How To Clean A Commercial Dishwasher? Money-Saving Guide

The dishwasher is without a question every restaurant’s most important piece of equipment and should be treated as such. Taking good care of your dishwasher and cleaning it properly can give it years of more function power which will save you a lot of money.

The costs of commercial dishwashers vary astronomically between a couple of thousands of dollars up to $100,000 and far beyond, so it is really important to clean it every single day, change the waters multiple times a day, and let it dry and get air often enough to minimize the mold which will form in the corners, etc.

In this article, I will walk you through how to clean a commercial dishwasher properly. But first, let’s take a look at why you need to clean the dishwasher daily so it won’t get so neglected because it can get a little sloppy sometimes, believe me I know the feeling.


Performance-wise it makes a big difference whether you clean your dishwasher regularly or neglect it too much and I’ll tell you how!

First, if you don’t clean your dishwasher daily the leftover food will cycle through everywhere and after a certain point every supplies and dinnerware you place there will come off with tiny food bits so they won’t just get clean.

Second, if the dishwasher’s water is all greasy and filled with food the filter pump can’t handle it which will result in even worse outcomes.

Third, the worst scenario possible is that if you haven’t cleaned a commercial dishwasher in a while and the filter and pump just can’t take it anymore it can shut off and require cleaning before it will continue. Imagine that happening in the busiest hour of the day, that would be a pickle, to say the least.


It goes without saying that the dishwasher needs to be cleaned for hygiene reasons as well. Even if the cutlery and dinnerware come out looking clean, but the water hasn’t been changed in days it certainly doesn’t mean that they are clean and sanitary to use.

Also, if the dishwasher is dirty from the inside and full of mold, the sanitizing chemicals won’t help so much when mixed with impurities, week-old food bits, and mold.

Imagine if all the utensils and cookware would be washed in a super dirty dishwasher and all the meals cooked with them, this could result in mass food poisoning, sickness, and the whole restaurant would be under close examination of the health department after that. It’s important to wash dishes well so avoid spreading bacteria from one plate to another when you’re cleaning up.


If the dishwasher is neglected for long periods of time and then cleaned once and neglected again, that will have an effect on the condition of the dishwasher and ultimately it’s a connection to it breaking which will lead to huge maintenance costs.

For example, the water pump and filter can get broken if there are constantly food bits floating there, a chicken wing’s bone won’t do good if it gets stuck between the pump. Also, the temperature of the dishwasher can get affected when there are food and grease in the way.

Finally, if the inside of the dishwasher is never cleaned there will be mold in every corner which won’t be good for the condition of the dishwasher. In addition, if the water is never changed the salt which will dissolve in the water will accelerate the rusting process.

Now that it’s clear why to clean a commercial dishwasher we can finally go to the how!

How To Clean A Commercial Dishwasher

Follow the steps below and sleep like a baby knowing that your dishwasher is clean and well taken care of! Let’s get started.

1. Turn Off The Power

Press the power button to turn your dishwasher off.

2. Drain The Dishwasher

Start by taking off the plugs to empty the tank, you can now start phase 3 while the water is draining.

3. Wash The Arms & Curtains

While the dishwasher is draining you can take off the arms, curtains, and everything else except the filters, scrap screens, and scrap baskets and wash them. While the tank is emptying you can also rinse the exterior of the dishwasher and the other areas as well. Spray the plugs, arms, curtains, and other parts you took off with a sanitizing cleaner and leave them for a while.

4. Rinse The Interior

You can now start to wash the inside of the dishwasher. Rinse carefully every corner, preferably with a lot of pressure to get the red mold off of there. When the tank is empty you can now remove the scrap screens etc that are probably full of food bits and clean and sanitize them as well.

5. Sanitize And Brush The Interior

After all the parts have been taken off of the dishwasher you can now spray the inside with a cleaner and brush it from the inside, focus especially on the corners and hard spots to really get the worst places clean.

5. Rinse Interior Again

Now that you have brushed inside of the dishwasher carefully with a sanitizing chemical you can once again rinse it. Don’t rush it and do it carefully.

6. Replace Parts

You can now replace the filters, arms, scrap screens, curtains, and any other part and put them in the right place. However, don’t replace the plugs because there will still be water that could go down the drains. This will minimize the humidity inside the dishwasher which will result in less mold.

7. Dry Out

Be sure to leave all the doors open so the humidity can get out and the dishwasher can finally get some air without water and heat. This is where the dishwasher can finally go to rest and it will get the strength for next time. If all the doors were left closed and plugs in the dishwasher would always be in humidity which will skyrocket the molding effect.

8. Clean The Floor

At this point, you will probably notice the mess on the floor so pours some cleaner in the floor, brush it, and don’t spare any pressured water from the corners because they will also attract mold. Lastly, drain the water and dry the floor.

Follow these steps and your dishwasher will last much longer and you will see less mold in the future as well. Now, we talked about the performance of the dishwasher at the start of this article and especially what can happen to it if the dishwasher isn’t cleaned properly.

Let’s see how I can improve the performance in the beginning and the steps you can take to ensure that the dishwasher is also cleaner a little bit longer.

How to Make Your Commercial Dishwasher More Efficient

1. Rinse Food Properly

If you want to keep your dishwasher running clean longer, install a pulldown faucet to the kitchen and quickly rinse the food debris off the dinnerware or other restaurant supplies.

2. Wash Full Loads Only

If you want to get everything that the dishwasher has to give, make sure that every dishwasher rack that goes to the dishwasher is at least nearly full, which will save energy.

3. Check The Temperature

Depending on whether you have a high-temp or low-temp dishwasher, you should always monitor them and set the ideal temperature so they will clean more efficiently. The more heat the more efficient.

4. Install A Water Softener

If you haven’t ever heard that water can be hard, it means that how much dissolved calcium and magnesium it haves. Hard water has more minerals than soft water. Over time hard water can deposit minerals to the essential parts of the dishwasher which means that the machine needs more power t run everything, which will result in decreased efficiency.

5. Check Installations

Most commercial dishwashers come with manual mode and auto mode. Auto mode will determine everything itself but if you take a look at the instruction manual, you can select the settings yourself which can potentially lead to improved efficiency, neat right!

6. See The Flow Pressure

This is also different for every dishwasher, however, check the instruction manual for the preset flow pressure and see if you can change it to higher, which will give more washing power once again!

How To Save Money On Groceries
How To Save Money On Groceries

7. Rotate Parts

If you have an extra set of arms, curtains or other parts don’t be afraid to use both of them and let the other parts rest and dry a while.

8. Clean Daily…

The topic we already talked about but which I can’t stress enough is to carefully clean your dishwasher using the steps shown above will have a positive impact on efficiency.

Okay, now that we know why to clean a dishwasher, how to clean it, and how to increase efficiency, all there is left to see some additional questions that are always popular with those who ask about cleaning a dishwasher, so let’s take a look!

Will Baking Soda Hurt My Dishwasher

No, baking soda definitely won’t hurt your dishwasher in fact, it is beneficial to it and you can use it for freshening up the interior, and it will also remove grime and impurities. In short, its’ a homemade dishwashing detergent.

Can I Put Vinegar In The Dishwasher

Definitely! putting vinegar in the dishwasher and running it empty with a hot water cycle will help break down the last remaining foods, grease, and other leftover dirt.

Don’t Mix Vinegar & Baking Soda!

Well, I just said that both baking soda and vinegar is okay to put in the dishwasher, don’t get angry with me yet because it’s true, both baking soda and vinegar is good to use separately, however, when they are used in the same cleaning cycle they won’t react so well together. See yourself from the video below.

How To Delime A Commercial Dishwasher

You can delime your commercial dishwasher following the steps below.

1. Drain The Tank

The first step in de-liming a commercial dishwasher is to get new, fresh water into the tank.

2. Add Delimer

Now that the tank is full with clean water, add 2 cups of This Descaler or some other, in that case, be sure to check the manual for the right amount.

3. Turn On The Dishwasher

When the clean water is on place and the delimer is added, its time to start the washing process. In this phase it’s really important to stop the washing process after the dishwasher has spread out the water all over the interior and let it sit ≈ 30 minutes.

4. Continue Washing Process & Drain The Water

After ≈ 30 minutes, finish the washing process and drain the used water.

5. Check The Interior

Now see the fruit of the labor and check if there are any mineral deposits or other impurities left.

6. For Automatic Deliming Option

If your dishwasher haves an automatic de-liming option, simply insert the tubing into the delimer bottle and run the dishwasher until the mineral deposits and impurities are gone.

Final Thoughts

I sincerely hope that this post gave you insights about how to clean a commercial dishwasher and a little more. I’m certain that if you follow the steps above your dishwasher will last years longer with minimal mold and other impurities that affect the dishwashers.

If you have a story to tell about your dishwasher cleaning experiences or additional tips for the other readers to see feel free to leave a comment below! Keep it clean!

Omar Abdalla

I’m the owner of JRS. While I love writing about food, I also enjoy peaceful and relaxed cookouts at home.

Recent Posts