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Ask Dr. Laundry

Ask Dr. Laundry

Your Questions: Bleach for Dishes

By Dr. Laundry March 20, 2008

Q: I work at a restaurant sometimes doing dishes. The health department says that the dishes should be washed in hot soapy water, then rinsed in hot water, then rinsed in a cold water solution with 1 tablespoon of bleach per 3 gal water. I’ve heard that too much bleach doesn’t serve the purpose and hot water kills the effect of bleach. My employer insists that the rinse with bleach is to be in hot water with a lot of bleach. Is it safe to wipe the dishes? I worked at a college where they insisted that the last rinse be with bleach in cold water. Which is the most effective way to rinse in bleach to kill most germs?

A: Clorox® Regular-Bleach is a quick and effective way for a restaurant to insure the completion of the dishwashing process.

So to answer your specific questions:

  • Always wash in hot soapy water; then rinse with hot water then apply/rinse in bleach solution.

  • Better to use 1 tablespoon per gallon of water; this produces the 200ppm concentration recommended/needed for sanitizing these surfaces. One can add more, but only 200ppm is needed for this application.

  • Note the water temperature for the bleach solution is recommended to be 75F which would be cool.

  • After the 2 minute bleach solution dip, it is recommended to air dry the items. This allows the solution time to complete the germ kill. It is not recommended to wipe the dishes immediately after the rinse. One reason is the towels can have residual germs that may defeat the purpose of the bleach rinse/dry procedure.

  • So I would use the materials I provided above to get the best/desired outcome.