Hot Sanitation vs. Chemical Sanitation


Are you tired of your glassware wearing more lipstick than your customers? Is washing dishes by hand literally draining your day away? Maybe you have a commercial dishwasher, but your business has grown faster than you expected and your current model doesn’t make the cut anymore. Whatever your situation is, we’re here to help.

Commercial dishwashers are a great investment for your foodservice business. They save you time, money, and keep your kitchen running smoothly during busy rushes. On top of that, if you want to keep the health department and your customers happy, having a commercial dishwasher in your kitchen is a no-brainer.

But how do you know which type of commercial dishwasher is right for you? This guide will help you understand the different kinds of dishwashers and their applications, as well as what accessories are available. Plus, we’ll get into all the requirements you need to check before you make your purchase.

Hot Sanitation vs. Chemical Sanitation

Dishwashers come with either hot sanitation systems or chemical sanitation systems. What’s the difference and is one better than the other? Before we get into that, there is one thing that both machines have in common: soap.

Commercial dishwashers must use commercial soap. Domestic soaps (like what you find at your local grocery store) will not work as commercial soap or sanitizer, as they must be pumped into the machine for each cycle. You can discuss what your options are with your soap/food purveyor.

Hot Water Sanitation

A hot water system sends 180 degree water into the tank during the sanitation cycle. Animal fats, lipstick, and other difficult substances melt off with no problem at this temperature. Hot water disinfects without chemicals and dishes dry instantly once air hits them after the cycle is complete.

Typically, water will come into the machine between 110 and 140 degrees and a booster heater will raise the temperature to 180 for soap cycle and final rinse.

Washers that use a hot water sanitation system have a higher up-front cost, however, there is no long-term cost for replenishing chemicals. An investment in a hot water commercial dishwasher is one you won’t regret.

Chemical Sanitation

Chemical sanitation is exactly what it sounds like. Both dishwashers and dishmachines with low-temp water systems use chemicals, like bleach, to sanitize dishes. The incoming water temperature is 140 degrees which, while hot, may not melt animal fats or lipstick off of plates or glassware. This type of washer uses soap for cleaning after pre-rinse, followed by a sanitizing agent. So while your dishes may be free of bacteria, they could come out greasy or with lipstick remnants, which will require another run through the dishwasher.

Chemical dishmachines and dishwashers have lower up-front costs than hot water options. They are also a good option for areas where water temperature is an issue. Additionally, there are no booster heater or ventilation requirements, so the install process is less involved. Most low-temp dishmachines and dishwashers often run on 120v.

Chemical dishwashers and dishmachines can also be installed in customer areas, such as a bar, as they do not produce the amount of steam that hot-water machines do.

Although the up-front costs of owning a chemical unit is less expensive, the longer term ownership is a little more costly. Ongoing costs include, purchasing chemicals as they run out and running the washer through multiple cycles to get out tough stains, which can lead to higher utility bills. A good pre-rinse will remedy the need for multiple washes.


About Author

Rachael Niswander

Rachael is a writer in Denver, Colorado with an affinity for food and all things food-related. When she isn't writing or doing other foodie things, Rachael enjoys reading, hooping, tattoos, dancing, learning about herbs and natural living, and spending time with friends, her husband Michael and their two cats, Tip Toes and Pippin.

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