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Dishwasher Duties & Responsibilities

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Despite the name applied to the position, dishwashers' duties and responsibilities usually extend well beyond cleaning dishes and cookware. In commercial eating establishments, dishwashers usually perform a number of low-level tasks, most of which relate to cleanliness and kitchen organization. Often though, especially when a restaurant is shorthanded, dishwashers are detailed to food service and preparation.

Clean Dishes

The primary responsibility of dishwashers is to scrub dishes and cookware. While some dishes are placed in the dishwasher, the dishwasher must hand wash more fragile objects.

Dry Dishes

After dishes have been washed, they must be dried. Dishes are often left to air dry, but when a kitchen personnel are in a rush and lacking utensils, dishwashers must hand dry the dishes.

Run Dishwasher

Dishwashers are usually in charge of loading the kitchen's dishwasher appliance, which includes properly stacking the dishes, loading soap and running the machine.

Stack and Organize

After dishes have been cleaned, the dishwasher must stack and organize them for easy retrieval. Dishwashers usually stack dishes and cookware in consultation with chefs and others who require access to them.

Clean Ovens

In addition to cookware, it is usually the dishwasher who cleans some of the large appliances, such as the oven, the grill and the refrigerator.

Miscellaneous Maintenance

When not washing cooking utensils and appliances, dishwashers often perform other miscellaneous maintenance jobs, such as mopping, sweeping floors and cleaning bathrooms.

Taking Out Garbage

After the end of the night or the end of their shift, dishwashers often take out the garbage, which includes sorting the recycling from the compost.

Clear Hallway

In keeping with their organizational duties, dishwashers are responsible to clear the hallways to allow easy access for chefs and waiters.

Review Inventory

As the party in charge of monitoring the kitchen's use of cookware and dishes, many dishwashers are expected to keep an inventory of supplies. When a particular object breaks or needs replacing, it is the job of the dishwasher to inform a supervisor so that the object is repaired or reordered.

Maintain Hygiene

In addition to their cleaning duties, dishwashers are often given larger responsibilities related to the maintenance of hygiene, which includes becoming familiar with ordinances related to food storage and preparation and ensuring that the kitchen remains in compliance.

Serve Tables

When a kitchen is shorthanded, dishwashers are often temporarily put into service as food servers or bus boys.

Prep Food

If a kitchen falls behind in its food preparation, dishwashers are instructed to perform food prep tasks, such as chopping vegetables or stirring sauces.


Michael Wolfe has been writing and editing since 2005, with a background including both business and creative writing. He has worked as a reporter for a community newspaper in New York City and a federal policy newsletter in Washington, D.C. Wolfe holds a B.A. in art history and is a resident of Brooklyn, N.Y.

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