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Leeds, Grenville & Lanark District Health Unit
Leeds, Grenville & Lanark District Health Unit

Food Safety - Safe Dishwashing

Everyone has washed the dishes but many of us are unaware that there is a correct method. Dishes not only need to be cleaned but also sanitized in order to kill germs that can contaminate food at the next meal.



Commercial Dishwashing:


Commerical premises are required to use either a three-compartment sink for manual dishwashing or specific commercial grade dishwashers that use either high rinse water temperatures or a chemical agent to sanitize dishes.



Manual Dishwashing:

Mechanical Dishwashing:

Commercial mechanical dishwashers must be constructed such that the wash temperature is between 60 and 71 degrees centigrade, and the rinse water is not less than 82 degrees centigrade, for not less than 10 seconds. An appropriate chemical sanitizer may be substituted for the high temperature rinse.



Dishwashing at Home:


Dishes can be successfully washed and sanitized using a two-compartment sink. In this method, dishes are washed and rinsed in the first sink, sanitized in the second sink, and dried on a drying rack or board. Liquid bleach is an appropriate sanitizer with one capful in a standard sink of hot water being adequate.

Most domestic mechanical dishwashers cannot sanitize dishes. Normal home water heaters are not hot enough and even those dishwashers with booster water heaters cannot reach the necessary temperatures. There is some evidence that dishwashers with a high temperature air drying cycle can provide sanitizing action but only if dishes go through the complete cycle. Very few domestic dishwashers can accept sanitizing detergents since many of these compounds are corrosive and can damage the interior of the machine. You should check with the supplier before you use any of these products in your dishwasher. Remember too, that your dishes are only as clean as the last hands that touched them.




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