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As a food lover, you know hygiene is essential in food preparation.

However, did you know that the temperature of the water you use to sanitize your utensils can make a big difference in keeping your food safe?

In this post, we’ll explore the minimum water temperature for utensil sanitization, why it’s important, and how to ensure you’re using the correct temperature.

What is the minimum water temperature for sanitizing utensils?

The minimum temperature for sanitizing utensils is 100°F (38°C) or higher. Higher temperatures are recommended. Warmer temperatures can also help speed up the sanitization process.

To ensure the correct temperature for your utensils and dishes, you should have reliable equipment that can accurately measure the water temperature — preferably one with adjustable settings to boost heat when necessary.

Cold water cannot kill all bacteria and germs that may be present on utensils and dishes, so it’s important to ensure you consistently maintain the proper minimum temperature while sanitizing them.

Tip: Use a thermometer to measure the water temperature accurately.

Mistake: Assuming that hot water is always hot enough to sanitize utensils.

According to the FDA Food Code, the minimum water temperature for sanitizing utensils is 171°F (77°C) for at least 30 seconds.

Why is minimum water temperature important for utensil sanitization?

The minimum water temperature for utensil sanitization is important because it plays a key role in the effectiveness of the sanitizing process.

Hotter water will kill more bacteria and microorganisms. Even smaller particles, such as food particles, can be eliminated with chemical sanitizers or a solution.

Boiling hot water sanitation can also eliminate grease and oils that may have come into contact with utensils to ensure they are properly cleaned and safe for use.

In short, the minimum water temperature required for proper utensil sanitization ensures that all harmful bacteria, germs, and other microorganisms are eliminated, so your family’s health is not at risk when they dine with you!

Tip: Use the minimum water temperature to effectively kill harmful bacteria and viruses.

Mistake: Relying solely on soap and water to clean utensils.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), nearly 50% of foodborne illness outbreaks are linked to restaurants.

In 2015, a Norovirus outbreak at a Boston Chipotle was linked to inadequate utensil sanitization. Additionally, a study by the University of Arizona found that 1 in 4 reusable utensils was contaminated with harmful bacteria after being washed in a dishwasher.

These examples show the importance of using the correct water temperature to keep your utensils clean and safe.

How can you ensure you use the minimum water temperature for utensil sanitization?

Warm water is necessary when sanitizing utensils and surfaces in a commercial kitchen.

The minimum water temperature should be around 74℃ (165℉) for effective sanitizing.

Additionally, the contact time – the length of time the utensils or surface area is exposed to the warm water – must be at least one minute for germs and bacteria to be wiped out.

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Finally, proper handwashing procedures must be followed by all food handlers exposed to food or the public. This includes washing your hands with soap and warm water for at least 20 seconds before handling food.

Furthermore, it’s important in a commercial kitchen setting that a designated sanitizing sink is available where dishes can be washed with hot soapy water and immersed for one minute in hot (74℃/165℉) sanitizing liquid.

Tip: Use a dishwasher with a sanitizing cycle or a three-compartment sink with a sanitizing solution.

Mistake: Not using a dishwasher or sanitizing solution and relying on handwashing only.

According to the National Restaurant Association, nearly 50% of restaurants have invested in commercial dishwashers in the last year.

A restaurant in New York City uses a three-compartment sink with a sanitizing solution for utensils, while a study by NSF International found that 99% of commercial dishwashers effectively sanitized utensils when used correctly. These examples show practical solutions for using the correct water temperature for utensil sanitization.


In conclusion, ensuring that you use the minimum water temperature for utensil sanitization is crucial for keeping your food safe.

Using a thermometer, understanding why the correct water temperature is important, and investing in the right equipment, you can take practical steps to ensure your utensils are sanitized correctly.

Don’t let inadequate utensil sanitization compromise the safety of your food – take action today!

Want to know the secret to delicious, barista-quality coffee at home? Investigate the differences between steam and pump espresso machines in our comprehensive guide and unlock the perfect coffee brewing method for you!


Can Wooden Utensils go in the Dishwasher

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While some wooden utensils may survive a spin in the dishwasher, others may not. It really depends on the type of wood and the quality of the utensil.

In general, it’s best to avoid putting wooden utensils in the dishwasher altogether. The high temperatures and harsh detergents can cause the wood to warp, split, and lose its natural finish.

If you must clean your wooden utensils in the dishwasher, choose a gentle cycle and use a dishwasher-safe wood cleaner. And always remember to immediately remove them from the dishwasher and dry them thoroughly to prevent any damage.

But, let’s be honest, the best way to keep your wooden utensils in tip-top shape is to wash them by hand with warm water and mild soap.

Not only will this protect their longevity, but it will also give you a sense of satisfaction that you’re taking care of something special.