Does anyone else out there have trouble with severely dry hands when using quats? We use this sanitizer at the shop I work at, and it's destroying my hands... red, scaly, sore, dry like sandpaper, and now an itchy rash. I think I may be allergic. Even with gloves available, it's hard to always use them because my hands are constantly wet from cleaning something. I've also tried all kinds of hand creams at night, but nothing helps. Has anyone else dealt with this???

Views: 5474

Reply to This

Replies to This Discussion

thanks for the detail, brady - the inspector and the permit guy both said that but i'll be more than happy to show them the regs if they bring it up again!
Brady, although we're in different states, it seems much of the food code rules are open to interpretation. I have seen shops that shouldn't even be operating based on some of their practices, so my thought is if you use common sense and follow the basics about hand-washing and sanitizer concentrations you'll be okay (not that reading the fine rules of food code is a bad thing... just tedious!)

As for sanitizing the rags, if your ppm is in the range, it follows that rags sitting in that solution are sanitized. It makes sense that steam wands are already subject to heat and don't need the sanitizer, but every shop I've worked at, including sbux, made it a practice to wipe them with a sanitized rag. And, in checking my ServSafe book, it states that you should "store towels (meant for cleaning food spills) in a sanitizer solution between uses." My experience w/ the MI health dept backs that up... they seem to be fanatical about two things: having sinks everywhere and not having rags anywhere except in sanitizer buckets. At a previous shop, the inspector told me we would lose points for leaving ANY rags on counters... now how practical is that? I reach for a rag about a million times a day, and having to always wring it out of sanitizer solution would be even worse.

Regarding Jared's comment that "we're technically not supposed to use dry rags to wipe the portafilter baskets", I don't think he was implying the use of a sanitized rag for the baskets. I took it to mean we're not supposed to use a rag at all for wiping baskets (correct me if I'm wrong, Jared). But, many shops do it and as long as the dry rag is clean and changed out often, it's one of those things that's probably better to just not mention. Like I said, common sense!
I have lived my entire life in Michigan (except that I moved to Washington 8 days ago) and never had *anything* on any of my health inspections in 6 years of cafe jobs. We never kept our wand rag in sanitizer. It always lived on top of the machine and was just damp with normal water. We also always had two rags that lived on the counter, a dry and a wet. The wet was just with water, but we kept a spray bottle handy. Never heard any complaints.

PS- If the HD gave me crap about wiping out the PF with a dry towel I'd just simply ask them what their best solution for getting the basket bone dry was then.

-bry
teresa said:
Brady, although we're in different states, it seems much of the food code rules are open to interpretation. I have seen shops that shouldn't even be operating based on some of their practices, so my thought is if you use common sense and follow the basics about hand-washing and sanitizer concentrations you'll be okay (not that reading the fine rules of food code is a bad thing... just tedious!)

As for sanitizing the rags, if your ppm is in the range, it follows that rags sitting in that solution are sanitized. It makes sense that steam wands are already subject to heat and don't need the sanitizer, but every shop I've worked at, including sbux, made it a practice to wipe them with a sanitized rag. And, in checking my ServSafe book, it states that you should "store towels (meant for cleaning food spills) in a sanitizer solution between uses." My experience w/ the MI health dept backs that up... they seem to be fanatical about two things: having sinks everywhere and not having rags anywhere except in sanitizer buckets. At a previous shop, the inspector told me we would lose points for leaving ANY rags on counters... now how practical is that? I reach for a rag about a million times a day, and having to always wring it out of sanitizer solution would be even worse.

Regarding Jared's comment that "we're technically not supposed to use dry rags to wipe the portafilter baskets", I don't think he was implying the use of a sanitized rag for the baskets. I took it to mean we're not supposed to use a rag at all for wiping baskets (correct me if I'm wrong, Jared). But, many shops do it and as long as the dry rag is clean and changed out often, it's one of those things that's probably better to just not mention. Like I said, common sense!
Hmm... will have to look it up in the ServSafe book when I get in to the shop.

You hit the nail on the head with the comment about interpretation.

Different solutions work in different ways. I do not like to assume or speculate about the way things like sanitizer function unless absolutely necessary. If the usage directions for the quats tabs explicitly said "to sanitize rags, soak for X long in solution of Y concentration" then I'd have no question about this. I'll try to remember to contact the people that make Steramine to see what they have to say on this.

One thing that I do know about sanitizer solution is that if it becomes cloudy with contaminants it becomes ineffective and has to be replaced. How do you drop a used rag in a bucket of quats solution without contaminating the solution with the stuff that used to be on the rag?

I'm definitely having a conversation with our local department of health on this subject. Perhaps they'll be able to shed some light on the subject, at least in our state.
Let us know what you find out Brady. Although the topic has diverged a bit, this is definitely relevant.

Whenever I wipe up a lot of grounds or coffee, I rinse the rag in the sink first before putting it back in the bucket... helps keep the sanitizer bucket effective for longer period of time.

Have to work at cafe tomorrow and will try not to be so obsessive/compulsive about my hand washing ;)
Wait... I don't see anything wrong with the frequent handwashing (I do it myself, you know). It'll keep your customers and you healthier (damned dirty money). Just take in a pumper of a decent moisturizing antibacterial soap and perhaps some lotion for break time, then hydrate/moisturize like crazy when you are off. When your skin is properly hydrated (and not dry/cracked) it can defend better against harsh chemicals.
FWIW... my mom's skin (family shop, quite literally) reacts badly to quats in a way similar to what you describe. We use Steramine brand tablets. She has to wear gloves when doing dishes. We only use quats for dishes - opting for the bleach spray for tables and surfaces, so she can limit her exposure.

If you are experiencing a skin reaction to quats, then you will have to change something in your work environment to fix the problem. This is one of the reasons I've focused on discussing the necessity of using it for everything. If you can stop using it where it isn't strictly required, switch to another sanitizer (bleach) for some applications, and change your practices to minimize skin exposure when not doing dishes, your situation will become much more manageable. You could certainly try a different brand of tablet, but I'm not optimistic.

Good luck.
Thanks Brady! Will try the things you and the others have suggested. You're right about the $$!! I wonder if we could put the quats in a spray. I hate the thought of using bleach (damn dioxins!) At home, I don't go near any of these chemicals (we use all organic cleaners that don't harm the environment). Commercial sanitizers are so toxic, but I guess there's nothing we can do about it for now until the industry provides an alternative.
We have been open for over 10 months now. At first we all had the hand funk. now we have learned to share dish duty better and wash with moisturizing hand soap after each use of the rag. We also use Renew (a melaleuca hand lotion). SOme nights I take a pair of the thin rubber gloves home and slather my hands in Aloe Vera (after sun stuff) and put the gloves on for a couple hours. The hand treatment by Mary Kay does wonders too but no matter what I use I always use Mederma to help heal and prevent scaring. As the owner, Barista, dishwasher and everything else person... I'm here 15-18 hours a day 6 days a week. You must take care of your hands!
Just wanted to post an update about the question that came up about rags on the counter. Our health dept inspector came last week and he raved about how clean our operation was. However, he did say we needed to keep our milk wand rag in a small container with sanitizing solution. Maybe some places or inspectors overlook this or you just haven't been called out yet, but this is the 2nd shop I've worked at in MI that was advised to do this.
Thanks for the followup on this.
First, I was like, "Quats???" Then, Dogpile saved the day. Whew!

Reply to Discussion

RSS

Barista Exchange Partners

Barista Exchange Friends

Keep Barista Exchange Free

Are you enjoying Barista Exchange? Is it helping you promote your business and helping you network in this great industry? Donate today to keep it free to all members. Supporters can join the "Supporters Group" with a donation. Thanks!

Clicky Web Analytics

© 2021   Created by Matt Milletto.   Powered by

Badges  |  Report an Issue  |  Terms of Service