Winterhalter offers guidance to ensure the best possible hygiene and safety
Temperature, time, chemicals and water pressure all contribute to the warewasher’s cleaning power. On a standard wash cycle a quality commercial dishwasher will have a water tank temperature of 60-65°C and will reach 85°C during its rinse cycle, which ensures that the crockery is sanitised and is hygienically clean, safe and free of COVID-19 (and any other viruses). However, this obviously assumes that your machine is running correctly – so it’s really important that it is looked after and regularly serviced. If there are any error messages, respond to them immediately.
Quality manufacturers will have had their machines tested by an independent third party both to scrutinise and to prove their hygiene credentials. For example, every Winterhalter model has a hygiene certificate that has been awarded by an authorised institute. The certification confirms that the machines perform to specified standards and requirements.
At the end of the shift, to ensure hygiene, it’s essential to clean the machine. Again, most quality designs will have a self-cleaning program. As well as reducing staff workload, this will ensure that, at the end of service, the machine is left in a safe, properly hygienic state, ready for the next shift.
Data collected from Winterhalter’s Connected Wash system, which monitors the operation of warewashers via the internet, showed that one common staff error was NOT to run the automatic cleaning program at the end of the shift. As well as compromising hygiene, not running the program can lead to damage to the machine, so it’s imperative that staff understand the importance of the self-cleaning feature.
Sites with high risk requirements may decide they need a machine that offers thermal disinfection. This means they meet HMT2030 regulations by washing at 73°C for three minutes. Thermal disinfection uses a combination of higher water temperature and longer wash times. Obviously this will mean the machine will take longer to run through a wash cycle, and it will require more energy to heat up the water. For most hospitality applications, thermal disinfection is not necessary.
One last point: avoid washing ware by hand at all costs, even if you have double sinks. If you don’t have one already, invest in a quality warewasher and ensure that all tableware, glassware and cookware is washed in a commercial machine. If funds are limited, consider leasing or rental. Alternatively, Winterhalter has developed a new finance scheme, called Pay Per Wash, which gives you a brand new, top quality Winterhalter warewasher with no upfront cost – you simply pay as you wash. The scheme covers not only the machine, but also the chemicals and service. To find out more, visit .
Pre- and post-wash: handling and storing the cleaned ware
You will handle dirty plates and glasses as you pre-wash and load the dishwasher or glass washer. Make sure that you wash your hands (or change your gloves) before handling the clean ware as it comes out of the machine.
Once it’s hygienically clean, how can the ware be kept that way whilst it’s stored, ready for the next time it’s needed? In a perfect world everything should be stored in an enclosed space, such as a cabinet or cupboard. Glass frosters that chill and store glasses in busy pubs will be perfect for glassware.
If you don’t have a safe, enclosed place to store dishes, glasses and cutlery, and the ware has been left in the open for a few hours, you should consider washing it before service, even if it looks clean.
In larger sites where high volumes of crockery and glasses may be stored for extended periods there are ready solutions. The plates can be loaded into mobile plate dollies, lowerators or plate stackers. These will protect the crockery, keeping it clean and free from dust, while ensuring it is correctly and safely stacked. At the same time, because the equipment will hold a given number of plates, it’s easy for staff to know the volume of crockery held in storage.
When it comes to glasses, they can be washed and stored in the same compartmented racks. There will be no need to touch them after washing and they can be held safely until required. Similarly cutlery can be washed and stored in dedicated racks.
If crockery or glasses are damaged, such as being chipped or cracked, then throw them away. Check your cutlery – some budget products have potential dirt traps, for example within the fork tines. Replace these items of cutlery if necessary.
Reverse Osmosis – better cleaning, less handling, enhanced hygiene
Reverse Osmosis (RO) is a top-end water treatment system that purifies the water going into the dishwasher or glasswasher to the nth degree. The result is incredibly clean glasses, dishes and cutlery. So clean, in fact, that there’s no need to hand polish them. This is a major hygiene benefit – less handling means less chance of contamination. For example, typically a person polishing glasses will use the same cloth for the whole load – so any contamination will be spread to all the glasses. By reducing handling, RO also dramatically reduces breakages resulting from hand polishing glasses.
When it comes to hygiene and infection control another key area to consider is the chemicals you are using in the warewasher. Ideally you want to be using a range that includes a choice of detergents, formulated to cope with a range of specific conditions such as the level of soiling and the hardness of the water. Winterhalter has developed a range of warewasher chemicals that have been designed specifically to work with Winterhalter machines, to ensure the best possible hygiene results.
As the focus intensifies on good hygiene practice the importance of detailed data collection for HACCP is vital. Many modern dishwashers can provide this at the touch of a button. For example, the latest Winterhalter machines feature a SmartTouch, multifunctional, multilingual touchscreen that tells operators all they need to know, using easy to read text and symbols to help eliminate operator errors. The touchscreen controls allow for comprehensive monitoring at all times, storing HACCP and relevant hygiene data, and even monitoring external water treatments to enable quick responses to error messages, thus reducing downtime.
A key focus for Winterhalter in recent years has been connectivity – the company has been a pioneer in this area, with its Connected Wash system. A question now is, can it help with hygiene? The answer is yes. For example, it can warn if the chemicals are not being topped up correctly. By keeping the detergent and rinse aid at correct levels, it ensures the machine is washing hygienically and safely. Meanwhile, because Connected Wash can be used to remotely monitor a warewasher’s performance (or multiple warewashers, across several sites) it can also be used to monitor the temperature of the wash, and to warn instantly if there is an issue. This means that a warewasher that is not reaching correct temperature can be identified and fixed, quickly.
The data collected from Connected Wash has also highlighted certain warewashing ‘sins’ – errors that are committed by staff. They include not using the self-cleaning program regularly. If it’s not run for a few days it could compromise the cleaning results. Luckily Connected Wash can bring this to the attention of managers and staff, so they can put it right.
Service and maintenance
Regular servicing by a qualified engineer will ensure your machine is operating safely and optimally, so be sure to have a service contract. If your machine is shut down for an extended length of time, get the service supplier to send an engineer to recommission it.
Make sure staff are trained not only to operate the machine correctly but also to undertake the day to day maintenance jobs on the warewasher, such as emptying filters and checking chemicals levels. Also make sure they understand they should respond instantly to any alerts from the machine’s self-diagnostics.
The latest hygiene technology
Warewasher manufacturers are constantly developing new and innovative technologies to help in areas such as reducing energy and water consumption. Winterhalter has also been exploring ways to harness new technologies to further enhance hygiene control. The latest hygiene feature appears on our new CTR machine, a compact rack conveyor system. It features what we call a hygiene mode. This new concept detects any change in the temperature of wash water, automatically slowing the rack speed down, and thus ensuring a thorough, hygienic wash even if the temperature drops.