Dishwashers can clean food remnants, grime, and crusty films from your kitchen utensils. If your dishwasher doesn’t attain the reccomended temperature to eliminate bacteria or dishes aren’t sparkling clean, schedule a dishwasher repair service. Your dishwasher’s model and rinsing temperatures determine if it can adequately kill foodborne pathogens.

What Your Dishwasher Can Achieve

Dishwashers are robots with specific instructions. A typical dishwasher heats water to the appropriate temperature and opens the detergent dispenser at the automated times. The unit also shoots hot water via spray arms to clean the dishes and drain the dirty water. It will spray and drain more hot water to rinse the dishes clean. Some can also heat the air to dry your flatware.

Dishwashers feature a timer to regulate each cycle’s length and a sensor to detect water and air temperature and water level. Such features prevent the unit from heating, overflowing, and consuming more energy. Some dishwashers may not get rid of anything else beyond food and greasy layers. The only way a dishwasher will kill bacteria is if the water is hot enough.

Right Temperature for Killing Bacteria

You should aim for internal temperatures of 140°F or higher when cooking to kill bacteria. Most harmful bacteria die within this temperature range, so dishwasher manufacturers strive to achieve the same with their units. The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) requires commercial dishwashers used in restaurants to reach 165°F for proper sanitization.

Anything below 110°F is too cold for the water to clean organic matter properly, let alone kill pathogens. Conventional dishwashers have a minimum temperature of 120°F and can reach up to 170°F. According to the National Sanitation Foundation (NSF), only dishwashers capable of reaching 150°F have a sanitizing cycle. The temperature can kill 99.99% of foodborne bacteria.

Cleaning, Sanitizing, and Sterilizing

There are three levels of cleanliness required to kill all bacteria.

•    Cleaning involves removing physical and visible contaminants, remnants, and particles. All dishwashers clean your silverware, freeing them of food particles that harbor bacteria.

•    Sanitizing is the next level and involves various methods, including heat, ultraviolet rays, and chemicals. Dishwashers can sanitize your silverware using hot water and air temperatures. They feature chemical detergents for the same reason. Sanitization kills about 99.99% of the bacteria but isn’t as effective as sterilization, which eliminates all detectable microbes.

•    Sterilization is a requirement in hospital settings and commercial food manufacturing. It involves sophisticated methods, such as autoclaves and super-hot steam, and isn’t achievable at home. Dishwashers can only sanitize your dishes.

Can Dishwasher Repair Help?

Your dishwasher should operate at above 120°F and reach up to 170°F for it to sanitize your dishes, glasses, and flatware. Lower temperatures increase the risk of contamination. The unit may also struggle to clean the thin films/layers from your dishes/pans.

You can schedule an inspection, maintenance, or repair if your dishwasher isn’t working correctly. At A&D Appliances, we restore efficient performance to our customers’ dishwashers and home appliances through repair services. Dishwashers may not kill all bacteria, but they clean and sanitize your silverware, making them safe for reuse.