Does Hot Water Clean Better?

“It’s a strange world of language where skating on thin ice can get you into hot water.” - Franklin P. Jones, columnist for the Saturday Evening Post

My grandmother was a stickler for washing dishes with hot water. Super hot water. Either you wore gloves, or you lost a few layers of skin. Even then, you had to rinse the gloves with cold water every few minutes to keep from melting them. She was convinced that only the hottest hot water could truly clean a plate.

And she was right.

But she was also wrong.


My grandma was right – hot water can help clean. The high temperature will help to dissolve grease and loosen its hold on the cleaning surface (plates, pots, pans, floors, etc.). Hot water presents some greater challenges, though.

It takes only five seconds to receive a third degree burn in 140-degree water. That's an alarming statement. Numerous government agencies and nationally-recognized organizations are pushing for hot-water limits to be set at 120 degrees in bathing areas. Granted, you don't take a bath in your three-bin sinks. If you account for wash time, though, your workers’ hands spend more time in the sink water than the average person does in the tub.

Many customers that we work with have a hot water tank at one end of the store with sinks spread out across the facility. A sink near the heater may register 120 degrees, but the sinks at the far end of the store may struggle to get over one hundred degrees. To fix this, many will choose to crank the temps above 140. We have even seen tanks set at 180 degrees – near boiling – so that water temperatures in the distance parts of the building can be above 100 degrees. This is not only dangerous, but the higher utility bills can really start to eat into your business’ bottom line.

Hot water isn't the only way to clean. You have four basic types of energy that can be used when cleaning any mess.

1.) Time (soaking)

2.) Mechanical energy (scrubbing)

3.) Chemical energy (soap)

4.) Heat (water temperature)

Hot water can burn. And you don't always have time to let things soak. Should you spend all day scrubbing? Better to put a little degreaser into your wash water. SCORE All-Purpose Degreaser is specially-formulated to break the chemical and physical bonds between grease and the surface you're cleaning. The product’s molecules are designed to penetrate the grime and position themselves as a wedge between it and the surface you’re cleaning, lifting and separating dirt and grease into your wash water.

Let the chemistry do the work for you -- and protect your employees and your business.


We were required to wash with hot water because Grandma thought it killed germs. Turns out, hot water does not kill germs unless it is VERY hot – 180 degrees or more. That’s fine when you’re using a dish machine. In a sink, though, you’re talking about a very serious risk to the health of your workforce.

Enter the sanitizer. A sanitizer is a chemical that kills germs. Every health department official walking past the sink is going to want to check sanitizer levels to verify their germ-killing ability. While some businesses prefer to use a chlorine bleach for this job, we recommend a quaternary ammonium sanitizer like Sentry Quaternary Sanitizer. Like bleach, Sentry will kill germs on contact. Where bleach’s effectiveness diminishes as it dries, Sentry continues working for several hours, preventing the re-growth of bacteria on the sanitized surface.


Having your hot water above 120 only endangers your workers and your store. Better to set the temperature lower and find ways to let the chemistry do the work for you. Our all-star lineup from Sunburst Chemicals will not only get the job done effectively, it will save time, money and a few layers of skin.


Read more about the products discussed here:

Score Sentry Delite Pot & Pan Detergent