Industry Dish

Working as a Dishwasher: Everything You Need to Know

Working as a Dishwasher: Everything You Need to Know
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Dishwashers are the backbone of a clean and well-operated restaurant. Not only is it an essential position, but it can open doors to other restaurant roles in the future.

If you’re hoping to be a lean, pristine kitchen-cleaning machine, then this guide to working as a dishwasher is just for you. Roll up your sleeves and get ready to learn the lay of the restaurant dishwashing land.

Working as a Dishwasher: How to Be Efficient in the Kitchen

Dishwashers keep the restaurant kitchen spick and span. When working as a dishwasher, you’ll be expected to:

  • Thoroughly wash plates, cups, silverware, cooking utensils, pots and pans and more
  • Utilize cleaning machinery like sprayers to ensure dishes are properly cleaned
  • Dry cleaned utensils, plates, glassware, and more and place them in designated areas
  • Mop or sweep floors in the kitchen
  • Assist chefs with putting away ingredients, help load and unload deliveries
  • Adhere to hygiene and cleanliness regulations

With a wide range of tasks to juggle in the kitchen, dishwashers need to be focused and efficient. One way to be more effective is to learn the skills needed to thrive and how to wash dishes fast in a restaurant without sacrificing job quality. Read on for details.

Skills to Have as a Restaurant Dishwasher

As you can imagine, learning how to work a dishwasher job at a restaurant is not as simple as knowing how to scrub a few plates. You’ll need specific skills to excel in this role. Let’s explore some of them together.

Time Management

You’ll need to be on time for every shift and able to balance multiple responsibilities throughout the day. This is why time management skills are so important. Ideally, you should be a few minutes early for each shift to show the employer that you value the job and are ready to work.


They say teamwork makes the dream work, and this rule also applies to restaurant kitchens. Working together with the chefs, line cooks and other back of house staff is the best way to ensure that operations run smoothly. So don’t be afraid to speak up and ask questions if you’re unsure about something.

Knowledge of Health Codes

Since sanitation is at the core of the restaurant dishwasher job, it’s important to stick to the health codes and guidelines laid out by local and state laws. Having a working knowledge of best practices will help you avoid mistakes or confusion about proper procedures.

Knowledge of Safety Codes

 With hot stovetops, sharp knives, heavy machinery and more, being safe in the kitchen is vital. If you’ve never worked in a kitchen, be sure to research common safety measures so that you understand how to get the job done while keeping yourself and others safe.

Knowledge of Commercial Dishwashers

 Being familiar with using commercial dishwashers is essential to being a dishwasher as it isn’t the same as handwashing at home.

Tips for Working as a Dishwasher

This section is all about how to be a good dishwasher at a restaurant. Roll up your sleeves, and let’s get started.

1. Keep a steady pace.

Busy shifts are the norm for restaurant dishwashers. A common beginner mistake is to start at a speed that is difficult to maintain. This causes productivity to decline as the shift goes on. While it’s important to stay quick, pick a lively pace that you can stick to through the whole shift.

2. Be considerate of other staff.

Why not make life easier for your coworkers? To do so, thoroughly clean your station before you leave. This ensures that the person who works after you will have a clean slate to work. Additionally, when you have downtime, ask others what they need help within the kitchen. If you’re willing to lend a helping hand, your coworkers are more likely to return the favor.

3. Stand out from the crowd.

If you want to move up the ranks, be a reliable employee. Be willing to work extra hours or come in for last-minute shifts. This show of dependability sets you apart from others who do the bare minimum. So if you’re hoping to impress and move into a higher-level role, be sure to go the extra mile.

4. Have a great attitude. Approach your restaurant dishwashing role with a bright outlook. A smiling face brightens the kitchen and makes tough days a little easier. Plus, friendly, outgoing employees are more likely to get promoted. So boost your mood and moods around you by bringing a great attitude to work each day.

How to Wash Dishes Fast in a Restaurant

In addition to possessing the appropriate skills, you need a sure technique. To clean dishes quickly and thoroughly, here are some simple steps you can take.

First, learn how to prioritize. The fact is, dishes will pile up. Rather than getting overwhelmed, focus on items that the kitchen staff is running low on. This way, you are meeting the needs of your teammates while tackling the task at hand.

Next, use the right tool for the job. If you’re scrubbing caked-on food with a soft sponge, you’ll get nowhere. Soak grimy pots and pans to let the hot water and soap break down food particles while you wash less intense dishes. And reach for heavy-duty tools like a steel wool scrubber if you need extra help to get things clean.

Last but not least, think outside of the box. Is there a more efficient way to perform cleaning tasks in the kitchen? Are there certain jobs that always take a long time to complete? How can you speed up the process? As you work in the kitchen, notice processes that could use some reworking and try new methods to keep dishes spotless while saving time.

How to Get a Restaurant Dishwasher Job

Ready to bust some suds? Well, you’ll need to apply for a restaurant dishwasher job to get started. To do so, follow these steps.

1. Make sure you meet the qualifications.

As with any job, you’ll need to demonstrate to the employer that you can perform the job well. Fortunately, you do not need a lot of experience to land the role.


Most restaurants require dishwashers to have a high school diploma or equivalent. Additionally, it’s important to have the skills listed above so that you can enter the job with confidence.

2. Apply to open roles in your area.

Restaurants are often looking for new dishwashers to add to their back of house team. So finding some open roles should not be too difficult. Once you do, go in person to drop off your application and express your interest in the role. If you’re hoping to work on your own flexible schedule, consider utilizing a professional platform like Qwick. That way, you can scrub when you want to and leave your schedule open when you have other plans.

3. Prepare for the interview. When you get called in for an interview, show up looking clean and professional. Most importantly, show up on time. After all, the employer needs to know that you are reliable.

Be prepared to answer common dishwasher interview questions, such as “Why do you want to work at this restaurant?” and “How would you juggle the different aspects of your work in this role?”

How much does a dishwasher make at a restaurant?

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, restaurant dishwashers make an average of $13.52 an hour. This number is an average, meaning it could be lower or higher depending on where you live, your experience and the type of restaurant you’re working in.

Remember that working as a dishwasher can serve as a stepping stone in your career path. Many restaurant employees, managers and chefs got their start as dishwashers before moving up the ranks and earning more each step of the way.

Want a Flexible Schedule? Find Dishwasher Jobs at Qwick

Now that you know what it takes to be a dishwasher, it’s time to get to work. Qwick is the modern job solution that will help you do just that. Once you have experience and after creating an account, you’ll attend a virtual orientation to get all the information you need to rock the role.

Then, start taking shifts. Businesses post to the platform, and you scroll through and select the shifts you want. If you’re ready for a hassle-free job search, sign up for Qwick today!

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Kitchen staff posing

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