Iodophor Sanitizing                                                                               
Iodophor is effective at a concentration of at least 12.5 PPM, and at that strength, is an effective sanitizer with a contact time of one minute. Generally, the rule is to add 3 capfuls of Iodophor to a 5 gallon container of tap water. Test for maintenance of solution strength.

FDA code 2001-4-501-114 (B) states that an iodine solution shall have a:

  1. Minimum temperature of 24C (75F)

  2. pH of 5.0 or less or a pH no higher than the level for which the manufacturer specifies the solution is effective, and

  3. Concentration between 12.5 PPM and 25 PPM

Some of the more modern Iodophor preparations are not pH sensitive, as they contain acids to keep the pH low. 

Iodophor is the least toxic of the common sanitizers, and can be used with confidence in settings where toxicity is an issue.

The best way to use Iodophor as a routine sanitizer is to really understand what is needed in terms ofstrength.  This is why using our AQA 1227 Iodophor test kit is the key to really doing it the right way.

Iodophor is used widely in the beverage industry, as it is very effective on glass and metal containers.  It has a tendency to stain, so it is not used as a general, non-food-contact sanitizer or on surfaces that are susceptible to staining.  It is the least corrosive of all sanitizers, so its use on food preparation equipment may be recommended for that reason.

The standard for Iodophor mixing is 25 PPM.  Almost all food service suppliers that provide at least one brand of Iodophor sanitizing concentrates.  Each one needs testing to be sure that appropriate concentration has been achieved.

Using the test kit is simple:

  • Remove the foil covering the paper roll in the plastic roll holder

  • Place the roll back in the dispenser so that you can tear off strips of the paper for testing

  • Use the Iodophor mixing guidelines to mix your Iodophor concentrate solution

  • TEST to make sure that the solution is strong enough to sanitize

  • Make sure that your Iodophor solution is at least 12.5 PPM (or other appropriate concentration) using the color reference chart (but aim for 25 PPM)

  • If the solution is is below 12.5, add more quat concentrate

  • If the solution is obviously above 25, you should dilute down to some number below that value

Why Use Test Strips?

The answer is simple: you don't always get Iodophor solutions of the right strength, even if you follow mixing instructions.  Generally, concentrated Iodophor is very stable, but solutions that are stored may loose potency in a matter of days, especially with different pH and air exposure.

Health inspectors look for Iodophor solutions to have at least 12.5PPM concentration.   Best practice requires a full 25PPM.  Higher amounts are not toxic, but simply cost more to maintain.  Appropriate levels can only be confirmed by test strips.

Be sure that you are aware of the type of Iodophor you are using.  Some require pH within the 2 to 5 range for effectiveness.

How to Mix and Use Iodophor Solutions

There are many different types of Iodophor concentrates, so there are no general guidelines for mixing.  Most commercial containers will describe in detail how to mix the compound to a certain concentration, but it is always best to mix, then test.

Iodophor must not be used directly with soaps or detergents.  An intermediary hot rinse step is necessary if quats are used for immersion sanitation of utensils.

Iodophor has no cleaning capability like some sanitizers.  A pre-cleaning step is usually required for food contact surfaces.

A standard for time of exposure is 1 minute for most sanitizers, but Iodophor seems to have a more rapid effect.  Iodophor has the most significant "residual effect" so quick dipping can be quite effective

Here is a guideline for mixing and using Iodophor solutions:

Sanitizing Activity Ratio Should Test to Minimum PPM If Low / If High
Pots, Pans, Dishes and Utensils

Mix according to manufacturer's instructions

12.5 PPM Test and adjust
Non-staining Food Contact Surfaces

Mix according to manufacturer's instructions

12.5 PPM Test and adjust
Food Processing Equipment

Mix according to manufacturer's instructions

~25 PPM

(or use higher concentrations to treat, then rinse, then final wipe or spray with lower concentration)

Test and adjust

Clearly, it is difficult for any food preparation operation to "get it right" without some simple strength-testing procedure.



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