How to Load a Commercial Dishwasher

Follow our easy 6-step guide

Wondering how to load a commercial dishwasher? Here's a quick overview:

  1. Sort the dishes according to size and how dirty the items are
  2. Prepare by scraping off leftovers and rinse if necessary
  3. Load by using the correct wash basket for the items that need to be washed
  4. Avoid blocking spray arms
  5. Heavily soiled items should face the wash nozzles
  6. Avoid overloading

Key points:

Step 1: Prepare the dishwasher

Setting up for a smooth workflow.

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Cleaning and maintenance

1. Clearing any debris or food particles
To ensure optimal performance, start by thoroughly removing any leftover food debris or particles from the dishwasher's interior. This step sets the foundation for a clean and efficient washing process.

2. Checking and cleaning spray arms, filters, and drain
Inspect and clean essential dishwasher components like the spray arms, filters, and drain. These elements can accumulate dirt and debris over time, affecting the dishwasher's effectiveness. Regular maintenance ensures a smooth operation.

3. Filling and heating
Start the water filling sequence and let the machine heat up for it to be ready to start washing.

A lot of pots and utensils needs to be washed

Sorting and organizing utensils and dishes

1. Grouping similar items together
Efficient loading begins with grouping similar items together. Arrange plates, glasses, utensils, and other items in appropriate wash baskets. This organization optimizes space utilization and streamlines the washing process.

2. Removing excess food residue
Before loading the dishes, it's crucial to scrape off excess food leftovers. This step prevents clogging the dishwasher's filters and ensures thorough cleaning.

Also, give a quick rinse with the shower in order not to have too much dirt entering the wash water. This is to avoid having to change the water frequently.

Step 2: Load the dishwasher

Depending on the machine type, different wash baskets or accessories are used for the wash process. Always consult the user instructions for your dishwasher to make the most of the loading capacity in the machine.

Important: Do not overload the rack!
Be mindful not to overload the wash rack. Check where the wash and rinse nozzles are situated to make sure all items will be covered with both the wash and rinse water spray.

Do not load larger items hanging outside of the wash rack as this might hinder moving parts such as spray arms or it might get caught and hinder the wash rack’s movement through a tunnel washer resulting in the stopping of the cycle or in the worst case a breakage.

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    For dishwashing – be it an under-counter, a hood-type washer, or a tunnel machine - wash racks for plates, cutlery or glasses are used.


    If it’s wine glasses on a stem, make sure to use a wash rack with appropriate support and even a tilted bottom in order to avoid water being trapped on the foot of the glass.


    In a wash rack, plates are placed vertically, and cups, mugs and glasses are placed upside-down.


    It is recommended that cutlery is washed twice; first unsorted in a cutlery wash rack and the second time sorted standing up in cutlery holders, thus making sure every surface is cleaned.

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Pot and pan washing

    For pot and pan washing there are specially designed wash racks that have different design elements, depending on the model and make of the equipment.


    In general, for efficient pot washing with high pressure water spraying, items need to be fastened in order not to be left tumbling around during the wash cycle.


    Items should be loaded with the dirty or inside facing the wash nozzles.


    This is particularly important when washing in a granule blasting pot and pan washer as the granules together with water scour items clean.

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Our efficient Granuldisk technology takes care of the entire pot and pan washing process inside the machine and eliminates manual steps like soaking and scrubbing for even burnt pots and pans. You will get more done in less time with hourly capacities ranging up to 176 GN 1/1. Leave your details below and we will contact you shortly to discuss.

Step 3: Proper detergent and rinse aid usage

Selecting a high-quality detergent is crucial for achieving optimal cleaning results in commercial dishwashers.

Contact a supplier of professional cleaning products who can assist with a proper set-up and installation of dosing equipment for detergent and rinse aid, as well as supplying the actual chemicals needed. 

Here are a few pointers to consider when choosing a chemical supplier:

1. Liquid or solid detergent
There are pros and cons with both.

For liquid detergents, there are more suppliers to choose from and it will be easier to switch supplier.

With solid detergents that are more concentrated you do not pay for shipping water, however the dosing equipment is specific to each manufacturer which could mean that you will be locked in with the chosen supplier.


2. Water hardness
Consider the hardness of the water in your area. Hard water contains minerals that can affect the performance of the detergent. 

Choose a detergent formulated for hard water if necessary, as it will contain additives to address mineral buildup.

You should also consider adding a water softener to your setup. Specifically, when cleaning glasses in high-end establishments, you need to have a reverse osmosis system to avoid water stains on the glasses.


3. Safety and environmental considerations
Look for environmentally friendly options that are biodegradable and free from phosphates, chlorine, and other harmful chemicals.

Even if a commercial detergent has environmental labeling it is still corrosive because of a high pH level and needs to be handled with care, using proper protective gear.

Additionally, consider any regulations if you need to adhere to your establishment’s environmental labeling or program.


4. Cost and efficiency
Evaluate the cost-effectiveness of the detergent.

Consider factors such as the concentration of the detergent, recommended dosage, and the number of wash cycles per container.

Choose a detergent that offers excellent cleaning performance while being cost-efficient for your business.

Step 4: Start the dishwasher

When washing with a commercial dishwasher, it's important to choose the right program in order not to waste time and water.

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Selecting the appropriate wash cycle

1. Type of wares – pots, plates or glasses?
Choose a wash cycle that suits the type of dishes being washed.

2. Level of dirtiness
Select the wash cycle based on the level of dirtiness.

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Starting the wash cycle

To start a wash cycle, follow the steps below:

  1. Ensure that the racks are properly loaded, and all items are positioned securely.
  2. Insert the rack into the cabin of the machine.
  3. Close the dishwasher door firmly making sure it latches securely.

Press the start button to launch the selected program. Or, the hood is lowered using the handle or by activating the automatic hood motion, which also launches the selected program.

Step 5: Unloading and storing clean wares

To let the dishes cool down and dry, simply put the wash rack on an exit table or conveyor. Alternatively, unload items one by one from the wash rack.

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Unloading your dishwasher:

Some last words

In summary, proper loading techniques, selecting the right detergent as well as unloading and storing your dishes safely combined with regular maintenance are key to efficiently operating a commercial dishwasher.

Looking to upgrade your commercial kitchen?
Contact us to learn more about our high-performance commercial dishwashers.

Interested in optimizing your warewashing process further?

Our efficient Granuldisk technology takes care of the entire pot and pan washing process inside the machine and eliminates manual steps like soaking and scrubbing for even burnt pots and pans. You will get more done in less time with hourly capacities ranging up to 176 GN 1/1. Leave your details below and we will contact you shortly to discuss.


Frequently asked questions

Do you have more questions about loading and maintaining your commercial dishwasher? Check out our frequently asked questions below or contact us for more information.


How should I arrange heavily soiled dishes in the dishwasher?


It's always best to place heavily soiled dishes facing toward the spray arms for more effective cleaning.


Can I mix different types of utensils in the same rack?


Yes, it's generally fine to mix different types of utensils in the same wash rack. However, it's recommended to separate sharp objects for safety purposes.


Should I pre-rinse dishes before loading them?


While it's not necessary to pre-rinse dishes, it's advisable to scrape off excess food residue to prevent clogging the dishwasher's filters and spray arms.

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