Manual dishwashing vs. machine dishwashing

08 Apr 2022

See how the glasswasher beats manual washing in this great wash up match.

In the red corner, it is the time-honoured method of washing-up that is still often observed today: washing glassware by hand. And in the blue corner, it is the challenger for the title: the glasswasher! What are the knockout criteria? Who has the unbeatable left hook?

Let's get ready to rumble!


Round 1: Warewashing Process


Collect glasses in the rack and insert them into the dishwashing machine. The only thing left to do is to press the Start button and the machine will automatically do the rest, with no further input needed from employees.

  • Reduces the likelihood for human error
  • Choose programmes that have a set wash cycle duration and other parameters
  • The wash process takes place in a closed system inside the machine, preventing the release of aerosols (extra-fine droplets that can spread pathogens through the air)
  • Hygienic indoor climate thanks to reduced steam emissions using MEIKO’s heat recovery system (AirConcept or ComfortAir).
  • Assured, validated wash process with parameters that can be read out and evaluated


Staff individually dip glasses into the wash water and wash them out with a brush or sponge. Then they rinse them with clean water and may need to dry them using tea towels to make them ready for use again. The staff also need to change the wash water regularly and check for chemical dosage and temperature manually.

  • There is plenty of room for error
  • Several actions are necessary to keep the area hygienic at the cost of time and resources
  • This releases aerosols and steam from the sink during the wash process, potentially spreading germs in the air throughout the entire room
  • This is not an assured or validated process


Round 2: Wash Temperature


The water temperature in glasswashers is 60 °C for the wash cycle and 65 °C for the rinse cycle.

  • Uses high enough temperature to achieve clean, hygienically safe washing results
  • Keeps the right temperatures consistent and prevent fluctuations by the double-walled construction
  • The machine automatically extends the wash programme (run time extension) when the required temperature is not met


The recommended water temperature for manual washing is at least 45 °C.

  • This does not assure hygienic wash results
  • The temperature is too low to reliably inactivate certain viruses (this is only achieved above 60 °C) or to effectively remove certain substances (e.g., fat requires at least 55 °C)
  • Human dishwashers cannot tolerate and can get injured by high water temperature
  • The temperature in the sink cannot be kept constant


Round 3: Chemical Agents


Automatically feeds the required detergent and rinse aid from the attached chemical canisters into the tank or boiler on every fill cycle.

  • The dishwashing machine manages the correct dosing of the chemical agents
  • Automatic process takes place inside the machine
  • Ensures the availability of chemicals and rinse aid. The display notification provides information when you need to refill chemical agents.


Detergent and rinse aid must be added to the wash water by hand. Chemical dosing in the wash water must be checked at set intervals. It is doubtful that this is reliably carried out at the correct dosing levels, especially in the rush of peak times.

  • No option for constant monitoring of chemical dosing levels
  • There is plenty of room for error
  • If dosing is too high, it can irritate the skin, and build up an odour in the glasses
  • If dosing is too low, the chemical agents will not be effective enough (especially when contact is brief)


Round 4: Washing Mechanism


Commercial dishwashers feature several programmes so the user can select one according to the degree of soiling on the dishes.

  • Protect the glasses with soft start feature
  • Reliably inactivates viruses
  • Automatically runs wash programmes


How thorough an employee washes a glass or dishware depends on many factors. One of these is how pressed for time he is.

  • The environment (how hectic it is) and equipment (e.g., sponges) adversely affect the wash results
  • Hygiene risk: sponges used for dishwashing can be full of germs


Round 5: Wash Time


A glasswasher can wash up to 25 glasses in 90 seconds, depending on the size of the rack, the machine and the glasses.

  • It can handle larger volumes of glassware than any human dish washer
  • Automatic process at the push of a button allows employees to use their time in serving customers and doing other tasks


The length of wash time really depends on the employee, but a glasswasher with a capacity to wash 25 glasses in 90 seconds is simply unbeatable.

  • Because staff are busy washing dishes, they have no time to spend with customers


Round 6: Drying Process


You can remove the rack of clean washware when the wash process is finished. You can briefly leave it next to the dishwashing machine while the glasses are still warm so that the residual moisture evaporates.

  • No need to dry or polish – especially when using a MEIKO GiO MODULE (optional reverse osmosis system) and MEIKO AirConcept or ComfortAir (heat recovery systems which aid in drying washware)
  • No effort from staff and therefore no staffing costs
  • From our experience: 23% reduction in glass breakage
  • Hygienically safe drying process
  • No additional handling of tea towels


Glasses are often refilled and served again, even while they are still wet. Sometimes they are left to drip dry, which causes water marks, or manually dried using tea towels before they are used again.

  • This requires extra space for storage, drip drying or towel drying
  • Drying and polishing are very time consuming for employees
  • Increased risk of glass breakages (33% per year)*
  • Hygiene risk: tea towels (These should be changed several times per day and used towels washed at least at 60 °C.)

*Fries-Rack, a German warewashing equipment dealer, has found out that 33% of glassware is broken every year in the food service sector. Polishing is the primary cause.



The comparison is clear: the glasswasher wins on points especially on hygiene safety!

Manual washing-up just cannot keep pace. When washing manually, hygiene safety depends on the staff in the dishwashing area. Just a small deviation from procedure or lapse in attention can compromise hygiene.

This is not only true for washing glasses. It applies to all washware: plates, cutlery, and other kitchen utensils.

The dishwashing machine wins hands down. A MEIKO dishwashing machine will put you on the safe, hygienic side.

That is because we offer:

  • Safety and hygiene for your customers
    An optimal combination of wash temperature, chemical agents, wash mechanism, and wash cycle time reliably remove water spots and inactivate viruses such as the coronavirus and—confirmed via expert opinion.
  • Safety and peace of mind for your business and employees
    Pre-configured settings and processes run automatically at the push of a button; no further actions needed from employees.
  • Energy savings and staff convenience
    Effective wash mechanism and MEIKO features like AirConcept or ComfortAir (optional heat recovery systems) and the GiO MODULE (optional reverse osmosis system) make drying and polishing a thing of the past.