What is Sanitization?

Sanitization is a process whereby the numbers of disease causing organisms are reduced to safe levels. Safe sanitization is accomplished through the use of either heat or chemicals, after proper washing of food handling equipment and utensils.

Three-Compartment Sink

Manual dishwashing utilizes three separate sink compartments to ensure items are clean and sanitized as follows:

Sink 1 - (step 1) 
Wash in hot soapy water. Proper washing may require scraping, preflushing, presoaking, or scrubbing with an abrasive material.

Sink 2 - (step 2) 
Rinse in clean water. Rinsing removes the detergents and remaining food particles.

Sink 3 - (step 3) 
Two options exist to sanitize items as follows:

Hot Water Sanitization - Option No. 1 
Sanitize by immersion in hot water maintained at 171F or higher by means of an approved heating device.

Chemical Sanitization - Option No. 2 
To sanitize with chemicals, items must be immersed for a specified amount of time in an approved sanitizing solution of the proper concentration. Some examples of proper time and concentration levels are:

  1. Chlorine at a concentration of 50 ppm with a contact time of at least 10 seconds.
  2. Iodine at a concentration between 12.5 - 25 ppm with a contact time of at least 30 seconds.
  3. Quaternary ammonia at a concentration of 200-400 ppm with a contact time of at least 30 seconds.

Chemical test strips or test kits are required to verify the chemical concentration of the sanitizers being used. Concentrations below minimum levels will not sanitize effectively, while sanitizers used in concentrations above the recommended levels can leave toxic residues.

Mechanical Sanitization

Mechanical dishwashers use either heat or chemicals to properly sanitize items. Operate the dishwasher in accordance with the instructions on the machine's data plate. Use a thermometer to verify correct temperatures on machines that use heat to sanitize and use chemical test strips for chemical sanitizers.


Sanitize Temperature

Single Temperature


Dual Temperature Conveyor


Dual Temperature Stationary




**** Reminder ****

All equipment and utensils must be air-dried. Do not dry with towels!