Portable Sink Maintenance: A Complete Guide

While there seems to be a lot of information floating around the internet regarding portable toilet maintenance, we noticed that there wasn’t much on portable sink maintenance. These welcome additions to many portable restrooms need to be cleaned and maintained with just as much care as the restrooms themselves, and in today’s Coronavirus context, you’ll need all the working handwash stations you can get.

There are essentially three main components that will need to be cleaned and maintained for optimal performance and safe use.

Before we dive into how to maintain these three parts, it should be mentioned that your water supply is of equal importance. The water for portable handwash stations is NEVER intended for drinking. Still, it needs to come from either a municipal water supply or a privately tested water system that is accredited.

What You Will Need

There are a few essential cleaning and sanitation materials and tools you will need to properly maintain your portable handwashing station. It should be noted that most of these tools should to be specified for certain uses and regularly cleaned.

  • Pumping wand
  • Buckets
  • Brushes
  • Towels
  • New hoses
  • Household bleach
  • Water solution
  • Disinfectant soap
  • Chlorine test strips
  • Chlorine bleach

Ok, now that you know everything that you will need to maintain your handwashing station, it’s time to get started. Let’s go through all of the components and how to keep them sanitary, along with some tips on how you can maintain your handwashing station in different environments.


We’re going to start the maintenance journey off with some instructions and tips on how to keep your hoses clean and in tip-top shape. First things first, you’re going to need to dedicate certain hoses for specific functions to prevent contamination.

For example, the hose you use to transport water to the tank from the faucet needs to be clean and only used for this specific purpose. In fact, we recommend that this is a new hose that is completely dedicated to this function. Always cap the ends to prevent any contamination.

To clean and sanitize your transfer hose, flush a 10% household bleach and water solution through. Do this regularly to prevent any sort of contamination or buildup. You should have a separate hose that transfers water into the handwashing station. The same cleaning procedure should be regularly performed on this hose as well.

Between any and all uses, hoses need to remain capped to prevent contamination. This is an important step and will save you trouble down the road. Prevention is your biggest defense when it comes to keeping your handwashing stations sanitary.

Transport Tanks

The next item on your cleaning agenda will be your transport tank(s). Any and all transport tanks need to be made from NSF or FDA rated coated metal, fiberglass, molded plastic — or stainless steel. It also needs to be rated to transport drinkable/potable water.

To clean your transport tank, pour 10% household bleach and water solution until it is nearly full. Use the motion of the vehicle to slosh and thoroughly disperse the cleaning solution throughout the tank. Leave the solution in the tank one hour and then clean thoroughly with fresh water.

Handwashing Station

As you may have guessed, cleaning your handwashing station will take a bit more effort and attention to detail than hoses or tanks. But with some extra elbow grease and a bit of preventative measure — you’ll be able to keep your handwashing stations in mint condition.

First, we’re going to go over how you can keep the water in your handwashing stations sanitary. There’s a bit of a science to this, so bear with us. For every gallon of water — you’ll need to add about 11 drops of household liquid chlorine bleach. This should give you just the right amount parts per million (ppm) of chlorine to kill off any microorganisms that may be present. Any more than the recommended 11 drops and you’ll begin to smell the chlorine.

Here’s where your chlorine test strips will be put to good use. Use these to test your chlorine ppm and stay between the 5-10 range for optimal performance.

When your handwashing stations are back at the yard, it’s a perfect time to give them a thorough cleaning. There are plenty of compartments, nooks, and crannies that will need some attention.

  1. Use disinfectant soap to clean the freshwater tank. Get rid of any soap scum, debris, mold, or dirt and then rinse out with clean water.
  2. Wash off all outside surfaces (basin, faucets, dispenser, pedals, etc.)
  3. Fill the freshwater compartment with 10% bleach solution
  4. Pump at least one quart of bleach water solution through each of the pumps on the handwashing station and leave the solution in for an hour
  5. Drain fresh tank and rinse out with fresh, clean water

Events and Routes

Popper Handwashing Station Hygiene_Portable Sink Maintenance

Special Events

For one day or weekend events where handwashing stations don’t make it back to the yard, you’ll still need to perform maintenance to ensure everyone’s health and safety. Suction out all the wastewater. Refill any soap dispenser or sanitizer dispensers as needed. Wash off all outside surfaces including the basin.

Check out the full Special Events Guide, here!

Service Routes

During service routes, you’ll need to suction out all the wastewater. Once the compartment is completely empty, perform an inspection. You’ll want to be on the lookout for any mold, algae, or buildup that may be lining the compartment. If you notice any of these, take it back to the yard for a more thorough cleaning.

Note: Any towels or brushes that are used for cleaning should only be used to clean one handwashing station. If a towel or brush is used to clean more than one station, you risk cross-contamination. If you can’t manage this, at least disenfect your tools between stations to make sure you dont spread contaminents.

Checks and Inspections

After every service, you’ll want to check each handwashing station. This is to evaluate the overall condition and make certain that there is no compromising damage to the station. Check for cracks in hoses that may allow debris or contamination to seep in. Inspect the station themselves to make sure there is no offensive graffiti. If there is any damage to crucial components, replace immediately.

Check out the Safe-T-Fresh graffiti remover here!

All stations should have warning labels that instruct users: Do not drink. You don’t want to risk any legal issues and the best way to prevent this is with clear warning labels. So, during your inspection make sure that these signs are still visible and intact.

There You Have It

Providing handwashing stations in addition to your portable restrooms is a great way to keep everyone safe and healthy. THese are some tips to help you maintain the sanitary conditions of your handwashing stations to ensure the highest hygienic standards.

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