it on counter- and stove-tops, cutting boards, even the kitchen table, it will still last quite some time. And it only takes a few seconds to mix up a new batch when that one runs out.
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Joined Sep 18, 2008
...Take 10 oz of water (as indicated on the cup), and 1 oz of bleach, and you're good to go...
A "note of caution": a 10:1 dilution of 5% bleach (50,000 ppm), results in a final concentration of 5,000 ppm, a very effective sanitizer BUT it will have to be rinsed off because the residue WILL contaminate food products, remember, 1 TBSP/gallon is 256:1 dilution, which most food safety agencies consider to be the strongest bleach solution that is safe for food after air drying.
Joined Oct 10, 2005
Here's another method for you, and it doesn't involve chemicals.

You get yourself a a silicone coated fiberglass rubbermat, called a "sil-pat" or a  "rol-pat".

Guaranteed not to slip or slide on the table top.  Guaranteed not to stick to any dough.

Here's another method to sanitize it:

Wash it normally.

Spread it out on a cookie sheet.

Bake the sucker @350 for 15 mins.

Guaranteed germ free until something touches it.
Joined Jul 28, 2001
We are required to use 200parts per million. I do agree with FoodPump, Take a plastic scraper and scrape down your surface. This way you won't just

be pushing the stuff around. If some of your dough has dried or hardened just lay some wet mopines over it for a minute or so, then wipe.

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