Steam Cleaning Dishes Is More Effective, Environmentally Friendly

Using superheated steam in dishwashers could provide a more effective, environmentally friendly solution to cleaning dishes, according to researchers from the Technical University of Dortmund and the Technical University of Munich in Germany.

What to know:

  • Conventional dishwashers often do not kill all the harmful microorganisms left on plates, bowls, cutlery, pots, and pans.

  • The long cycle times of conventional dishwashers use large quantities of electricity as well as water, and the soap pumped in and out is released into water sources, polluting the environment.

  • Prototypes for superheated dishwashers combine high velocity steam with fluid dynamics and heat transfer and once a certain threshold temperature is reached, microorganisms are deemed killed or inactivated.

  • Superheated steam dishwashers can kill 99% of bacteria on a plate in just 25 seconds, making these washers much faster, more effective, and more environmentally friendly than conventional technology.

  • A superheated steam dishwasher would initially cost more but would pay off in the long run with savings on water, electricity, and detergent and would be ideal for use in restaurants, hotels, and hospitals, which must meet high hygienic standards.

This is a summary of the article “Simulations of thermal phase changes and bacterial inactivation in a superheated steam dishwasher,” published by the American Institute of Physics on September 1. The full article can be found on

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