ServSafe - Going Straw-free? Review these Glassware Cleaning Guidelines

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Going Straw-free? Review these Glassware Cleaning Guidelines

Going Straw-free? Review these Glassware Cleaning Guidelines

More and more restaurants are moving away from using plastic straws because of their negative impact on the environment. The no-straw trend has highlighted the need to always ensure that glassware is clean, properly sanitized, and properly handled to avoid contamination.  

Improperly cleaned or handled glassware can spread viruses and bacteria such as streptococcus, staph, and E. coli. Clean glassware is crucial to food safety; it’s important to review these tips and guidelines with staff for washing, storing, and handling glassware:

Use a Commercial Glass Washer

Commercial glass washers are purpose-built to quickly and efficiently clean glassware for high turnover. Glass washing machines that rely on chemicals require specific temperatures and requirements for sanitizing, while high temperature machines use hot water to properly sanitize glassware. Be sure you know and follow the manufacturer’s specifications for the glass washer in your establishment.

Even if you have a commercial glass washer, you are still required to have a three-compartment sink.

Use a Three-compartment Sink

The three-compartment sink method is how many high-turnover bars and restaurants clean and sanitize glassware. When used properly, this system reduces pathogens that can make your guests sick. Compartments should be cleaned and sanitized every day and should be emptied and cleaned every four hours, or sooner if needed.  Before using this method, be sure that glassware has been emptied and pre-rinsed to remove any debris inside the glass.

Your three-compartment sink setup should include appropriate drain boards of adequate size for both the dirty and clean glassware on either side.

  • The first compartment should contain warm soapy water that shall be maintained at not less than 110 degrees F, or the temperature specified on the cleaning agent manufacturer’s label instructions.
  • The second compartment should hold clean, warm water not to exceed 120 degrees for rinsing. Rinse water should be changed any time it appears soapy or dirty.
  • The third compartment should contain the proper concentration of sanitizer as required by the food code depending on what sanitizer is being used. An example would be a chlorine or quaternary solution for sanitizing and killing microbes. 

Before you put glassware up to dry, make sure it’s free of lipstick and grease – two items that can be difficult to remove when hand washing.

Air Dry

After sanitizing, place clean glassware upside down on approved drain board specifically designed to allow air circulation inside the glass.

When Air Drying, never:

  • use bar towels to dry glassware as towels can decontaminate clean glasses
  • stack glasses; stacking can trap water and allow bacteria to reproduce
  • store clean glasses on a serving area such as a bar top
  • pick up clean glasses by the rim, or you’ll risk contaminating them with bacteria from your hands

With the use of plastic straws on the decline, it’s essential to review proper glassware handling guidelines with your staff. Visit for more training, including food handler and manager training that specifically covers warewashing, sanitizing, storage, and handling of glassware.