While most consumers are familiar with certifications related to energy and water efficiency, if sanitization of glassware, dishes and cookware is important for your home or small business, there is another certification that might be of interest.
Next to handwashing, proper cleaning and sanitizing of kitchen work surfaces used for handling and preparing food is probably one of the most important ways to protect against foodborne illness at home. In fact, a 2011 germ study conducted by NSF found that germiest place in most homes wasn't the bathroom, but the kitchen.
Getting Dishwasher-Washed Dishes to Smell Clean
While it's important to regularly clean and sanitize kitchen countertops and sinks, the dishes and cookware used to prepare and serve food also need to be properly cleaned and sanitized between each use as well.
One of the ways to effectively clean and sanitize dishes is to use a dishwasher certified to NSF/ANSI 184. This standard helps confirm that a residential dishwasher can achieve a minimum 99.999% or 5-log reduction of bacteria when operated on the sanitizing cycle.
In addition to confirming the unit's ability to sanitize dishes and cookware, NSF/ANSI 184 also establishes minimum design and performance requirements related to cleaning effectiveness. NSF uses over 100 lbs. of cherry pie filling to test the cleaning effectiveness of residential dishwashers each year.
NSF/ANSI 3 establishes design, construction, material and performance requirements for commercial dishwashers used in restaurants and other facilities frequently subject to public health inspections. It requires that units not only achieve a minimum 99.999% or 5-log reduction of bacteria, but the final rinse temperature requirement for most units is 180 F.
Getting Stinky Smells out of a Dishwasher
Since residential plumbing codes limit how hot water can get in the home to prevent scalding, the final rinse temperature requirement under NSF/ANSI 184 is 150 F. Based on sanitization performance testing, certified residential dishwashers can achieve the same level of sanitization as commercial dishwashers, but they do so at a lower temperature by extending the duration of the rinse cycle.
If you are in the market for a new dishwasher and sanitization performance is important to you, give yourself peace of mind and look for a dishwasher that is NSF certified to NSF/ANSI 184. A list of NSF certified products is available in our consumer listings database.