How to Disinfect Pots & Pans

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You can sterilize pots and pans with heat or chemicals.

While some bacteria are helpful, others can potentially cause serious illness. An area susceptible to bacteria contamination is the kitchen, because food items are handled so frequently. If you have pots and pans that may have been exposed to harmful bacteria, you should sterilize these items. Sterilization kills harmful bacteria and renders the pots and pans ready to for use again.


Step 1

Fill a large pot with water and set it on the stove to boil.

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Step 2

Place other smaller pots or pans into the larger pot once the water is boiling. Hot water that is 171 degrees Fahrenheit or more will sterilize objects immersed in the water. Be sure the pots and pans are completely immersed and allow them to boil for approximately 10 minutes.

Step 3

Place pots and pans that are too large for step 2 into a large sink or container.

Step 4

Mix a cleaning solution designed for disinfecting kitchen equipment. You can purchase these solutions from food service supply businesses. The FDA and EPA have approved sterilizing mixtures based on chlorine, iodine or quaternary ammonium compounds, reports the UMass Extension Nutrition Education Program. Follow the directions on your particular product indicating the temperature and concentration of the mixture as well as the length of time needed for sterilization.


Step 5

Wash the pots and pans in hot water with regular dish soap.

Step 6

Rinse the pots and pans with clean water.

Step 7

Fill a sink or container with the cleaning mixture from step 4 and immerse the pots and pans into the mixture for the time specified on the chemical packaging.

Step 8

Remove the pots and pans from the solution and place them on a clean, flat surface to air dry.

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