Homepage Forums Scouts BSA Wash, Sanatize, Rinse

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    • #58085
      Michael Limmer

      In the newest edition of the Boy Scout Handbook in the cooking section, page 308 there is a section on cleaning pots. A big change is how dishes are cleaned. We have always used a hot water wash, hot water rinse, and a tepid temperature sanitizer. Now the handbook is calling for a hot wash, cold rinse with sanitizer, and then a hot water rinse. I spoke with my sister-in-law who works in a county health department and she affirmed the wash, rinse, sanitize format. Any ideas of why the change, and what if the area health departments insist on the old way?

    • #58088
      Linn Laage


      Sorry I don’t have a copy of the latest manual. Are you sure you are reading it correctly?

      Google up EcoLab and National Food Service Management Institute. They (and the state inspectors for our VFW Post) like and insist on the old way. The rinse removes all or most soap which can stop bleach actions. Thats why the sanitize step is last. Unless you are using high temp to sanitize but I never saw a Troop that had extra very hot water.

      Now the new hot wash, cold rinse with sanitizer, followed by hot rinse might work if you get the last hot rinse temp to 171 deg F and soak for 30 sec. The sanitizer is degraded but not needed.

      Must be a typo. Perhaps national has an explanation but the state and county health departments trump the BSA Handbook every time.

    • #58232

      “Hot water” for dish washing is nothing but a health risk. I’ve seen dozens of scalded hands when the wash-water is made too hot from scouts and scouters alike.

      As noted above, “heat” doesn’t sanitize the dishes unless it reaches 171 degrees and maintains contact for X amount of time, so can we please dispense with this nonsense of “hot water” for washing dishes (or delivering babies). “WARM’ water is more than enough to soften & remove food residue before a cold rinse and then sanitizing.

      Since it’s totally impractical to HEAT SANITIZE dishes at camp, the only remaining option is CHEMICAL (bleach water @ 2 tsp/gallon), which EVAPORATES in proportion to the temperature of the water, so the hotter the bleach water, the shorter the potency. Since the sanitizing is a chemical wash, a best practice would be for it to be done with cold water and then leave dishes to air dry or towel dried after 2 minutes of “contact time”.

    • #58347
      Mark Cleland

      I just ran across the WASH-SANITIZE-RINSE issue. I am a Registered Environmental Health Specialist/Registered Sanitarian through the National Environmental Health Association, formerly certified as a ServeSafe instructor, and have over 7 years experience conducting food safety inspections. I was surprised when I came across the WASH-SANITIZE-RINSE procedure in the 2015 Boy Scout Handbook. I believe the Handbook is in error. I have not been able to find any information that contradicts the practice of WASH-RINSE-SANITIZE elsewhere.

      The reason to WASH-RINSE-SANITIZE is based on water chemistry. The ability for chlorine sanitizers is pH dependent. Soap is alkaline and will raise the pH. As the pH rises, less of the sodium hypochlorite dissociates in solution. This reduces the bleach’s ability to sanitize because it keeps the bleach locked up in less effective form. The rinse step in the middle removes the soap and prevents the soap from raising the pH in the sanitizer solution. This allows the sanitizer to be more effective.

    • #59607

      So glad I am not the only one struggling with this! Every camp out we have the debate.

    • #61900
      Tom Linton

      Checked with local (Ohio) public health officials and heard the same as the above posters.

      Past time for a correction in Boys’ Life and Scouting. Mistakes will happen, but trustworthy is more important.

    • #63967
      Randall Reed

      Coincidentally, on our camping trip this past weekend, one of the other Scouters mentioned how it was a surprise that the 3-tray regimen had been quietly changed in the most recent Handbook. Since I no longer read each edition of the BSHB cover-to-cover anymore, this point had escaped me. None of us could figure what prompted the change in thinking at National, except to note that the possibility of being prompted by a lawsuit was not beyond the realm of possibility. Barring that obvious trigger, the only thing we could come up with was that there might be some new sensitivity to the use of chemical sanitizers, household chlorine bleach, being on cookware that Scouts might handle before completely drying… I dunno, I like what the guys above said. They seem to have adequate credentials to give informed opinion.

    • #65744
      Michael Limmer

      If using bleach, the important thing to teach everyone is how little is needed. The key is the exposure time. The longer the soak is the less bleach one needs to have effective sanitation. We use a cap full or less for the quick (couple of seconds) soaking that most people give their dishes. When I worked in restaurants we would use a capful in those large 3 compartment sinks and keep the dishes in there for three minutes and then let them air dry.

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