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Dishwashing: Standards and Procedures
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Dishwashing: Standards and Procedures
Date: 09-03-2017

Cleaning Solutions middle east

In the Talking Point article introducing this series, we argued that dishwashing is a strategic asset for the busy UAE restaurant. With tableware being reused multiple times a day, food premise operators have a duty of care to customers, ensuring that the plates, cups, glasses and cutlery used are germ free, safe and clean. 

As municipalities across the region begin to impose more stringent food premise hygiene standards, efficient and effective dish and glass washing has become critical. Below we provide clear advice on some of the key success factors to consider. The critical role played by the cleaning chemical supplier is discussed in our next post.

Dishwasher types

While many food premises still ‘wash by hand’, a dishwashing machine can save time, money, water and energy, but only if used efficiently and effectively. A range of different types of dish and glass washer machines are available for the commercial food and beverage operator. These include the following:
  • Commercial Under-the-Counter Dish & Glass Washers (Front Loaders) - highly suitable for small retail catering outlets where space restrictions apply. They are also commonly used on hospital wards. 
  • Hood Type Dish Washers - the single tank, single cycle pass-through dishwasher is one of the most common machine types used today. They are usually configured as a straight through or corner style model and fitted with custom stainless steel tabling for sliding the dishwashing racks directly into and out of the machine. There is often a sink and overhead pre-spray system fitted alongside these machines to pre-spray loose food debris prior to entry into the machine. 
  • Conveyor Type Dish Washers (Rack Conveyors) - also known as rack conveyors, they are designed to ‘pull’ the wash racks through the wash cycle on a chain conveyor. Usually found in larger catering departments such as university refectories, large cafeterias and hospital main catering departments serving between 250 to 1,500 meals during peak hours per day. 
  • Pot & Pan Washers - pot and pan washers utilise much higher water pressure and longer wash cycle times to remove baked-on food from large pots, pans, baking sheets and food preparation vessels. These are found in food processing factories like commercial bakeries and airline catering operations where there is a requirement for industrial scale cleaning of larger heavily soiled items. 

Standards and procedures

Regardless of machine type, proper procedures should be followed to ensure efficient machine use and that tableware emerges from the wash process germ free.

Two of the key issues here are temperature and water pressure control for the wash and rinse process. When hot water is used to sanitise, the water temperature should reach 180 F (88.2 C). Water pressure should be 20 psi.

If the water temperature used is too low, the sanitiser will not be effective in sanitising the dishware. Proper monitoring and quality standards need to be followed to ensure proper disinfection of wares and prevention of cross contamination. Temperature gauges should be checked before each use. The correct temperature of each cycle, according to manufacturer specifications, should be maintained at all times.

A mechanical dishwasher cleans by spraying hot (55-65 degrees Celsius) water on the dishes to remove soiling. At first, detergent-added to water (in the tank) is used for cleaning purposes, followed by the use of clean water to remove the detergent residue. When chemicals are used to sanitise, test strips must be available to check the proper concentration (e.g. Chlorine 50-200 ppm). Automatic dosing can ensure that proper concentration levels are being used.

Automatic chemical dosing

The majority of our customers have detergent and rinse aid products automatically dosed into the dishwasher by electronic equipment. This is not always the case elsewhere in the industry where many dishwashers are still ‘hand fed’ with chemical into the machine.

There are many problems associated with manual dosing of cleaning and rinsing agent. It can be dangerous as users may come into direct contact with the neat chemicals being used; it is difficult to judge the exact amount of the product being used; using too much product can lead to higher costs; using too little product can lead to poor results, more re-washing and increased labour costs. Finally, in a busy restaurant, staff can forget to dose the machine.

Automatic dosing resolves these problems. Instead of relying on busy staff ‘doing it right’, the food premise operator has the comfort of knowing that the automatic dosing equipment, checked and serviced by a reputable cleaning chemical supplier, will consistently deliver the correct amount of detergent and rinse additive to clean the tableware; thereby ensuring the accuracy of disinfectant solutions by using concentrates combined with controlled dispensing. As a consequence, good results are delivered at all times.

Controlled dilution and the use of chemical concentrates also ensures better control of cleaning costs and is more eco-friendly compared to reliance on end-user free-hand pouring or environmentally unsound ready-to-use pre-packed cleaning products.By adding water at the point of use rather than at the manufacturing stage, packaging waste and the adverse environmental impact of transporting bulky chemicals (with high, unnecessary water content) are significantly reduced. Dilution systems also provide much better control over the amount of chemical used thereby improving the end-user's carbon footprint.

With chemicals being automatically dosed, there is significantly less likelihood of human error or risk of accidental by coming into contact with potentially hazardous chemical products, thereby delivering health and safety benefits.

As the region’s economy becomes more cost-conscious and eco-friendly, the use of concentrated cleaning chemicals combined with effective dosing and dispensing systems is set to take an increasing share of the Middle East cleaning chemicals market. Simply put, buyers should be looking for MORE rather than LESS in the bottle.
In a follow-up post, we will discuss the critical role that reputable cleaning chemical suppliers should play in ensuring that best-practice dishwash procedures are followed.
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