Cleaner than Cold Water
by Mike Burk
There are a number of stories floating around the Internet
concerning the ability to adequately clean dishes with cold water. A dinner
guest discovering a plate with a filmy substance and dried specks asks
the host, “Are these plates clean?” The host replies that “they are as
clean as cold water can get them.” As the story concludes we discover
that “Coldwater” is the name of the host’s dog. This story brings to mind
some responses I hear when I question IG manufacturers regarding the practice
of using hot water and detergent in their glass washing equipment.
Doing it Wrong
There are insulating glass manufacturers that are aware that the temperature
of wash water in their glass washers is not hot enough. They attempt to
justify the practice of washing glass with cold water: “We have never
used hot water and we always pass certification testing.” “We save energy
by not heating the water.” “The water doesn’t need to be hot.” Others
understand that it is desirable for the water to be hot, but have many
excuses why it is not. “The heater is broken or undersized.” “I can’t
wait for the water to heat up, we’re behind in production.” “Our hot water
tank isn’t large enough to keep up with the demand.”
Doing it Right
Most glass washing equipment manufacturers recommend the wash water be
at least 130 degrees Fahrenheit. They design and build the washers with
immersion heaters large enough to maintain the required temperature. Many
glass washers include switches and alarms that must be reset or bypassed
in order to operate the washer with water temperatures that are below
specification. They have designed the washer to use hot water because
they realize hot water results in cleaner glass.
A consensus regarding the use of hot water usually can be reached. However,
a consensus regarding the use of detergent has been more difficult.
"Poor or insufficient
rinsing action leaves behind contaminates
that may lead to seal failures."
Most manufacturers realize that approved detergents will result in cleaner
glass due to the detergent’s ability to soften and remove oily films and
dried contaminates. These manufacturers must watch for inconsistencies
in the quantity of detergent used and the frequency in which it is added
to the process. Adding detergent only at the beginning of the shift results
in lower concentrations of detergent as the tanks are refilled. Excessive
amounts of detergent create foaming and contamination of the rinse water.
They use products or additives that have not been approved by the supplier
of washer glass and sealants can damage glass coatings, contaminate the
washer and water filter systems and lead to loss of adhesion.
Other manufacturers oppose the use of detergent due to concerns regarding
the rinsing or removal of the detergent. Poor or insufficient rinsing
action leaves behind contaminates that may lead to seal failures. When
detergents are used, it is critical that the washer rinse section is operating
correctly. There must be an ample supply of rinse water to flood the lite
of glass and completely rinse away the detergent.
Look to Suppliers for Guidance
The answers for when to use detergent are available from the glass washer
manufacturer and the glass supplier. The glass manufacturer will tell
you if the use of detergent is recommended and which detergents are compatible
with their products. Be specific when inquiring about specialty coatings.
The equipment supplier will educate you on when to add detergents and
how much is required. This will be based on the tank sizes, the type of
water filtration system and the method used to replenish the water through
If you don’t believe that detergent and hot water make cleaning easier,
go home and wash some dirty dishes. Don’t use any hot water or dishwashing
soap. Keep in mind that your glass washer will have the same difficulty
cleaning with cold water and no detergent. It will be difficult for the
washer to remove cutting fluid, oily finger prints, dust, dirt and dried
Mike Burk serves as manager, workplace learning and
development for Edgetech I.G. He may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Mr. Burk’s opinions are solely his own and do not necessarily reflect
those of this magazine.
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