When fitting out your kitchen, a sink is a must-have appliance to install somewhere in that very room. It plays a vital role in washing your dishes (even if you have a dishwasher) and a place to drain and rinse food before you start cooking.
However, you may notice that in some kitchens, there are two sinks. Perhaps one is larger than the other, or they sit directly next to each other – why do some kitchens have two sinks?
Well, when most kitchens feature two sinks, one is mostly used for cooking or dishwashing while the other is where you wash your hands. Is this a requirement for all kitchens, and what are the benefits of having two separate sinks in your kitchen?
Let’s take a closer look at the kitchen sink and see if installing a separate handwashing sink is a requirement you have got to fill out!
Why Do Some Kitchens Have Two Sinks?
Two-sink kitchens are becoming more and more popular. In recent years, a lot of emphasis has been placed on hygiene and lowering the risk of foodborne diseases by simply keeping our food preparation areas clean and frequently washing our hands while cooking.
It is not just two sink kitchens that have become the product of such discussion – other appliances like touch-free faucets and soap dispensers have also grown in popularity as they lower the spread of germs and bacteria in kitchens and bathrooms.
But how does having two sinks help improve hygiene in your kitchen?
The first reason is that having two sinks means there is less contamination. We often wash our hands to get rid of germs before we start cooking, but then often come back to re-wash them after we have touched food in some way.
For example, you should always wash your hands before and after handling raw meat – but if we go to the same sink to wash some potatoes before we start to cook them, there is a risk of cross contamination between the raw meat and potatoes.
Another thing is hand soap. Hand soap has to sit near the faucets , so it is easy to reach and use when your hands are dirty. Because of this, having a cleaning supply so close to where you sometimes prepare food or wash dishes can cause cross contamination between the soap and the food.
While dish soap can be stored in a cabinet until it needs to be used, hand soap is always sitting nearby and poses a risk.
So, having a separate handwashing sink improves the overall hygiene of your kitchen plus it reduces the chances of cross contamination between foods and soaps. This is why in all professional kitchens, like in restaurants, you will find a separate sink for washing hands.
Is A Separate Handwashing Sink Required?
For private homes, no – there is no rule or law that says all kitchens must have two sinks.
However, in commercial kitchens, there are guidelines that say that there must be a designated handwashing sink that is separate to where dishes are washed.
In fact, most commercial kitchens will have several sinks – some for handwashing, at least one for cleaning the mops, some for washing dishes and another for sanitizing dishes.
The reason for this is to prevent cross contamination. After all, you wouldn’t want to eat food that had been prepared in a sink that had just been used to wash a mop, would you?
So in a way, this line of thinking should carry over to your own kitchen at home. You shouldn’t wash things that touch the floor in the same sink you use to clean your vegetables before you start cooking – and perhaps you shouldn’t wash your hands in the same sink either.
Should You Have A Two-Sink Kitchen?
Two-sink kitchens have been on the rise since concerns about hygiene in the home has become a much more important topic.
However, while they are great for improving hygiene and keeping your soaps away from your food preparation areas, this does not mean you have to install a separate handwashing sink at home.
Not everyone will have the room for a separate handwashing sink so if you need to save on space, there’s no shame in just using one sink.
A great idea would be to install a double basin sink instead – this only requires one faucet but features two bowls (one smaller than the other) so you can wash dishes with one and leave the other open for washing your hands, as an example.
However, if you run a food business from your own kitchen, then it would be a wise decision to install a separate hand basin. You may be required by law, especially if you have other people working for you.
If you have a wet room or adjoining bathroom to your kitchen, where there is a sink for handwashing just a few steps away, then perhaps you can save by just using that sink instead – but make sure it remains clear for use and there is plenty of soap available there.
But – if you have the room for a small handwashing sink that you could benefit a lot from, then we recommend you install one. It keeps your kitchen in a far more hygienic state and helps lower the risk of bacterial diseases or food poisoning affecting you and your family.
So – is it a requirement to have a separate handwashing sink in your kitchen?
No, hand basins are only required by law in commercial kitchens where food is prepped before it is sold. If you run your own small business from your kitchen – like a small cake baking business – then you would need a separate sink for handwashing because you are preparing and selling food.
The reason commercial kitchens require a separate handwashing sink is because it helps reduce cross contamination and improves the overall hygiene of the kitchen area.
The rule of thumb is generally one handwashing sink per twenty feet of work space so make sure your kitchen complies with this rule before you open up a business from the comfort of your own kitchen.
Installing a handwashing sink in your kitchen is super easy as they can be very small – so if you have the space, try fitting one in and using it to keep you and your family safe from foodborne diseases.