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Thread: "cleaned" dishes taste/smell like sanitizer

  1. #1
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    "cleaned" dishes taste/smell like sanitizer

    My work has basic 3 compartment sink. Dish-washers are doing soap, rinse, sanitize w/ a "multi-purpose sanitizer". Quart containers often come off the rack smelling (and tasting) like the sanitizer most consistently but almost any type of dish has had the smell occassionally. Needless to say if you use the cleaned dishes that smell like sanitizer the flavor gets into the food. I find it absolutely disgusting and some days I come in to work and feel like I have to throw ever quart container and a lot of pans back into the dish and even if I scrub them down myself and skip the sanitizer the flavor still lingers (esp on court containers and sautee pans).

    Talked to boss many times about it and he always says it's just because the dish washers are using too much sanitizer (too high concentration) or that they aren't air drying all the dishes. I think both of these are things that will help lessen the problem if addressed but aren't the cause. I once hypothesized that the dishes were only superficially cleaned and that little thin layers of oil remained on them and then infused with sanitizer flavor...

    Anyone else dealt with this!? This is the only kitchen I've ever had this problem and I've worked in quite a few (although many didn't use sanitizer that I know of, or they used bleach instead) HELP

    I don't want to quit, I want to solve this problem.


  2. #2
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    daveb's Avatar
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    I know you don't want to hear it but they're probably using too much sanitizer. Anywhere I've worked with manual addition the amount has varied all over the place. Though I don't recall Cambros and the like retaining any off flavor.

    To solve you might make sure you're using a "hot" water sanitizer if using hot water, or if using cold use a cold water santizer. Seems obvious but I've been in a place where the guys have to wear gloves to sanitize because of the heat and the sanitizer is clearly marked for cold water. You can also check test strips are appropriate for sanitizer being used and test the water. If you're pegging the thing you'll have an argument for reducing the amount in use.

    Older and wider..

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    I guess "clandestinely dilute the sanitizer accessible to the washers" would be an illegal solution even if their overuse was consistent?

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    Senior Member chinacats's Avatar
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    Perhaps a test run of doing the dishes (or maybe a segment) yourself would give you a control set of dishes. Keep trying to narrow it down (process of elimination) one idea at a time until you find the solution?

    I would be curious if this started with a new 'batch' of sanitizer or perhaps a change in dishwashers?
    once in a while you get shown the light, in the strangest of places if you look at it right

  5. #5
    Senior Member brainsausage's Avatar
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    I've been working with the three bay myself for awhile now but we use a plumbed dilution system that was installed for free by our chem supplier. Takes most of the guess work out. Emphasis on most.
    The AI does not love you, nor does it hate you, but you are made out of atoms it might find useful for something else. - Eliezer Yudkowsky

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    Quote Originally Posted by daveb View Post
    I know you don't want to hear it but they're probably using too much sanitizer.
    This. I use a brand that's plain old quaternary ammonium compounds, like what you see in a lot of place. You'd probably need to use 10 or 20 times the recommended dose before you'd smell it on the dishes.

    Someone needs to be taught to measure. If that's too much to ask, there are equivalent brands that come in solid tablets. Even a horse can be taught to count up to 3 or 4.

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    Silly question i know, but do you not have any dishwasher machine?
    There is not much you can do about the plastic containers once they've taken on a color / flavour / smell, but the SS pans, pots, trays can be brought back to normal. (Cast iron, carbon steel pans shouldn't even be washed heavily. Read: wire brush or heavy duty chemicals.)

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    Yeah, but isn't a horse more expensive to hire than washers?

    Assumed thinking (hey, it is just how men are wired when it comes to cleaning) behind them overdosing it: "Water evidently doesn't get the stuff clean. The chemical stuff does. Why dilute the chemicals that work with water that doesnt work more than necessary? The chemicals are cheap anyway..."

  9. #9
    Senior Member Chuckles's Avatar
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    I have had an issue with chemical over use in one of my areas. They were disconnecting the plumed measurement system to hand pour because "it's faster". It is a shared area so singling out culprits is hard. I ended up installing lock boxes on the chemicals so the plumbed system is the only way to access the chemicals without a key. The lock boxes should be available from your chemical supplier. Not ideal but the option does exist. By doing secret chemical level marks with a sharpie you can track how quickly they are using the chemicals over a set time period and compare that with the recommended usage. It will give you data to help inform your next move.
    If you're going through hell, keep going.

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    Quote Originally Posted by LifeByA1000Cuts View Post
    Yeah, but isn't a horse more expensive to hire than washers?

    Assumed thinking (hey, it is just how men are wired when it comes to cleaning) behind them overdosing it: "Water evidently doesn't get the stuff clean. The chemical stuff does. Why dilute the chemicals that work with water that doesnt work more than necessary? The chemicals are cheap anyway..."
    Yep. "If some is good, more must be better."


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