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How to De-lime a commercial dish washing machine. The Commercial dishwasher in your kitchen is a vital piece of equipment because serving dirty plates to customers might not be as forgivable as an overcooked steak. Limescale build up in your machine can be detrimental to your businesses. A lot of things will go wrong if the dish machine is not taken care of. One of the most serious threats to your dishwasher is hard water and its deposits called limescale.
Limescale build up will lead to mineral deposits forming on your plates. This will appear as a white film on your plates and glass ware. So what is the solution?


Lime build up is a common issue with any type of equipment that uses water. White crusty deposits will form inside the machine also around your dish machine and glass washer. Besides giving your kitchen that old and dirty look limescale can prevent your dishwasher from operating properly and eventually break down. Moreover lime buildup could cause mineral deposits or a white film to form on your dishware and glassware. This is something that your customers won’t rate positively. There are chemicals designed to specifically combat and remove limescale called descalers or delimers, and there are special water softener systems, designed to cut the issue in its root.


As mentioned previously, hard water is rich in dissolved mineral such as calcium, magnesium, iron and lime. Limescale is a white, chalky deposit of these minerals that hard water leaves behind after it evaporates from a surface.Precisely because water evaporates more quickly when exposed to heat, you’ll see limescale build up the quickest in kitchen appliances that use heated water, such as your commercial dishwasher.

​There are general maintenance practices that can be carried out to ensure your machine does not get a build-up of limescale and the performance of your machine does not decrease.

1. Thoroughly clean out your dishwasher. This needs to be carried out daily. Drain the water from the machine. Remove the spray arms and thoroughly clean all the nozzles. Because blocked water jets will reduce the cleaning efficiency of your machine. Ensure that you do not use bleach or chlorine detergents. This can damage the machine. Use fresh water only.

2. The Filter must be check regularly. Food particles can clog the flow of water. Drainage will be hindered meaning water will become stagnated in your machine. The calcium carbonate minerals in the water will build up around the drain.

3. If you are using a manual water softener ensure that is replenished once a week. If not your machine is more at risk of having lime build up. Water hardness can change also drastically affect the period between regeneration.

4. Ensure the tank water is refilled every 20-30 wash cycles. Avoid water sitting in the tank from the whole day cycle. When the water evaporates or is finally drained out all the hard water minerals will be left in the tank forming limescale. 

5. If your machine is covered by limescale you can clean it by using a descaler. Let your machine fill and heat up. Put approximately 10oz of descaler into the machine and leave it for 1 hour. Run a few wash cycle so it can clean all the jets. Once this is done drain the machine out also flush it with fresh water. It’s recommended to repeat the same procedure one more times. This time run machine without adding any descaler so the machine can get rid of the all residue.


To prevent limescale from forming on your equipment, you’ll need to think about introducing a water softener system. However, in case you already have a limescale buildup, you’ll need to delime your dishwasher. Although there are some natural ways to remove limescale.

Since limescale and detergent stains are difficult and time consuming to remove in a commercial kitchen environment, you won’t get by without the use of commercial chemicals that have high limescale removal properties. You will be using a chemical substance that goes around by many names – delimer, descaler, scale remover or lime remover.

Limescale remover consists of low foam surfactants and acids, and acids are the main ingredient that makes a descaling agent powerful against scale.

On one side, we have limescale carbonate minerals that are alkaline, and on the other we have a delimer that is an acidic solution. The reaction between an acid and base is called “neutralization reaction”, because the acid will dissolve the minerals and leave surface with a nice, shiny and limescale-free surface.

There are three types of acids used most often in commercial descalers and they range from least aggressive to most aggressive:

  • Lactic acid based delimers  – least aggressive;
  • Phosphoric acid based delimers – medium aggressive;
  • Hydrochloric acid based delimers – very aggressive.

As for the surfactants, their main purpose is to remove other limescale components, such as oils, rust, silica and other contaminants that can be found in the water system.

Regular maintenance and deliming are all a part of our commercial dishwasher service program. We offer top commercial dishwasher cleaning solutions & equipment.

Have additional questions about commercial dishwashers for your business?  Talk to a specialist today! 435-674-6727 or email