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Definition of Slop Sink

Barbara Partyka

A slop sink is designed for use in filling and emptying scrub pails, rinsing out mops or soaking laundry. In commercial/industrial structures, slop sinks are usually found in a janitor’s closet or maintenance area. In residential structures you can find slop sinks in the garage, laundry room, kitchen, basement and even the back yard.


Busboy washing dishes in sink.

Slop sinks are not a new invention. Variations on the modern slop sink date back well over a century, to the days when indoor plumbing was first introduced. While the term "slop sink" has endured, it has also been known as a mop sink, bucket sink, laundry sink, butler's sink and utility sink. The early sinks were constructed of cast-iron with a glazed porcelain or earthenware finish.


Slop sinks are deep sinks typically set lower on the wall than a conventional sink. This is done to make it easier to lift a full scrub pail to or from the slop sink. Many older porcelain slop sinks are still in use, but newer slop sinks are made of fiberglass, plastic or stainless steel. Some slop sinks are set directly on the floor, and these models are not as deep as slop sinks attached to a wall. Like any other sink, slop sinks usually have faucets and a drain.

Commercial/Industrial Use

In commercial/industrial buildings, slop sinks can be found in janitor closets or other areas used by maintenance personnel to fill scrub pails. Once the cleaning has been completed, slop sinks are used to dispose of the dirty water. Slop sinks can also be used to rinse out mops or rags used in cleaning.

Residential Use

Slop sinks have numerous uses in a residence. They are a convenient way to soak clothes before washing, and because a slop sink has such deep sides, you can use it to clean large household items such as blankets, curtains or comforters. It's also the best place in the home for cleaning paint brushes, gardening tools or muddy boots. Many gardeners find their slop sink a convenient place for soaking large houseplants.


Because of the nature of its use, slop sinks should always be fitted with a strainer to prevent scrub brushes, bars of soap or small cleaning tools from going down the drain. If you use the slop sink to give your pet a bath, it's a good idea to utilize the same type fine hair-strainer you'd use in the bathtub or shower to prevent animal fur from clogging the drain pipe.