What is the 3 Sink System and How Exactly Does it Work

It is essential for all types of restaurants to have a three compartment sink. It is also a standard requirement in most country health codes, and they are beneficial in the kitchen since they provide a good alternative if conventional ware washing equipment fails to work or is unavailable.

A 3 compartment sink also allows you to perform the 3 sink system of cleaning which comprises of washing, sanitizing, and drying.

This 3 sink system is essential when cleaning multiple dishes as it helps to do it more quickly and efficiently. Let’s take a closer look at this system and what exactly it entails.

1. Washing

Washing is the first stage in the 3 sink system. It mostly involves making the dishes and utensils look clean visibly. It usually takes place in the first compartment of a 3 compartment sink which should be filled with a mixture of water and either detergent, soap, degreaser, abrasive cleaner, alkaline cleaner, or acid cleaner.

The minimum temperature of the water should be somewhere between 95 -120 degrees Fahrenheit (depending on your local health code requirements). Therefore, it is essential to monitor the temperature carefully with a thermometer or other appropriate measuring device.

Depending on what your restaurant may require, some scrub brushes, dishcloths, or glass brushes may be helpful at this stage.

2. Rinsing

The second step in the 3 sink system is rinsing. It is typically done in the second compartment of a three compartment sink. It involves the use of clean water to remove any cleaning agents on the dishes which were left over from the first stage.

Therefore, if the water inside this compartment becomes too soapy, it should be drained and replaced with fresh water. The required water temperature in this stage may vary depending on your country’s health codes, but it is set to a minimum of 120 degrees Fahrenheit.

3. Sanitizing

Sanitizing is the third and final step of the 3 sink system. It is done in the last compartment of a 3 compartment basin. This stage is probably the most important one as it ensures that all the harmful microorganisms such as bacteria are eliminated. It can be done in two of the following ways:

-Chemical Sanitization: Here, a chemical solution is used at this stage to kill the harmful bacteria. EPA approved sanitizers can be used at here which usually comes in a chlorine solution or dissolvable tablets. If you choose to use a water sanitizer, just follow the directions of the manufacturer.

If you decide to use a chlorine solution instead, make sure that you look at your country’s health codes to determine the appropriate resolution and temperature you will require and also how long the dishes and utensils should be soaked.

You can also use chlorine strips to help you confirm whether you have achieved the correct amount of chlorine concentration. Most of the time, dishes need to be soaked 7 – 30 seconds to ensure that they are entirely sanitized.

-Hot Water Sanitization: Just as the name suggests, this sanitization process uses boiling water to kill all bacteria on dishes and utensils. If you decide to go with this method, you will need to install a sanitizing basin heater in the last compartment of your 3 compartment sink.

These heaters are constructed to fit well underneath the sink, and they continuously circulate the water to ensure that it remains at the proper temperature, which is usually at or above 170 degrees Fahrenheit.

When getting a sanitizing heater for this method, it is essential to take note of the exact size of your washbasin compartment in square inches.