The Dishwasher Dilemma – High Temp or Low Temp?

With energy and environment issues at the forefront of the food service industry and cost cutting and food safety at the forefront of the healthcare industry, commercial dishwasher companies introduced a low temperature dish machine to the market. What advantages does this untraditional machine have that its high temperature cousin does not?

The difference between these two options is in the rinse cycle of both machines. The high temperature option uses a built in “booster” to bring the final rinse up to 180oF for sanitizing and assisting with drying; whereas the low temp uses the existing kitchen water heater and has a chemical sanitizing agent that has usually has a drying agent in it.

These machines both have advantages and disadvantages and it is important that operators ensure that due diligent research is done with chemical companies, small ware manufactures and equipment supplier. Because hospital food service is a unique industry in itself, key components need to be analyzed.

These points include:

• What affect will the chemical sanitizer have on the dishes, cutlery, pans and glasses?
• Does the hospital contracted chemical company have the appropriate chemical needed and at what cost?
• What affect does this chemical have on the environment compared to energy and water savings? Where does the hospital drainage water go for disposal?
• Often low temp are slower, how will this affect my operations and staffing?

There are advantages to both dishwasher systems. For a high temp dishwasher when looking at cost cutting and food safety, the decreased cost of chemicals and flash drying aspect of the high temp need to be considered. For a low temp dishwasher, a cost comparison for energy and water saved vs. the cost of the chemical should be done and the testing of the chemical on dishware to ensure that a higher replacement percentage will not drive cost up.