The 3-sink dishwashing method is widely known and used in food establishments such as restaurants, bars and cafeterias.

When done properly, it completely removes all dirt from surfaces that come in contact with food. The steps are simple, but very important:

1) Pre-wash: Before tackling the washing, try to scrape off as much food as possible. This will allow the detergent used in the next step to work more efficiency

2) Wash: This step uses a detergent solution to remove dirt, microbes and allergens from the surfaces. The detergent must be approved for food use, and able to dissolve and remove dirt. It should be completely soluble in water and not damage work surfaces.

3) Rinse: This is the final washing step. It removes any dissolved substances or detergent residue remaining on the surfaces, which could decrease the effectiveness of the sanitizing solution.

4) Sanitize: This step makes sure all surfaces are entirely free of bacteria and biofilms . The sanitizing solution must be approved for food use to ensure that food will be safe for human consumption.

5) Dry: Dishes and utensils should be air dried; wiping with a towel is neither required nor recommended.


  • Never use these sinks as a hand washing or mop station.
  • Sinks should be refilled every 4 hours and cleaned between each filling. A schedule can be created for this purpose to facilitate the work of staff.
  • To learn more about this manual dishwashing and sanitizing method, and for suggestions on which products are best to use, download this document .