What Is Required At A Kitchen Handwash Sink

Handwashing is a very essential function in the kitchen that helps reduce the rate of food (fresh and cooked) contamination in the kitchen that is responsible for food-borne diseases. as such getting a kitchen handwash sink becomes a necessity. This makes the question, ” What is required at a kitchen handwash sink” a viable one.

Most times the pathogens causing this food-borne disease hide in the intestinal tracts of people, including wild and domesticated animals. These pathogens are further transmitted to the food through direct hand contact with them. If a person’s hand is contaminated with fecal material, pathogens can easily be transmitted to the food, as such hand washing has become a necessity.

In this article, I will be showing you the essentials that must be present in a kitchen handwash sink, when to wash your hands, where to situate a handwash sink in the kitchen and other important aspects that you have to know.

What Is Required At A Kitchen Handwash Sink?

For a kitchen handwash sink to be regarded as a functional one, it must be separate from the main sink and it must contain the following:

  • A Liquid or bar hand soap dispenser (antibacterial is preferable).
  • Cloth towels or Single-use paper
  • Specific drain line
  • Access to both hot and cold water (in some modern restaurants, the water is required to be tempered to a temperature of 95 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • A foot pedal (it is optional)

What Are The Hand Wash Sink Regulations

Handwash sink requirements vary from one commercial restaurant to another. Also, local regulatory authorities are responsible for the variance that exist in the hand wash sink requirements.

However, below are some of the general regulations guiding handwash sinks.

  • Water temperature – Both hot and cold water should be tempered to a temperature of at least 100 degrees Fahrenheit
  • Hand drying – There should be adequate provision for hand dryers or paper towels, and they should be situated within the reach of the users.
  • Touchless faucets – Due to the COVID 19 pandemic, the local authorities has mandated for all commercial kitchen to make use of touchless faucets. The Touchless faucets must be able to run for at least 15 seconds
  • Location – The Handwash sinks should be situated in convenient locations in your restaurant, as well as the bar areas and front of the house. For homes, you can have one in the dining areas.
  • Specific usage – The Handwash sinks should not be used for any other purpose besides their designated purpose which is washing hands.
  • Handwashing sign – There should be a proper sign to locate the hand wash. This will help the local handwash compliance agents to easily identify it.
  • Hand soap – Only approved hand wash soap must be allowed.
  • Water lines – The water lines should provide both hot and cold running water.

How To Wash Your Hands

Although sounds easy, but it is very strategic; for your hands to be effectively washed, you must know the appropriate method for doing it.

  • Use hot/warm running water to wet your hands and forearms
  • Apply the soap to your hands and rub it together until it builds up a lather
  • Scrub your hands and arms (this include the fingertips, under the fingertips, and between the fingertips) properly for about 20 seconds
  • Rinse properly with warm water
  • Use a hand dryer or a clean paper towel to dry your hands and arms.

It is important as a food handler, that you practice the above steps and teach the other staff to do likewise.

When Are You Supposed To Wash Your Hands

Although washing hands is a necessity, it is nothing something you are to do anytime. There are specific times you have to do it to achieve optimal results.

You are to wash your hands with soap and clean water before:

  • After coming out of the storeroom.
  • After breaks
  • After handling animals which include pets like dogs and cats
  • Before and After eating
  • After using the toilet
  • After smoking
  • After touching the face, clothing, or hair
  • After coughing and sneezing
  • When you touch something dirty
  • Handling soiled items or taking out the trash
  • Before and after touching raw meat, seafood, or poultry

When To Wash Hand For Food Handlers

  • Before and after Preparing food
  • Before and after handling clean dishes or utensils
  • Before putting on clean, single-use gloves
  • After removing single/soiled hand glove
  • After changing tasks

Where Can Handwash Sink Be Located?

For optimal effectiveness, your handwash sink must be situated at specific locations. All the handwash sinks must provide both hot and cold running water that can be adjusted to at least 100 degrees Fahrenheit, and each handwash sink should be identified by a sign.

For a commercial kitchen, the hand sink can be located at the front of the kitchen, inside the restaurants at different locations to enable the customers to wash their hands, and one at the food packaging center and the last one at the kitchen.

Furthermore, for personal homes, the handwash can be located at the front of the house before the main entrance, one at the dining room, and the other at the main kitchen. For a big home with a lot of kids, you can be situated one at the compound where they can easily reach to when they are done playing.

What Is the Importance of Hand Washing?

The importance of handwashing cannot be overemphasized for both personal and food hygiene.

Amongst the various importance, below are some of the importance of handwashing.

  1. Washing hands prevents the transfer of pathogens and germs from a dirty hand or surface to food. Unwashed hands serve as a potent vehicle for the transmission of germs throughout your business, and any surface or item your employees’ touch will be contaminated.
  2. Due to the fact that the pathogens that cause foodborne disease are tiny for the human eye to see, handwashing remains still serves as the most effective procedure to stop the microorganisms from spreading.

Also, Clean hands are a potent defense against COVID-19, the world’s most dangerous pandemic.

Important Things To Note About Hand Washing

  1. Hand sanitizer is not enough

Hand sanitizer shouldn’t be replaced with traditional handwashing. It should only be used in addition to proper handwashing. This is because hand sanitizer cannot be effective when hands are dirty. They are only meant to provide an additional defense against germs and microorganisms.

  1. Just Water is not enough

Some personal homes do make the mistake of filling the handwash sink with water neglecting soap. Water is effective, but cannot clean off dirty hands effectively. Soap must be used, not just water. None can replace each other.

  1. Handwash sink must be a fixed structure

A handwash sink must not be an inbuilt structure. For flexibility, they are mobile handwash sink out there in the market. You can go on Amazon or eBay, or visit any local kitchen utensils store.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Is a separate handwashing sink required?

Is providing a separate handwash sink necessary? Yes, it is. A sink designated for handwashing must be provided in the kitchen. And it must be located close to the food preparation working area and must not be obstructed. Also, it should be easily accessible for the food handlers.

Is a separate sink for employees required?

Yes, for a commercial kitchen, a separate stainless steel sink should be provided for the employees working in the different areas of the kitchen; for both those directly handling the food and those packaging and delivering the cooked food.

Also, food preparation sinks might be needed, but this is dependent on the operation carried out in the kitchen.

Can you use the dishwashing sink to wash your hands?

No, it is not appropriate for you to wash your hands in a sink that is being used for dishwashing. However, in cases that there Is not a separate sink for handwashing, you can wash your hands in a dishwasher.

However, the sink must be clean and well sanitized before beginning the washing process. Also, make sure the drains are in good working order and the water must be heated to at least 110°F.

When are you supposed to wash your hands?

There are strategic times that you are supposed to wash your hands to achieve an optimal result. You should wash your hands after; sneezing, coughing, using a tissue, eating or drinking, touching human parts, using tobacco, and before preparing foods or putting on gloves.


You should note that hand washing hygiene isn’t just a requirement for food handlers only. It should be normalized as a daily routine, as such hand wash sink should be a priority in the home and commercial restaurant

I hope you find this article, “what is required for a kitchen handwash sink ” interesting. For further studies, do check out, “How To Keep Mice Out Of Kitchen Drawers.”

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