If you run or own a commercial kitchen you probably know too well how important a commercial dishwasher is to your business. Your kitchen relies on it and uses it heavily on daily basis, which, although extremely beneficial, will also cause wear and tear and eventually – failure.
Since it is both one of the most expensive and crucial pieces of equipment in your kitchen, it is in your best interest to take good care of it, take necessary measures to prevent breakage and prolong its lifespan as much as possible.
Cleaning your commercial dishwasher and providing regular maintenance are key for keeping the dishwashing equipment in top-operating condition and making sure it operates with optimum efficiency. Not only will the regular maintenance minimize future issues, but it will also enable you to spot damaged or broken parts easier and much early on.
Tackling smaller issues before they become huge and serious will substantially lower the repair costs and avoid costly equipment replacements. One capital investment in such an important piece of equipment is more than a lot of businesses can handle; the necessity for another one can mean a great setback or even a complete disaster.
In this article we’ll present 8 tips to help you properly take care of your commercial dishwasher which will prolong your machine’s lifespan even with heavy daily use.
Tip #1: Scrape Off Food Debris from Dishes
Everyone working in a busy kitchen knows how hectic it can get, but even during the busiest times everyone should always do their best to take care of the dishwasher. One of the things your staff could do to help prolong the dishwasher’s lifespan is to always scrape off food debris from the washware before it’s placed inside the dishwasher. Quickly rinsing the dishes as well would be ideal.
This kind of preventive maintenance will minimize the amount of food debris and oily residue that enters the dishwasher together with the dishware and prevent large chunks of food entering the dishwasher system and causing issues such as clogging the filter, the nozzles, getting caught on wash arms, etc.
Tip #2: Always Follow the Manual
Regardless if putting together a bookshelf or performing a conveyor maintenance, we often feel like we can figure everything out on our own, without going through the manual. But we often can’t, and we often shouldn’t even try performing such a serious task as commercial dishwasher maintenance without following the manufacturer’s specifications.
You could do a lot to cause the things to go wrong, so take your time and read the manual if you are really going to commit yourself to doing this. You wouldn’t want to use a wrong chemical that would corrode your rinse arms and pipes or result in irreparable dishwasher failure, now would you?
Having each staff member going through the manual could be a waste of time. Better yet, help come up with short, easy-to-read instruction tailored specifically for employees handling maintenance and pin it somewhere close to the dishwasher.
Tip #3: Regularly Check Chemicals
Rinse aid, detergent and sanitizer are most important chemicals used by a commercial dishwasher, because they are responsible for having sparkly clean and well sanitized dishes. Low or high concentrations can cause issues that your customers will notice and won’t appreciate, so make sure you check the chemical levels every day, ideally before starting a cycle.
Here’s just one example of what can happen in case rinse aid levels are not appropriate: low rinse aid concentrations won’t properly dry the warewash, causing visible water droplets and streaks on the surface; on the other hand, high rinse aid concentrations will again cause visible stains, such as rainbow colors, bubble marks and streaks.
Tip #4: Regularly Inspect Dish Racks
You’ll need to regularly inspect dish racks for any chipping caused by the constant use. The racks are usually either painted or coated for protection and damaged racks can cause quite a few issues.
Namely, the chipped pieces of covering and rust can clog the filter or even damage the dishwasher’s pump; damaged racks are difficult to use and expensive to replace, and so on. You can either coat the damaged areas with a waterproof food-grade paint, or simply purchase new racks every time you notice damage (prices for dishracks range from about $10 to more than $100 depending on the type and size/number of compartments & extenders).
Tip #5: Clean the Filter at Least Every 20 Cycles
You should regularly check your filter and look of any food particles or gunk. Food waste can block the filter, prevent drainage, cause poor cleaning results and create odors. You can avoid these issues by cleaning the filter at least every 20 cycles (heavier washing requires more frequent cleaning).
The filter should be cleaned with a soft brush under running water, sometimes a toothpick can be used to remove stubborn food particles. Just make sure you never beat the filter against anything to remove the impurities as it will surely damage it.
Tip #6: Replace Tank Water Twice a Day
A good tip for always having better cleaning results is to empty and refill the tank with fresh water twice a day or at least every 20 wash cycles. To be more efficient you can change the tank water at the same time as you clean the filter.
Clean water will deliver cleaner dishes every time and cleaning the interior of the tank can help prevent bacteria growth. Besides, leaving the water in the tank overnight, can cause the machine to stop and draw filthy water.
Tip #7: Clean the Inside of the Dishwasher Daily
The purpose of a commercial dishwasher is to support speedy kitchen traffic by quickly cleaning large number of dishes. Being a cleaning device doesn’t mean that the dishwasher doesn’t need cleaning as well. Moreover, if the dishwasher isn’t cleaned regularly, the warewash can’t be cleaned well and sanitized either.
Since a lot of the food particles don’t make it into the drain, but stay inside the dishwasher, it is recommendable to establish a daily cleaning procedure to extend the life of your dish machine, prevent downtime and prevent bacterial growth.
You should always follow the manufacturer’s cleaning best practices for each commercial dishwasher type, but there are general cleaning procedures that apply to all types of dish machines.
Tip #8: Have a Dishwasher Technician on Hand
Have a qualified technician stop by your kitchen at least once a year for an annual checkup. Maintenance to a certain extent can be done in-house and should be done daily or weekly by staff members, but serious tasks require expertise.
The certified commercial dishwasher technician should inspect the machine and check the condition of the components, clean the solenoid valve filter, descale the dishwasher in case of a lime buildup, make sure the chemical dispensers are operating properly, check the tightness of the seals, diagnose hidden problems, replace parts in case of damage and so on.
Bonus Tip: Consider Renting or Leasing
The benefits of getting a dishwasher rental or a commercial dishwasher lease are plenty for you to choose one of the two options over making a purchase.
The first and most important benefit of a lease or a rental is that you wouldn’t need to worry about coming up with a substantial amount of money to make the purchase in the first place (dishwasher prices range from about $3,000 for the undercounter model to $6,000 for the high-temp door type to $10,000 for a conveyor, and these are just the lowest rates).
The second benefit is that the lease and rental deals typically include initial equipment installation, regular service and maintenance. The dishwasher professionals would take care of both thorough annual checkups and more regularly scheduled maintenance that would enable them to tackle all issues early on, all repairs and replacements.
Commercial Dishwasher Leasing Services include:
- Keep your commercial dishwasher in top-notch condition
- Reduce emergency breakdowns
- Help you get the most value out of your dishwasher
- Help you save time & money for your business
- Provide regular chemical refills
- Provide 24/7/365 emergency repair & support