Do you ever wonder what grows down in your sink? Sink drains are a notorious source of contamination, especially in food manufacturing and processing plants and restaurants. Just take a minute to think about your drains. Absolutely everything gets flushed down them, and where does it all go? Not only should we consider what we put down the drain and how it will affect the water stream, but we also need to consider what will linger, grow and resurface in our sinks. The tips we offer here address environmentally preferable ways to manage your kitchen sink drains, and the proper method for cleaning and sanitizing them for public health. 

Cross Contamination Concerns

Recent discoveries in food service and health care facilities are exposing the high risk of bacteria transfer and contamination through sink drains. Water from the tap often splashes onto the hands and skin of workers (before and after washing), transferring bacteria to multiple surfaces. The user then unknowingly and innocently spreads those germs throughout the facility.  This exemplifies the need for regular sanitizing of kitchen drains in order to maintain the highest standards of public health and safety in your food processing facility or kitchen.

Process and Frequency

How often should you sanitize your drains? As often as you clean your sinks, in reality. In a restaurant setting, just think of the raw meat and other contaminants that touch your sink. If you rinse the sink after use, where did those contaminants just go? You guessed it, down the drain. 

If you aren’t sanitizing your drains regularly, they will develop a biofilm. A biofilm is a coating of bacteria and other organisms that form a layer over a surface. You do not want to get to the point where your drains have a biofilm, because biofilms can be resistant to sanitizing procedures. 

Using a high-quality, non-toxic product to sanitize your drains will ensure that you kill the contaminants and germs living there without corroding your drainage and plumbing system. The type of product really does make a big difference in the process. Never use a high-pressure rinse or vigorous scrubbing on your drains because this process can stir up contaminants. 

More Tips for Sanitizing Your Drains

• To ensure the drain trap contains only water, flush drain with water before use

• Pour the appropriate dose of powder into drain. If a drain grate prevents powder from entering, flush with minimal water

• For floor drains, or if no foam is observed in the pipe, add a small volume of water after the product has been applied

• Let stand for 5 minutes before rinsing with water

Look Out for the Environment

The contaminants (and chemicals) you send down your drains can potentially pollute our rivers, lakes and streams. Detergents, food waste and oils and greases are the biggest pollutants coming from foodservice and processing facilities. By following a few simple procedures with your food handling, cleaning and purchasing processes you can ensure that your facility is protecting our precious water stream.

Never pour fats, oils or grease into your sink or floor drain, or any other drain that leads into a sewer system. Fats, oils and grease are extremely harmful to the animals that live in and near rivers and lakes. Allow these substances to solidify, and then dispose of them with a permitted waste grease hauler. You may also use a grease trap or interceptor to ensure that wastewater containing fats, oils and grease does not unintentionally go down your drain.

Check the ingredient lists on your dish detergents and drain cleaners. Many chemicals used in drain cleaners can be corrosive for your plumbing while also damaging to the environment. Microplastics from certain dishwashing detergents have been accumulating in the oceans at an alarming rate. To find dishwashing detergents that are environmentally responsible, look for third party certifications such as ECOLOGO, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Safer Choice program and Health Canada. These certifications are intended to help consumers find products that are safe for the environment and effective, too. Look for sanitizing products without dyes and fragrances, which are unnecessary in the sanitizing process but instead have harmful effects on the environment when released into our water stream.

About Our Drain Sanitizing Product

Our ServClean® Drain CLA powder formulation is a dye-free, fragrance-free sanitizer intended for use in drains that instantly cleans, sanitizes and eliminates odours. On contact with the water in your drain trap, this product expands to cover all surfaces above, below and in the trap, leaving behind clean, sanitary, odour free drains. This specially formulated powder was developed for ease of use while maintaining worker health and safety and peak efficacy. Product expands deep in the drains, dislodging bacteria and organic substances allowing them to safely be flushed away.