Bars, pubs, nightclubs, restaurants, lounges, coffee shops and other beverage serving establishments have a high turnover of glassware that requires fast, efficient and impeccable cleaning. Owning a dedicated glass washer will help you keep your glassware clean, sanitized according to required local and governmental standards and always ready for the next customer even during the busiest times.
Glass washing machine is specifically designed to wash different types of glassware, such as beer mugs, wine and cocktail glasses and tumblers. It provides the perfect balance between gentle water flow and pressure needed to clean the glassware properly. In general, a commercial glass washer needs to be tough, easy-to-use, easy and inexpensive to clean and maintain, and long-lasting. Above all, it needs be consistent in delivering spotless results on day-to-day basis.
But, how to find such glass washer? Chem Mark, Inc. already helped you choose the best restaurant dishwasher and delivered the Ultimate Commercial Dishwasher Guide , and now we’ll help you choose the best bar glass washer.
Here are the 8 most important questions about commercial glass washers – answered!
#1 Why is machine-washing of your glassware better than handwashing?
Machine-washing will provide more protective conditions and far more superior results than washing your glassware manually, as the machine will remove a significantly larger number of germs, which will reduce health risks.
After a single day, a dishtowel can accumulate as much as 150,000 germs, so washing and polishing your glassware increases the risk of infections caused by e-coli, salmonella and streptococci.
Perhaps it may not seem like it but washing your glassware in a glass washer will save you energy, water, chemicals (especially if you have a chemical dispenser) and labor costs by 25-30%.
#2 Why get a glass washer and not clean glassware in a dishwasher?
Many of you might be wondering why you can’t just wash the glassware in your dishwasher, along with other washware. It might seem like a dishwasher and a glass washer are the same appliances, but they are not. Here’s why:
Dishwashers can break delicate glassware
Glass washers are designed to wash even the most delicate pieces of glassware. Delicate glasses tend to break in standard dishwashers, so it is recommended to rather wash them by hand in case a dishwasher is the only piece of warewashing equipment that you own. Thanks to their design, glass washers solve that problem.
Glass washers have faster cycle times
Since it takes far less time to clean glassware than dishware, glass washers have faster turnaround time than dishwashers. Small to medium-sized glass washers can wash between 200 and 1000 glasses every hour depending on the size, and the wash cycles are as fast as 2 minutes per load. Other glass washers can clean and sanitize up to 2000 glasses per hour, which is perfect for high-volume bars and restaurants, hotels and casinos.
Glass washers are better for glassware in the long run
Dishwashers use high temperatures for washing which can wear the glassware over time. Glass washers will take much better care of your glassware by using a combination of lower temperatures, mild detergent and short cleaning cycles.
Glass washers don’t leave streak marks
Since they use mild detergents, glasswashers don’t leave streak marks on glassware and therefore, deliver superior washing results. Dishwashers must use stronger detergents as they are designed to clean various tableware and crookery.
#3 What are key factors for obtaining satisfactory results from my glass washer?
- The Right Temperature – Ideal glass-washing temperature is around 130°F for washing and 140-160°F for rinsing. If the temperature is too low, the glass washer won’t remove the dirt and disinfect glassware properly. If set too high, it may corrode or break glasses. Detergents do perform better on high temperatures but be careful not to destroy glassware.
- The Right Washing Time – A wash cycle of about 60 seconds will be enough to wash a rack of 25 glasses. Washing times are reduced with right coordination of temperature, chemicals and mechanics.
- The Right Chemicals – Special detergents for glassware contain active ingredients that optimize the cleaning effect and protect the glass surface. Hygenic clean will depend on the right doses of the detergent and rinse aid.
- The Right Water Pressure – The right water pressure plays a key role in the cleaning result as it will lift and remove stubborn residues such as milk foam and dried fruit pulp.
- The Water Quality – Spotless washing requires that no water residues are left on the glass surface. Partial or full demineralization cartridges are used to remove minerals or salts from the water, while water softeners are used to prevent calcium scale buildup and protect machine components.
#4 Are there different types of glasswashers?
Yes, there are different types of commercial glass washers that are distinguished by the way they operate and the way they look.
For example, there are glass washers that take on a new load of water before each cleaning cycle, and glass washers that recycle used water. There are glasswashers that stand on legs and those that don’t, that can fit under counter or bar, and those that cannot. There are glass washers with front loading, pass-through and rotary glass washers. Some types are more energy and water efficient, some are less. Different types have different cycle times, are hot-temp or low-temp models, or they use both hot and cold water for rinsing.
You also need to think about the types of glassware that you use and whether you’ll need to wash dishes as well or not (in case you also serve food). Do you have custom or oddly shaped glasses that might not fit on a standard rack; or do you have delicate glassware such as champagne flutes? These are all factors that might narrow down your choices.
Here are some of the main glass washer types that you’ll need to get familiar with before you shop.
In Sink Glass Washers
These are the most basic glass washers suitable for small establishments with low turnaround. They are placed inside a sink (thus the name) and they use a combination of hot water and rotating brushes to clean the glasses.
Electric glass washers are an excellent alternative to quickly clean stacks of dirty glasses if there is no room behind the counter to place an undercounter glass washer. Electric glass washers might not be so efficient during busy times, such as happy hour, as the washing method is time-consuming, and the bartender might not always have time to wash all the glasses.
Important to know is that these glass washers are extremely demanding in terms of maintenance. If not cleaned frequently and thoroughly, you’ll risk the growth of all kinds or organisms and microorganisms at the bottom of the brush machine.
Undercounter Glass Washers
These look similar to the residential dishwashers. With 30-35 racks per hour, undercounter glass washers are suitable for mid-sized establishments or establishments that get very busy during specific hours of the day.
Although they have same consumption and technical specifications, undercounter glass washers are more expensive than the traditional ones because of their design. Namely, undercounter glass washers have a special design that allows them to fit inside the cabinet and disappear.
There are two types of undercounter glasswashers. They are both inserted in the cabinet, except the first one is no longer visible after the door gets closed and the second one remains visible.
Undercounter glasswashers usually have a built-in heating element that heats the rinse water used for sanitization to 180°F, but they do come as chemical sanitizing options as well.
Conveyor Glass Washers
The conveyor or pass through glass washers won’t probably ever be seen in a regular coffee shop or a bar due to their extreme capacity and size (4 or 6 ft. Models). With 400 racks per hour, conveyor glass washers are more suitable for large establishments such as cafeterias, hospitals or schools.
Much like conveyor dishwashers, a conveyor system moves glassware packed in baskets through the upper and lower wash system. Dirty items go inside on one end through a splash curtain and come out clean on the other side. The machines usually have both right-to-left and left-to-right operations as it delivers more efficiency and better positioning.
Specific requirements must be taken into consideration before the installation, especially when it comes to size, capacity and function.
There are also rotary-type or carousel glass washers that are of regular size and can fit under bar, but also use conveyor principle to move glasses clockwise or counterclockwise though upper and lower spray wash system.
#5 How to choose a glasswasher for your business?
Same as with commercial dishwashers, there are crucial factors to consider when buying a glass washer for your bar, restaurant or any other establishment that sees high glassware traffic.
Size, Capacity & Position
The size plays a major factor in choosing the right glass washer for your establishment, as you’ll be limited by the available space in your kitchen or behind the counter.
When determining the appropriate size of the glass washer and its possible position, don’t just think about the machine’s size; think about glass washer chemicals and the water softener unit (if your glass washer doesn’t have a built-in one) as well, as those will take up additional space. Make sure that there is enough room for your staff to pass by the machine when the door is open, or the machine is being loaded or unloaded.
A good tip that your staff will appreciate is to position your glass washer on a general purpose universal washer stand to raise the machine to a more convenient working height. This will increase the loading and unloading speed and will be easier on the knees and back of your staff members.
When determining the appropriate capacity, think about:
- The number of glasses that you need to wash;
- The length of an ideal wash cycle.
About 300-400 glasses per hour are more than enough for an average pub. However, this can differ from business to business and how busy it is. When thinking about the number of glasses, make sure you include your busiest times of the day or the week. Most important is to be able to deliver clean glassware during peak times.
The duration of a wash cycle represents glass washer’s wash speed in terms of racks per hour. Some glass washers have variable cycle times which can be useful when you need to extend the wash time (e.g. when using a glass renovator).
Glass Washer Noise Level
Glass washers often have a limited number of programs. The more programs and options they have, the more expensive they are. At the same time, glasswashers with multiple programs are also less noisy. This can be an important factor to consider if your bar, restaurant or hotel keeps the dishwasher close to customer area, especially is the noise produced by the customer is very little. In such cases it’s better to spend a bit more money and buy a better, quieter product.
Energy & Water Efficiency
You don’t have to be an eco-freak to know the importance of energy and water saving. Although saving the planet is important, lowering utility bills is something that is going to have direct impact on your expenses. Why not save money where you can and spend it to promote other areas of business?
This is why it is important to go with a manufacturer that is serious about the responsibilities to maximize energy efficiency. Pay attention to Watt or Kilowatt figures, but also compare them to the results the glass washer achieves – divide the Watt figure with the number of glasses washed per hour to get a figure for comparison.
Another factor to consider is the glass washer’s efficiency in resting state. You’ll find that your machine will often be switched on but not in use. Since it such as state it will also use energy to maintain its temperature, you might want to look for models that have insulated tanks and double skinned construction. Such machines are quieter, have excellent temperature maintenance and have fast start-up and recovery times.
Water efficiency is equally important, so look for models that fill quickly and have reduced water consumption.
Energy Star is a government-run agency that rates commercial glasswashers for their energy efficiency. Look for the Energy Star rating when getting a glasswasher, as the energy and water saving goes up to as much as 40%.
Before you get a glasswasher, check to see whether it is cold or hot fed. Cold water plumbing is simpler option in most of the cases, but it’s not always more energy efficient one. Namely, with this option the internal glasswasher heating element will need to heat the water up to the required temperature. You might also need a booster heater with is not necessary in case of hot water plumbing.
The way you are you are getting hot water can also make a difference as it can influence the water pressure. Namely, drawing hot water from a combination boiler can reduce the water pressure to other hot water appliances. This can be avoided by getting large hot water tanks.
In case you have an alternative way of heating water, such as by solar panel or you have a biomass boiler, the energy saving will make a bit more complex connecting process to hot water supply worth your while.
There is a wide variety of glasswashers on the market and there are numerous amazing technologies that can help you choose smarter. For example, some machines are designed to channel moisture out of the wash chamber by combining warm, dry air with an innovative airflow system. The result? Dry glasses and no steam facials.
Some glass washers introduced “glass shining” feature. Instead of making the glasses shine with a towel by hand, you can get a glass washer with an automatic cycle that removes excessive buildup of coverings and deposits (including minerals and food soil) that occurs during usage.
#6 What else do I need for my glass washer?
There are a lot of glasswasher accessories that you could or should get for your glass washer. We must point out that you don’t need to get everything from the list. Think about your requirements and you’ll find the best accessory for you.
These are designed to accommodate oddly shaped glassware and small items such as spatulas, breathers, pitchers and decanters, so that they could safely be washed together with your glasses.
The purpose of extra racks is to increase the machine’s capacity during the busiest times or seasons. There are all sorts of racks on the market and they are all specialized for different, specific types of glasses, such as the narrow-necked glasses otherwise difficult to wash in a regular dishwasher.
Detergent Dispenser Kit
Some glass washers have an automatic liquid soap dispenser and you’ll need to get one for those that doesn’t. The dispenser is convenient mostly because it increases efficiency.
It’s a good idea to get a rinse boost pump in case you have a slightly lower water pressure (28 psi). The purpose of a boost pump is to make sure the rinse arm rotates properly, and that the rinse cycle is effective.
High quality of washing and rinsing is especially important for glassware as impurities are easily spotted, and that’s what a booster pump is intended to provide.
In case your establishment is located in a hard-water area (which won’t be rare, since 85% of the US has hard water), you’ll need to get a water softener unit which to help you solve all hard-water issues.Learn more about why your business needs a commercial water softener and how it can help you get the most of your commercial dishwasher here.
#7 Is there a difference in washing different types of glasses?
Different types of glass have different properties and can, therefore, react differently to water pressure, temperature and chemicals. This is certainly something to take into consideration when choosing an appropriate glass washer.
Depending on the constitution, glass surface can be finely or coarsely pored, which influences glass durability. Glass with coarser pores has a large area for mineral buildup which may lead to glass corrosion and having clouded glasses. Glasses such as those large-bowled ones for red wine might get shattered if subjected to sudden temperature changes.
Glasses most suitable for machine washing have a low glass mass, have wide openings, smooth, dense surfaces and stability when placed upside-down, and no indentations, thickened rims or heavily deepened dips at the base.
#8 How can I get the most of my glass washer?
Commercial glass washer is an excellent piece or equipment that will do most of the work for you. However, don’t expect not to get involved to a certain extent in case you want to obtain superior results with each wash.
Tips for Proper Maintenance
- In case your glass washer uses recycled water, make sure you drain and change the water manually at the end of each work day. During busy times, you might need to do this twice per shift.
- Check the glass washer temperature at least once a day. This is crucial to maintaining a temperature that is ideal for delivering satisfactory results. Namely, if the temperature gets too high, it can damage your glassware, and if it gets too low the glass washer will deliver poor washing results with can cause some health and safety compliance issues.
- Always check the manufacturer’s recommendations or contact your supplier regarding the glass washer detergent. A wrong detergent can create streak marks or damage your glassware.
- Don’t skip regular scheduled maintenance appointments, as it guarantees maximum performance and avoids unexpected repairs that can cause downtime. Easier maintenance tasks can be performed by your staff, but for more complicated tasks you are going to need to hire a professional. Make sure the repair person is well familiar with the brand of your equipment.
- Always check the manufacturer’s manual to make sure which types of glassware can and which cannot be washed in your glass washer. There are some machines that don’t work well with crockery, ashtrays and crystal glassware, so make sure you are familiar with these limitations eve before you get a new glass washer.
- Always leave the glass washer door open overnight, as this will prevent harmful bacteria and other harmful microorganisms from developing and growing in the moisture environment of a sealed glass washer.