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3 Sink System

Mar 13, 2024 | Food Handler

3 Sink System for washing dishes

Maintaining a high standard of cleanliness is crucial for any restaurant’s success. One of the key components to achieving this is the implementation of an effective dishwashing system. The three-sink system is a manual dishwashing method that has been widely adopted in the restaurant industry due to its simplicity and effectiveness. This system, coupled with proper training from institutions like ACE Food Handler, can ensure that a restaurant remains compliant with health regulations.

Understanding the Three-Sink System

The three-sink system is a straightforward process that involves three stages: washing, rinsing, and sanitizing. Each stage is performed in a separate sink to prevent cross-contamination and ensure that each step is completed thoroughly.

  1. Washing: The first sink is filled with hot water and detergent. Dishes are scrubbed here to remove food particles and grease. The water temperature should be at least 110°F to effectively break down oils and grime1.

  2. Rinsing: The second sink contains clean, warm water. This step removes soap residue and any remaining debris from the dishes, preparing them for the final sanitization stage1.

  3. Sanitizing: The third sink is used to eliminate any lingering bacteria or viruses. This can be achieved using a chemical sanitizer or hot water at a temperature of at least 171°F for 30 seconds. The correct concentration of sanitizer must be used, typically measured in parts per million (ppm), to ensure effectiveness without leaving harmful residues1.

After sanitization, dishes should be set aside to air dry. Towel drying is not recommended as it can reintroduce bacteria to the clean dishes.

The Importance of Training

Proper training is essential for the three-sink system to be effective. This is where ACE Food Handler comes into play. They offer comprehensive training programs that cover all aspects of food safety, including the correct use of the three-sink system. Their courses are designed to be engaging and informative, ensuring that staff understand the importance of each step in the dishwashing process.

Benefits of Training with ACE Food Handler

Staying Compliant with Health Regulations

Training with ACE Food Handler can help restaurants stay compliant with health regulations. Their courses are updated to reflect the latest FDA guidelines and local health codes. By ensuring that staff are properly trained, restaurants can avoid the costly consequences of health code violations, which can include fines and even closures.


The three-sink system is an effective manual dishwashing method that, when executed correctly, can help maintain the high standards of cleanliness required in a restaurant. Training with ACE Food Handler equips staff with the knowledge and skills needed to implement this system effectively and remain compliant with health regulations. Investing in proper training is not just about meeting legal requirements; it’s about ensuring the safety and satisfaction of every customer who walks through the door. With the right training, the three-sink system can be a powerful tool in any restaurant’s hygiene protocol.

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