Are Restaurant Dishes Really Less Clean Than Those at Home?

When dining out, have you ever wondered how clean the dishes are? The speed at which restaurant dishwashers operate compared to home dishwashers might raise some eyebrows. It’s a common misconception that the longer the washing cycle, the cleaner the dishes. However, the cleanliness of dishes in restaurants versus at home is not solely dependent on the duration of the washing cycle. Let’s delve into this topic and address some common questions.

How Do Restaurant Dishwashers Work?

Restaurant dishwashers are designed to clean large volumes of dishes quickly and efficiently. They use high-temperature water, typically around 180 degrees Fahrenheit, to sanitize dishes. This high temperature, combined with strong detergents, ensures that dishes are not only clean but also sanitized. The short cycle time is due to the high heat and pressure, which quickly removes food particles and kills bacteria.

How Do Home Dishwashers Work?

Home dishwashers, on the other hand, operate at lower temperatures, usually around 120 to 150 degrees Fahrenheit. They rely more on the action of the detergent and the duration of the cycle to clean dishes. The longer cycle time allows for a thorough cleaning, but it doesn’t necessarily mean that the dishes are more sanitized than those cleaned in a restaurant dishwasher.

Are Restaurant Dishes Less Clean Than Those at Home?

Not necessarily. The high temperature used in restaurant dishwashers is very effective at killing bacteria, making the dishes safe to use. In fact, according to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the high heat used in commercial dishwashers can be more effective at sanitizing dishes than the typical home dishwasher. However, this doesn’t mean that dishes cleaned at home are unsafe. As long as your home dishwasher is in good working order and you’re using it correctly, it should clean and sanitize your dishes effectively.

What Factors Affect the Cleanliness of Dishes?

Several factors can affect the cleanliness of dishes, whether they’re washed in a restaurant or at home. These include the temperature of the water, the effectiveness of the detergent, the cleanliness of the dishwasher itself, and how well the dishes are rinsed before being placed in the dishwasher. It’s also important to note that hand-washing dishes can be less effective at removing bacteria than using a dishwasher, due to the lower temperatures typically used.


In conclusion, the speed of a dishwasher doesn’t necessarily determine the cleanliness of the dishes. Both restaurant and home dishwashers are designed to clean and sanitize dishes effectively, albeit in different ways. So, the next time you’re dining out, you can rest assured that the dishes are likely just as clean, if not cleaner, than those at home.