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May Cartoon: How to Use a Three-Compartment Sink

Three Compartment Sink Cartoon

If you work in food service, you have probably used or have seen a three-compartment sink before. While the steps to properly using three-compartment sinks are fairly simple, small mistakes could cause a food safety violation.

Read these five steps as a quick training tip to refresh yourself on how to properly use a three-compartment sink.

How to Properly Use a Three-Compartment Sink

  1. Scrape or rinse away any leftover food on the dishes.
  2. In the first sink, scrub all surfaces of the dishes in warm, soapy water. Sanitizing won’t kill pathogens if grime is in the way.
  3. In the second sink, rinse the dishes you have cleaned in clear water. Like grime, soap residue can prevent sanitizer from killing germs. Good rinsing makes sanitizing more effective.
  4. In the third sink, soak rinsed dishes in a chemical sanitizing solution or hot water. Make sure the dishes are completely submerged. If you use a chemical sanitizer, read the directions on the container to know how long the dishes must stay in the solution. If you sanitize with hot water, the water must be 171°F or hotter. Keep the dishes in the water for at least 30 seconds. 
  5. Air-dry the dishes. This is very important. Never towel-dry cleaned and sanitized dishes, even with a paper towel, or you might contaminate them again.

Remember these five steps. If you use them all in the right order, your dishes will stay safe for preparing and serving food.

– Katie Heil



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