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What Are Portable Sinks and How Do They Work?

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What are portable sinks?

Portable sinks provide hand washing stations with hot and cold running water for use in environments without access to plumbing or running water. You simply unpack, place in the desired location, fill with water and plug them in. Some models are available with battery or propane power so they can be operated without electricity.

The above image is a great example of a typical portable sink.

  • Portable, on wheels
  • Locking cabinet
  • Instant hot water
  • 110V, 20A Circuit
  • No cross contamination
  • 5 gallon fresh water
  • 6 gallon wastewater
  • All metal bottom
  • NSF certified

How do portable sinks work? 

Portable sinks are extremely simple to set up and operate. You simply remove the portable sink from its packaging, roll the mobile sink into the desired location using its wheels, fill the fresh water tank from a tap and plug the portable sink into a standard electrical outlet. Some models are available with battery or propane power so they can be operated without electricity.  Within the cabinet, there is a fresh and a waste water tank. For warm water sinks, there is an electric water heater and pump within the cabinet. The tanks are easy to connect/disconnect when it's time to refill the fresh water and empty out the wastewater tank.The fresh and waste water tanks have different connecting mechanisms so they cannot be inadvertently switched. The waste water tank can be emptied into any drain.  We offer extra tanks to make the sink more convenient to  quickly change out the tanks. 

Where can portable sinks be used?

You can use portable sinks just about anywhere. The portability and mobility of self-contained sinks make them an ideal solution for medical offices and classrooms where plumbing is either not available or would be cost prohibitive.

Common applications for portable sinks include:

Cabinetry, Décor and Basins

Self-contained sinks come in attractive cabinet styles of your choosing. Jonti-Craft’s maple laminate cabinets are made with Phthalate and Lead Free Melamine and FDA approved plastic counter tops. The sink basins can be ordered in plastic or stainless steel.

Monsam portable sinks are made with a wide range of cabinet options and color choices which allows you to select the right option for your décor. In addition to single basin portable sinks, Monsam has 2 basin, 3 basin and even 4 basin mobile sinks.

Portable Sinks for Classrooms

Jonti-Craft is an outstanding manufacturer of children's furniture and school products, so these portable sinks are great for classroom settings. The cabinets have a locking mechanism that can be turned with a coin or similar object to keep children out of the cabinet, but make it simple for an adult to access the interior. Monsam and Ozark River offer excellent portable sinks for classroom use. Ozark River offers durable, attractive child height sinks and a changing station. Monsam offers single, double and triple basin sinks as well as a science lab with sink, mobile classroom kitchen, changing station and ADA compatible portable hand washing sink. Many of our classroom sinks come on child-friendly heights of 20"-26". We offer step-stools as well to allow younger children to safely access the sink. 

Portable Sinks for Professional Settings

Ozark River portable sinks are made with stainless steel, white on black cabinetry. Several models have extra counter space. Their sleek design works extremely well in professional offices, medical facilities, spas and salons as well as food service locations visible to customers. These portable sink units are available with either single basin or three basin sinks.

Mobility

The majority of portable sink units are on casters, many with locking mechanisms, which makes the sink easily moveable to where the need is. The wheels allow the user to move the sink within a room or even between rooms.

Water tanks

Within the cabinet, there is a fresh and a waste water tank. The tanks are easy to connect/disconnect when it's time to refill the fresh water and empty out the waste water tank. The fresh and waste water tanks have different connecting mechanisms so they cannot be inadvertently switched. The portable sink tanks are made from plastic and are easy to remove and replace. The tanks come in varying sizes based on the manufacturer and the style of portable sink, generally ranging from 5 to 7 gallons.

They are sufficient for 40 to 80 or more hand washes, depending on the size of the tank. We sell fill and roll kits which provide a wheeled platform to allow you to roll the tanks to the fresh water and wastewater locations without having to carry them.

Set up and Operation

Within most portable hand washing sink cabinets is an electric water heater and pump to give you hot and cold running water where you need it. Roll the mobile sink to the desired location and plug the unit into an outlet. Allow the heater to warm up and then test the water pressure and temperature. Generally, the water heater will heat the water up to 40 degrees above room temperature and are adjustable. See each portable sink's description and features for individual unit specifications as its temperature varies by manufacturer and sink model. Some models are available with battery powered or propane powered pump and heater. Cold water only models often have foot operated pumps not requiring power.

Options and Accessories

Accessories and options vary by portable sink manufacturer and model, including goose neck faucets and deeper sink basins to facilitate portable sink usage for food service operations, where a deep basin is necessary for larger cookware. We also carry electric foot powered switches and hands free motion sensitive faucets which help conserve water. Sanitizer kits are available to help keep your portable hand washing sink clean and hygienic.

Step up stools are made with either one or two steps to help younger children get up to the higher adult height portable sinks.

Extra fresh water and waste water tanks are available to allow a quick change of tanks during a busy period of handwashing without having to go to a water source. Just have the extra tanks near your hand wash station and make it easy to quickly switch them out.

Fill kits have a dolly on wheels on which two tanks fit. Roll the tanks to the clean and waste water areas without having to lift them. In addition, a filling tube allows you to fill the fresh water tank without the need to raise it up to a faucet.

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  • Rick Fumo