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commercial dishwashers in the home--long idosyncratic post

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commercial dishwashers in the home--long idosyncratic post

Wendy Leonard | Feb 5, 2002 12:47 PM

I've never seen a posting on this, so wanted to share my experience with chowhounds. Dishes have always been a huge problem for us; we seem to use every dish in the kitchen. We've always had 2 dishwashers, but even so, sometimes there would be 4+ loads to run. I decided about two years ago to investigate commercial under the counter dishwashers that do a full cycle in 90 seconds. Yes, they really do! I settled on a Hobart LX40 hot water dishwasher (as opposed to one that cleans chemically). However, the price was an impediment--about $4500 new--so decided to buy a used one. First I visited the used restaurant supply stores on the Bowery but felt uncomfortable shelling out so much cash for what was really a pig in a poke and a lot of the businesses seemed pretty sleazy. I eventually ended up buying one on eBay for $1600 directly from a restaurant that had gone out of business.

It is amazing! I've had it for 2 years now and kitchen cleanup is completely different and much faster. It really does wash the dishes in 90 seconds! When you first turn the dishwasher on it warms up for 4 minutes; then each normal cycle takes 90 seconds. Theres also a light 60 second cycle and a heavy cycle that's about 20 seconds longer. It doesn't have a "dry" setting--you just pull the tray out and the dishes are so hot they dry themselves in a minute or two. Except for plastic, of course, I dump plastics in a dish rack to dry. Kitchen cleanup seems more physically intensive with this dishwasher--every couple of minutes you need to pull out a rack of dishes and put them away (still haven't found a machine to put things away) so you are working pretty hard for a limited amount of time. The dishwasher holds one rack at a time, not two like a regular household dishwasher. It fits 22 qt stock pots without difficulty. The dishes also need a bit more prep than a regular dishwasher--my other dishwasher is a Miele. At first I worried that I was just trading one kind of kitchen cleanup work for another but generally I am finished a large cleanup in 30 minutes or so whereas before it would take 2 hours. One kitchen design book mentioned this option but stated that it was too rough on household dishes. I haven't had any problems. I wouldn't put fine crystal in, but I do put Villeroy and Boch china and have not had any breakage or crazing. And I put ordinary wine glasses in with no breakage yet. The only thing that ever self-destructed was an empty plastic Hellmanns mayonnaise jar.

I checked with my insurance company before I bought it to see if they had any restrictions on commercial dishwashers in the home and they had none. It fits into the same space an ordinary dishwasher does--BUT you also have to have a space next to it for a closed bucket of detergent about the size of a spackle bucket and a small (optional)container of rinse fluid (like Jet-Dry). You don't add the detergent or the rinse fluid; the machine automatically takes it from a tube. The bucket lasts us over a year. If you have children though, you won't want the bucket accessible to them; we have ours in a locked cupboard next to the dishwasher. About the heat generated by the dishwasher. We were told that we would need stainless steel or something counters and we resigned ourselves to replacing our Formica when it distintegrated. Well, it never did; the Formica countertop over the dishwasher is holding up just fine. We just put the dishwasher into the same closed space that the previous dishwasher occupied.

I realize this post will be of interest to only a small segment of readers but wanted to alert you all that there is indeed a dishwasher option that seems completely unknown. I'm mystified actually, why kitchens with $5000 Sub Zero fridges and $5000 Viking stoves still have one one-hour-cycle dishwasher...why Hobart or another manufacturer hasn't adapted one of these machines for high-end residental use.

I DON'T have a high end kitchen--Home Depot cabinets, etc.--but the dishwasher is great for people who cook all the time. Oh, and you can email Hobart with the serial number of any used Hobart you are thinking of buying and they will tell you when it was manufactured. Mine was 4 years old when I bought it.

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