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Getting the Most Out of Your Commercial Dishwasher with Proper Care

Nov 13 2018 - 9:37am
The commercial dishwasher is one of the most expensive pieces of equipment in your kitchen, that's why it's important to keep it in tip-top shape if you want to prevent costly and time-consuming disruptions in your restaurant.

Follow the steps listed below to ensure that your commercial dishwasher is always working at its best. Or contact a commercial dishwasher supplier to help guide you in the right direction.

Basic Types of Commercial Dishwashers

Conveyor Type Dishwashers

Large and heavy-duty, the conveyor type dishwashers are ideal for high-volume foodservice operations, such as buffets, school cafeterias, hospitals, fast food restaurants, catering and more. A typical conveyor type dishwasher is comprised of different compartments where tableware are pre-washed, washed, and dried. Flight type, rack type, and special purpose are the three types of dishwashers.

Door Type Dishwasher

The door type dishwasher is suitable for mid-volume foodservice operations, such as hotel restaurants, hospital cafeterias, casual or family-style restaurants, fine dining restaurants and more. A typical door type dishwasher can handle up to 36 racks per hour. It is available in corner or straight-through units.

Undercounter Dishwashers 

Undercounter dishwashers are compact yet heavy-duty machines that are ideal for bars, pubs, cafes, and other similar food service establishments. As the name suggests, it can be stowed under a bar or cafe counter, giving bartenders and baristas easy access to glassware and plates during peak operating hours.

High- or Low-Temperature Dishwashers?

Commercial dishwashers are available in either high- or low-temperature units. High-temperature dishwashers use exceedingly high-temperature water to clean and rinse your dishes, cutlery, glasses, and cups. Wash temperature can get as high as 71 degrees Celsius (160 degrees Fahrenheit). Rinse temperature, on the other hand, can reach up to 82 degrees Celsius (180 degrees Fahrenheit). But this does not mean that this type of dishwasher does not use detergent or rinsing chemicals. Chemical sanitisers, however, are not necessary when tableware are washed in high-temperature dishwashers. Glasses, plates, and cutlery also dry faster when they are washed in these types of machines.

If you are planning to purchase a low-temperature dishwasher, be aware that you will have to use chemical sanitisers to ensure that the tableware are thoroughly sanitised. Low-temperature dishwashers wash plates, glasses, and other tableware between 48 to 60 degrees Celsius (120 to 140 degrees Fahrenheit). This temperature range is not enough to completely sanitise your tableware, so it needs to be reinforced with a chemical sanitiser.

Proper Maintenance: The Trick to Making the Most Out of Your Commercial Dishwasher

Whichever machine you choose, it is best to conduct preventive maintenance so you can get the most out of your commercial dishwasher. Read on below to know how you can take care of your commercial dishwasher and prolong its life. 

  • Before you begin using the dishwasher, make sure that you read its manual thoroughly. Follow the installation instructions set by the manufacturer, as well as the correct water supply, pressure, and temperature for optimum dishwasher operation.
  • Instruct your kitchen crew how to properly use and clean the machine. 
  • Use water softeners if the foodservice business is located in a hard water area. Water softeners prevent unsightly limescale buildup around the dishwasher parts, as well as on cutlery and glasses. 
  • Remove all scraps of food and grease left behind on the dishes. You can do this by scraping and dunking the dish in water or by using a pre-rinse spray unit.
  • To remove bits of food left behind on cutlery, it is best to pre-soak them in water mixed with a pre-soak compound. Before washing the cutlery, ensure that there is enough space in the container for all the spoons, forks, and knives so that the water and detergent can pass through the spaces.
  • Use the right type of detergent and other compounds for your machine for optimum performance. Consult a trusted chemical supplier when shopping for the right type of detergent, sanitiser, and rinse aid for your dishwasher. Stay away from compounds that contain chlorine as the chemical can damage the machine and its dispensing system.
  • Drain and clean the machine at the end of the day. Clean the wash and rinse spray arms with water. Gently clear the jets using a paperclip or a toothpick. Never use metallic scrubbing pads to clean any part of the machine's interior. Pour mild detergent on a soft cloth, and use it to wipe the interior and the exterior of the machine. Never hose down the exterior of the dishwasher with water. Reassemble the rinse and wash spray arms, and dry the machine by leaving it open overnight.
  • If your business or foodservice facility is located in a hard water area and you notice that a hazy and chalky substance has accumulated in your dishwasher, then have it delimed regularly. Before deliming your machine, consult your professional chemical supplier first.  Some deliming solutions can irritate your skin, so make sure that you wear personal protective equipment when you handle such chemicals. Please note: Never mix deliming solutions with chlorine bleach or sodium hypochlorite disinfectant as the resulting fumes can be dangerous. Other chemical compounds that should never be mixed with deliming solutions are fluorine, iodine, chlorine, and bromine. 
  • Conduct daily maintenance to ensure that your machine will keep on working as it should. Check all the rinse and wash arm spray jets and clean these parts daily. Ensure that the drain is free from anything that might clog it. Ensure that the water supply is on, and check the machine's temperature display daily. Check detergent, sanitiser, and rinse aid containers, and refill when necessary. Throw away damaged dish racks. 
  • A weekly maintenance is necessary to keep your machine in good condition. When conducting weekly maintenance, begin by looking for water leaks beneath the machine and the water lines. Delime the wash tank heating element. Check if the spray arms and scrap screens are damaged and replace when necessary.

Give your commercial dishwasher supplier or an authorised service agent a call for an annual inspection. Although you and your kitchen crew take utmost care when handling the dishwasher, there are some things that only a trained eye can spot. Prevent costly repairs and save time by having your commercial dishwasher inspected annually.  

Provided by Alex from Warewashing Solutions.

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