The CDC has shown that both mild detergents and common disinfectants work to sanitize menus, so restaurants can either wipe the menus with soapy water and then disinfect or sanitize them, or they can be wiped clean with a cleaner/disinfectant combination. Either way, they can be safely recirculated without disposing of them after only being used by one guest. Cleaning your laminated menus will allow for reuse, while disposable or paper menus only support a one time use.
Basic guidelines to keep your laminated menus clean and looking their best:
- Properly clean and disinfect the menu after each use
- Only use a soft, non-abrasive cloth, preferably microfiber or linen. Never use paper towels on laminated menus, they are too abrasive and will badly scratch the lamination with repeated use
- Do not spray the cleaner, disinfectant, or sanitizer directly on the menu. Always spray the cloth and wipe the menu with it
- The menu should be fully dry before storing or recirculating
- Avoid harsh cleaning chemicals like bleach, degreasers, or ammonia. Use cleaners designed for this purpose (see link below)
- If the edges of your menu are not sealed avoid exposing the edges to liquids, soaps, or sanitizers and disinfectants. Always clean this type of menu by wiping from the center outwards. Never wipe from the outside edge toward the center
- Never fully submerge the menu underwater
- Never attempt to clean the menu in the dishwasher
“Sanitizing and disinfecting products are chemicals that work by killing germs. In most cases, a cleaning product is used first. Then the surface is either sanitized or disinfected.” – EPA
When your crew is preparing your laminated menus for reuse it’s important to utilize a cleaning method to remove any visible dirt or grease from the menu before it’s sanitized or disinfected. Harmful bacteria or viruses might be hiding underneath that layer and be shielded from your disinfectant.
If the surface appears to be clean, simply using the sanitizer or disinfectant should be sufficient.
The EPA has created an online resource that will provide the information necessary to determine if the cleaner/disinfectant or sanitizer being used is effective and will give you guidelines on how long the product needs to be in contact with the menu to safely eliminate pathogens.
If the product you select is not “Ready-to-use”, be sure to follow the manufacturer’s guidelines for proper dilution and application. Using a product that is not properly diluted could cause it to be ineffective, harmful to crew members or guests, and could damage the laminated surface of the menu.
Repeated cleaning and sanitizing of the menus, essential in all restaurant operations today, will quickly impact the appearance of your laminated menus if not performed properly. Bleach products, citric acid-based products, degreasers, and ammonia-based cleaners will damage the laminated surface when used frequently so we recommend that those products be avoided whenever possible.
Proper cleaning and handling of your laminated menus will provide you with the greatest return for your menu investment by keeping them in service longer and providing your guests with a better way to see all that your brand has to offer.
If you have questions about proper cleaning techniques, different types of lamination, or finishing options available for use with laminated menus please contact us today!