The Ultimate Commercial Dishwasher Cleaning Guide

Posted by Ollie Nelson on

Keeping your commercial dishwasher in top working condition is essential for the efficiency and hygiene of any food service establishment. Proper cleaning and maintenance of these essential appliances not only ensure their longevity but also help maintain optimal performance levels. In this article, we will address several important questions related to commercial dishwasher cleaning, including cleaning methods, frequency, descaling, the use of bleach, and dealing with limescale. By following these guidelines, you can keep your commercial dishwasher functioning smoothly and effectively while avoiding costly repairs and downtime.

How to Clean a Commercial Dishwasher

A well-maintained commercial dishwasher is crucial for any food service business. To keep your dishwasher operating efficiently and prevent the build-up of grime, follow these steps for daily cleaning and periodic deep cleaning:

Daily Cleaning Routine

  • At the end of service, remove any leftover food debris from the dishwasher's interior, including the filter and top and bottom wash and rinse arms. 
  • Clean the interior surfaces of the dishwasher with a soft brush and warm water. Pay special attention to door seals, corners, and any hard-to-reach areas.

Important Information: Do not use any soap-based chemical for cleaning the interior of the machine as any leftover residue will lead to foaming and poor results.

  • Wipe down the exterior surfaces of the dishwasher with a damp cloth to keep it looking clean and professional.
  • Reassemble the dishwasher and run an a wash cycle to ensure all cleaning residue is removed.

Weekly and Monthly Deep Cleaning

  • Inspect and clean the dishwasher's interior components, such as the wash and rinse arms, nozzles, and filters, to ensure they are free from blockages and build-up.
  • Check the door gaskets for any signs of wear and tear, and clean them thoroughly to maintain a proper seal.
  • Check the dishwasher's detergent and rinse aid levels. 

Cleaning Frequency: How Often Should You Clean a Commercial Dishwasher?

It's essential to establish a cleaning schedule for your commercial dishwasher. As a general guideline, perform daily cleaning tasks after each day's operation and more thorough deep cleaning tasks weekly or monthly, depending on the dishwasher's usage and the manufacturer's recommendations. Factors such as the volume of dishes, the type of food being served, and local health regulations may also affect the required cleaning frequency.

Descaling Your Commercial Dishwasher

Over time, mineral deposits can accumulate within your dishwasher, affecting its performance and potentially causing damage to the heating elements and other components. Regular descaling helps to remove these deposits and keep your dishwasher running smoothly. Descaling products and methods may vary based on the type of commercial dishwasher. Always follow the manufacturer's recommendations and guidelines for descaling your specific dishwasher model. It is essential you use a good quality descale solution, such as Nelson Descale, to get the best results.

To descale your commercial dishwasher, follow these steps:

  1. Ensure safety by turning off the dishwasher, wearing protective gear, and removing dishes.
  2. Disconnect and clear detergent by running and draining several cycles.
  3. Add 1 litre of descaling solution and heat the dishwasher.
  4. Run 4-5 wash cycles to remove scale deposits.
  5. Drain, refill, and rinse the dishwasher twice to remove residual descaling solution.
  6. Reconnect the detergent line.
  7. Wipe down the interior and the dishwasher is ready for use.

For more detailed instructions on how to descale your commercial dishwasher, we recommend reading our article Commercial Dishwasher Descaling: A Step-By-Step Guide to Keep Your Machine Running Smoothly

It’s important to note that limescale build can be prevented by ensuring your commercial dishwasher is fitted with a water treatment system that removes mineral deposits from the wash water, such as a water softener, demineralisation, or reverse osmosis. For more information on the different forms of water treatment, click here to read our article on Water Treatment for Commercial Glass washers.

Can You Use Bleach in a Commercial Dishwasher?

While bleach can be effective at removing stains and sanitizing surfaces, it may not be suitable for use in all commercial dishwashers. Using bleach in a dishwasher can potentially damage the interior components and cause discoloration of certain materials, such as stainless steel. Additionally, bleach can be corrosive and may pose a risk if it comes into contact with certain types of dishes or utensils. Always consult your dishwasher's manufacturer's guidelines before using bleach or any other cleaning products. As an alternative, consider using dishwasher-safe sanitizing solutions or commercial dishwasher detergents specifically designed for your dishwasher model.

Commercial Dishwasher Repair and Maintenance

Regular cleaning and maintenance can help prevent many common dishwasher issues. However, if you notice any signs of malfunction or poor performance, such as unusual noises, leaks, or consistently dirty dishes, it's essential to seek professional help. A qualified commercial dishwasher repair service can diagnose and address these issues, helping to extend the life of your appliance and ensure optimal performance.

Our in-house team of expert technicians are trained to maintain and repair various brands of commercial dishwasher. If you would like to book a call, please contact Nelson support on 020 8993 6199 or email


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