Chapter 4: Nutrition and Food Service
4.9 Food Safety
126.96.36.199: Method for Washing Dishes by Hand
If the facility does not use a dishwasher, reusable food service equipment and eating utensils should be first scraped to remove any leftover food, washed thoroughly in hot water containing a detergent solution, rinsed, and then sanitized by one of the following methods:
- Immersion for at least two minutes in a lukewarm (not less than 75°F) chemical sanitizing solution. Bleach may be used as a sanitizing solution when diluted according to manufacturer's instructions. The sanitized items should be air-dried; or
- Immersed in an EPA-registered sanitizer following the manufacturer’s instructions for preparation and use; or
- Complete immersion in hot water and maintenance at a temperature of 170 °F for not less than thirty seconds. The items should be air-dried (1);
- Or, other methods if approved by the health department.
RATIONALEThese procedures provide for proper sanitizing and control of bacteria (2-4).
COMMENTSTo manually sanitize dishes and utensils in hot water at 170°F, a special hot water booster is usually required. To avoid burning the skin while immersing dishes and utensils in this hot water bath, special racks are required. Therefore, if dishes and utensils are being washed by hand, the chemical sanitizer method will be a safer choice.
Often, sponges are used in private homes when washing dishes. The structure of natural and artificial sponges provides an environment in which microorganisms thrive. This may contribute to the microbial load in the wash water. Nevertheless, the rinsing and sanitizing process should eliminate any pathogens contributed by a sponge. When possible, a cloth that can be laundered should be used instead of a sponge.
The concentration of bleach used for sanitizing dishes is much more diluted than the concentration recommended for disinfecting surfaces elsewhere in the facility. After washing and rinsing the dishes, the amount of infectious material on the dishes should be small enough so that the two minutes of immersion in the bleach solution (or treatment with an EPA-registered sanitizer) combined with air-drying will reduce the number of microorganisms to safe levels.
Air-drying of surfaces that have been sanitized using bleach leaves no residue, since chlorine evaporates when the solution dries. However, other sanitizers may need to be rinsed off to remove retained chemical from surfaces.
TYPE OF FACILITYCenter, Early Head Start, Head Start, Large Family Child Care Home, Small Family Child Care Home
RELATED STANDARDS188.8.131.52 Dishwashing in Small and Large Family Child Care Homes
- Bryan, F. L., G. H. DeHart. 1975. Evaluation of household dishwashing machines, for use in small institutions. J Milk Food Tech 38:509-15.
- Benjamin, S. E., ed. 2007. Making food healthy and safe for children: How to meet the national health and safety performance standards – Guidelines for out of home child care programs. 2nd ed. Chapel Hill, NC: National Training Institute for Child Care Health Consultants. http://nti.unc.edu/course_files/curriculum/nutrition/making_food_healthy_and_safe.pdf.
- Enders, J. B. 1994. Food, nutrition and the young child. New York: Merrill.
- U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA). 2002. Making nutrition count for children - Nutrition guidance for child care homes. Washington, DC: USDA. http://www/gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/ERIC-ED482991/pdf/ERIC-ED482991.pdf.
Content in the STANDARD was modified on 8/6/2013.