Commercial Dishwasher Not Cleaning Like It Used To? This Might Be Why
A malfunctioning dishwasher is more than just an inconvenience. At best, your dishes and cooking utensils come out looking cloudy or smudged and need to be run through the dishwasher again. At worst, unsanitized dishes and cutlery are going out to the tables and potentially spreading foodborne illness to your guests. And heaven forbid the inspectors should come while your dishwasher is on the fritz! Luckily, there are a few common dishwasher issues you can check for. In this blog, we’ll give you some of the leading causes of a poorly-functioning commercial dishwasher and how to troubleshoot them.
Mineral Buildup in the Spray Arms
Mineral buildup is a common culprit when it comes to reduced dishwasher performance. Over time, minerals from hard water can accumulate in the spray arms, resulting in decreased water flow and pressure. This can lead to ineffective cleaning and spotting on your dishes. Here's what you can do to troubleshoot this issue:
- Inspect and clean the spray arms: Remove the spray arms and check for any mineral deposits or debris. Soak them in a mixture of warm water and vinegar to dissolve the mineral buildup. Use a small brush or toothpick to clear any clogged spray holes.
- Consider a water softening system: If hard water is a persistent issue in your area, as it is in most areas here in Pennsylvania, investing in a water softening system can help reduce mineral buildup in your dishwasher and improve its cleaning efficiency.
Clogged Filters and Drainage System
A clogged filter or drainage system can hinder the dishwasher's ability to clean your dishes effectively. Accumulated food particles, grease, and debris can obstruct the flow of water and prevent proper drainage. To troubleshoot this problem, follow these steps:
- Clean the filters: Locate the dishwasher's filters and remove any visible debris. Rinse them under warm water to remove stubborn residue. If the filters are damaged or worn out, replace them with new ones.
- Check the drainage system: Inspect the drain hose for any clogs or kinks that may be obstructing the water flow. Clear any debris or obstructions and ensure that the hose is connected correctly.
Improper Loading and Overcrowding
Sometimes, a dishwasher not cleaning well can be attributed to improper loading and overcrowding. When dishes and utensils are not loaded correctly, water may not reach all areas, resulting in incomplete cleaning. Here are some tips to focus on while training new hires or coaching existing employees in the correct usage of your restaurant's dishwasher:
- Follow the manufacturer's guidelines: One excellent go-to resource is your dishwasher’s user manual. Consult the manual for loading instructions specific to your model. Pay attention to recommended spacing between items and proper positioning of plates, glasses, and utensils.
- Avoid overcrowding: Overloading the dishwasher can obstruct the spray arms, preventing water from reaching the dishes effectively. Allow enough space between items for adequate water circulation and cleaning. It’s better to do two loads than to try and jam everything into one and end up doing three!
- Pre-rinse as needed: If dishes are heavily soiled, consider pre-rinsing them before loading them into the dishwasher. This can help prevent food particles from redepositing on other items during the wash cycle. Taking the time to soak dishes with dried-on food or excessive grease can save you a lot of trouble in the long run.
Call in the Professionals When Needed
When your commercial dishwasher isn't cleaning as well as it needs to, it can be frustrating and time-consuming to try and get it back in good working order. If you’ve tried the troubleshooting suggestions above and your dishes are still coming out smudged or filmy, it’s time to call K&D Factory Service. We’ve been in the business of servicing restaurant equipment since 1945, so it goes without saying that we’ve seen it all. We specialize in servicing food service equipment and we’ll get your dishwasher back in top shape in no time. Give us a call at 717-236-9039 today to schedule service!