The 3 Compartment Sink: What is it and How is it Used?

I’m Linda Petterson, a Certified Food Safety Instructor/Proctor with ServSafe of the National Restaurant Association and with Always Food Safe. A 3 compartment sink helps to eliminate the risk of spreading food-borne illnesses from leftover food. Here are some frequently asked questions that can be used to learn more about the 3 compartment sink.

What is a 3 compartment sink? A 3 compartment sink is a piece of manual equipment used for cleaning and sanitizing dishes, utensils, and equipment used in the kitchen.

What are the 3 compartments? A 3 compartment sink consists of one compartment for washing, rinsing, and sanitizing. Each compartment of a 3 compartment sink must be labeled according to its intended use. Remember that cleaning and sanitizing processes can only become effective if performed in the correct order.

How is the 1st compartment used? The 1st compartment is for washing. This compartment must be equipped with soap or soapy water, a degreaser, and an abrasive brush. This sink is mainly used to remove the residual foods on dishes and equipment as well as stains and oils. When washing tableware in a 3 compartment sink, the water temperature should be at least 110 degrees Fahrenheit.

How is the 2nd compartment used? The 2nd compartment is for rinsing any residual soap on the dishes and equipment. This compartment must have a separate water supply. No chemical or sanitizer should be used. The 2nd compartment should be filled only with warm water.

How is the 3rd compartment used? The 3rd compartment is for sanitation. This compartment is filled with a diluted sanitizing solution and water at a minimum temperature of 171 degrees Fahrenheit. Dishes and equipment are required to be submerged in the solution for at least 30 seconds to achieve the sanitizing effect. Use chemical test strips to determine if the desired concentration and temperature are reached.

What comes after sanitation in the process? Post sanitation, stack all hygienic dishes and equipment in a dedicated drying rack on top of a sanitized surface and air dry them naturally. Air drying must be done without the help of any forced air or towels. Other methods of drying increase the risk of cross-contamination.

Hope you enjoyed this 3 compartment sink FAQ!