When it comes to dish machine operation in a Dietary Department of a Long Term Care Facility, there are many variables that dictate how efficient your warewashing operation is. In my world, all of these variables fall into one of five categories called the 5 Factors of Clean. They include Time, Temperature, Chemical Action, Mechanical Action and Procedures.
How do these factors relate to a dish machine?
- Time refers to the proper amount of time it takes, from beginning to end, for a rack of dishes to go through a wash cycle in order to be clean and sanitized. For this to happen, a machine is always on a fixed amount of time, but sometimes the machine operator can “hurry” the cycle by pulling out the rack too soon, which reduces the time, but also negatively affects the results.
- Temperature refers to the proper temperature required to clean, rinse and sanitize dishes.
- Chemical Action is also important in that the proper concentration of chemicals must be set and maintained in order to clean, rinse and sanitize dishes.
- Mechanical Action means that everything must be operating properly, from the motor to the wash pressure, to the conveyor and timers, and everything else mechanical on a dish machine.
- Procedures describes how people should use the machine and everything else involved with washing wares at the machine.
Which factor is the most critical?
The most difficult and perhaps the least rewarding and most thankless position in a commercial kitchen is the dish washer. It is also one of the most critical jobs, and if procedures are not carried out properly, plates and other wares are at risk of not getting clean or sanitized. This is why Procedures is the most critical of the 5 Factors.
A dish machine operator must understand the need to carry out all aspects of the job properly, because without proper procedures, cleaning and sanitizing does not happen. That is why proper training of a dish machine operator is critical to a smooth running warewashing operation. Things like sorting of wares, proper pre-scrapping of dishes, racking them correctly in a dish rack, beginning the dish machine cycle, drying time, storing of plates, etc. are all procedure-related. So even if the other four factors are perfect, improper Procedures can wreak havoc on a warewashing operation. So the next time you wonder if you are overpaying your dish washer, think about how critical that person is to the overall warewashing cleanliness at your facility!
John Jacobs is the Product Manager for Laundry, Warewashing & Foodservice at the Betco Corporation. When he’s not wearing his laundry and warewashing superhero cape, you will probably find him spending time with his twin daughters, or playing guitar with his band in the Detroit area. Click here to contact John directly.