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How Important is Keeping Your Equipment & Work Area Clean?

When making jerky two of the most important things to remember is to have a clean dehydrator and to maintain a healthy, sanitary work environment. Today we’ll look at the easiest way to keep your dehydrator clean and how you can use your household bleach to sanitize not only your work surface but also your jerky equipment and utensils.


Having a dehydrator with removable trays is half the battle and maintaining a regular routine of keeping them clean is the rest.


Once you’ve made your jerky, you will want to remove the trays from the dehydrator.   In a sink filled with warm water and dish soap, allow the trays to soak for 15-30 minutes depending on the amount of debris you need to remove. The stickier or harder the debris, the longer you will want to soak the trays. After the trays have been allowed to soak, use a clean sponge or cloth to remove any remaining debris and then rinse the trays in clean warm water. Dry with a soft cloth. You may find that after initially cleaning the trays in this manner you will want to run them through a dishwasher cycle (follow manufacturer’s instructions regarding dishwasher safety of the trays).

Bleach as a Sanitizer – Surfaces

The standard mixture of bleach to water is one (1) tablespoon of concentrated bleach to one (1) gallon of water at room temperature for cleaning food preparation surfaces. The accepted procedure to sanitize a counter top or other food preparation area is:

  • Clean the area as you normally would
  • Mix bleach with room temperature water
  • Clean area with bleach water using brush or cloth wearing gloves
  • Allow bleach water to remain on the surface for approximately 1 minute
  • Rinse the area
  • Air dry

Bleach as a Sanitizer – Utensils & Equipment

It is recommended that the ratio of bleach to water be increased for cleaning utensils and equipment. This can be anywhere from 1/2 ounce bleach to 1-1/4 gallons of water; to 1+ ounces of bleach to 1 gallon of water.

For utensils you would want to:

  • Wash and rinse as normal
  • Dip for one (1) minute in bleach water at room temperature
  • Drain and allow to air dry

For equipment like slicers you would want to

  • Clean and rinse the equipment according to manufacturer’s directions
  • Wipe equipment down with bleach water for one (1) minute
  • Allow equipment to air dry

Once you’ve cleaned and sanitized your equipment you can store until ready to use next time.


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