How to Clean Commercial Dishwasher

Published Categorized as Maintenance
commercial dishwasher

Last Updated on June 18, 2022

How to Clean Commercial Dishwasher

You might be reading the title of this article and scratching your head thinking, “Why would I clean my commercial dishwasher? Doesn’t it clean itself while it’s washing my dishes?”

While your logic makes sense, the truth is that cleaning your dish machine regularly will save you the hassle of dealing with frequent service calls. The process is simple – the hardest part is remembering to clean your machine!

Each commercial dishwasher is different and has their own set of specific guidelines in the owner’s manual, so make sure you hold onto that and reference it when it’s time to clean.

No One Wants to Clean Their Dish Machine

Very few people think about cleaning their dish washer, but it’s an important step in maintaining your equipment. A lot of trash gets left on the dishes such as toothpicks, sugar packets and more. All of that debris can be trapped inside the strainers and could clog the drain, causing the machine to not function properly.


The best time to clean your commercial machine is an hour or so after the last wash. Hot water runs through the machine all day, so to prevent burns and injury, take proper precautions before cleaning.

Taking Apart Your Machine

The wash arms are an important part of your dish machine, but are often overlooked in the cleaning process.

Every machine has wash arms that need to be cleaned (ideally) at the end of every day. The first step is relatively easy – open the doors and take the screens and trays out. Then, thread out the knob and remove the wash arms.

Your owner’s manual should provide you with detailed instructions on how to properly clean the wash arms. Keep in mind that these can vary by brand and model.

Oftentimes, wash arms are neglected and only cleaned maybe every other week or even monthly. If you have a high temperature machine, you won’t have the bleach that’s found in low temperature and chemical machines. Bleach will eat through just about anything, which is why cleaning your dish machine daily in so important.

Another critical step is to make sure that you drain the machine at the end of the day. Otherwise, you will just be washing your dishes with dirty water, defeating the purpose of your machine.


Use your pre-rinse hose to rinse down the machine, then leave the doors and drain open to dry overnight.

Don’t Forget to Delime

Once a week, make sure to put your machine through a deliming or descaling cycle. Every machine should have a deliming mode or setting for this. Once you’ve switched it into that mode, pour in a deliming solution that is safe for stainless steel and your machine will take care of the rest.

For a greener option try using vinegar to delime your dish machine. This is the same whether you’re cleaning a commercial dish-washing machine, or a small apartment dishwasher.

Other Tips to Consider

Glass washers have tiny strainers and wash arms that can be easily clogged by coffee stirrers or bits of napkin. If you notice that your glass washer isn’t working as efficiently as it should, a clogged drain could be the problem.

A simple cleaning every day is much less expensive than a broken down machine.

You can also pre-wash your items if you have a commercial sink. The idea here is to just rinse off the big stuff so that it ever has the chance to clog up anything or cause any problems at all. It takes a few extra minutes, but it can reduce wear and tear as well as maintenance on your washer.

With conveyor dish machines, it’s important to check to make sure that the moveable parts don’t have food particles blocking the flow of water, causing them to malfunction.

Also, most of these machines have wash arms that are not easily lifted out. In this case, they should have parts that can be threaded out, making it less of a chore to run a cleaning brush through each arm.

If your dishes are not getting as clean as they should be, you might need to make sure that your soap dispensers aren’t clogged. If a machine isn’t used often enough, the dishwasher soap will clog it up.

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