Career Development

Dishwasher Job Description: Salary, Duties, & More

Dishwashers are responsible for washing and sterilizing dishes, glasses, and other items used in restaurants. They work in kitchens, usually with other cooks and kitchen staff.

Dishwashers are responsible for washing and sterilizing dishes, glasses, and other items used in restaurants. They work in kitchens, usually with other cooks and kitchen staff.

Most dishwashers work in commercial kitchens, but some may find employment in institutional settings like schools, hospitals, and nursing homes.

Dishwashers usually work full time and are on their feet for long periods of time. They may stand or walk up to eight hours a day, with frequent bending, lifting, and twisting.

Dishwasher Job Duties

Dishwashers are responsible for the following duties:

  • Scraping, cleaning, and rinsing dishes before loading them into the dishwasher
  • Loading dishwashers with plates, utensils, glasses, etc. before starting cycles
  • Ending cycles by unloading dishes according to procedure and rinsing them off with soap suds or another detergent solution
  • Loading and unloading dishes, pots, pans, dishes, silverware and other kitchen ware into dishwashing machines
  • Cleaning dishes, including items such as cups, plates, silverware and pots and pans by hand
  • Cleaning food debris from kitchen surfaces such as counters and floors and disposing of trash and recycling materials
  • Storing clean dishes in cabinets or racks until needed for use

Dishwasher Salary & Outlook

The median annual wage for dishwashers is $25,950. The highest earners make over $35,000 per year. Those earning higher wages tend to work in hotels and other lodging places.

Job opportunities for dishwashers are expected to grow slower than average over the next decade. This is due to the increasing use of technology and the growing use of part-time, contract and temporary employees.

Dishwasher Job Requirements

The requirements for dishwashers are as follows:

Education: Most employers prefer that their dishwashers have a high school diploma or equivalent. 

Training: On-the-job training is the most common approach. Supervisors and mentors work with the new employee every day to show them how to do their job. This training is usually for an informal period of time.

Certification: There are no specific certification programs for dishwashers. However, many companies require that their employees take food safety courses before they begin working.

Dishwasher Skills

To be a successful dishwasher, you must have the following skills:

Physical strength: You must be able to lift heavy pots, pans, and trays of dishes without hurting yourself or damaging the dishes.

Attention to detail: Dishwashers must pay close attention to the condition of dishes and utensils before washing them. They also need to be careful when loading and unloading machines, in order to avoid damaging glassware or other fragile items.

Good time management skills: Dishwashers must be able to multitask and work quickly under pressure. 

Team player: You will be working with other dishwashers, cooks, servers, and managers. Teamwork is crucial in this environment.

Knowledge of safety procedures: Dishwashers must know how to follow safety procedures in order to avoid accidents on the job site.

Dishwasher Work Environment

Dishwashers work in the kitchens of restaurants, hotels, hospitals, and other establishments. Kitchens are typically fast-paced and sometimes chaotic environments. Dishwashing is an entry-level position, and as such workers should be flexible and helpful as they may be called upon to assist with other general duties.

Dishwashing jobs can be physically demanding as dishwashers spend most of their time standing while they wash dishes quickly, and often by hand. This is a hands-on position but can be a great way to start off in the hospitality industry if you have no industry-related education or experience.

Dishwasher Career Advancement

Dishwashers typically advance to higher-ranking positions within the restaurant. In some cases, a dishwasher may become a line cook. In others, a dishwasher may take a position in the front of the house as a server. These positions typically require a higher degree of communication skills. If a dishwasher has a knack for keeping things clean, he may advance to a housekeeping job, which requires a different set of skills altogether.

In some restaurants, a dishwasher may become a kitchen manager. In this position, he or she will oversee the day-to-day operations of the kitchen staff, schedule shifts, and make sure all foodservice laws are being followed. In some cases, a kitchen manager may also be in charge of ordering food and equipment to make sure the restaurant is operating at peak performance.

Dishwasher Trends

Here are three trends influencing how dishwashing professionals work. Dishwashers will need to stay up-to-date on these developments to keep their skills relevant and maintain a competitive advantage in the workplace.

Green Cleaning

More restaurants are starting to focus on green cleaning solutions that are better for the environment and more sustainable. This trend will likely continue in coming years as environmental concerns grow more important to consumers, with some restaurants opting to purchase eco-friendly dishwashing detergents, or using bulk dispensers of green cleaning products instead of buying packaged goods.

Additional Job Duties

As the culinary industry becomes more competitive, there is an increasing need for high-quality dishwashers who can help to improve the efficiency of kitchen operations.

While traditional dishwashers focus on cleaning dishes and loading/unloading equipment, Workers may also be tasked with stocking items in the pantry or repairing appliances.

Demands for Higher Wages

As consumers become more aware of how their food is prepared, dishwashers are expected to be increasingly cognizant of potential safety issues in order to maintain a good reputation with diners.

A recent study found that approximately 60% of Americans are willing to pay more for higher quality dishes at restaurants, which will lead to increased demands for the highest possible standards when it comes to food preparation. Dishwashers will want their wages to increase to keep pace with increasing job responsibilities.  

How to Become a Dishwasher

1. Planning Your Career Path

If you’re considering a career as a dishwasher, it’s important to know that there are many different types of dishwashing jobs. For example, some require working in a team setting while others call for more solitary work.

If you’re interested in working in a restaurant, your experience will be largely hands-on. In this environment, the ability to think on your feet and quickly adjust to changing demands is crucial; similarly, good people skills are necessary to work well with co-workers and customers alike.

Many employers will look for someone who has worked in food service or hospitality before; if you’re interested in working as a dishwasher, consider volunteering at a restaurant near you. 

2. Writing a Resume

The best resumes for dishwashers highlight their abilities to work quickly and accurately. In addition, employers will be looking for a solid work ethic and a willingness to learn new skills.

It is useful to provide a brief description of your experience in the foodservice industry including any positions you have held, the number of years of experience, and any tools or equipment you have operated or worked with.

To highlight your ability to work well with others and handle stress, include details such as how you communicated effectively and how you resolved conflicts. For example, if you worked in a fast-paced environment with many different people and tight deadlines but were able to meet all expectations effectively then this would be a good thing to highlight.

In terms of skills, it’s important that you include anything that may set you apart from other applicants such as leadership roles, promotions, certificates earned, etc.

3. Applying for Jobs

In order to obtain a job as a dishwasher, you should apply to positions at local restaurants. In addition to applying online, it’s a good idea to ask your friends and family if they know of any openings in their areas. You should also try going to the restaurants in person and talking to a manager. If there are no jobs available, let them know that you’re interested and willing to work in any capacity.

Look up restaurant job listings on job search sites like Indeed or Craigslist. Check if the restaurants in your area have a website with a “careers” section. Even if you don’t know of any restaurants in your area that are hiring, put yourself out there and make a few calls to see if anyone is interested in talking to you. Be confident and explain why you would be a good fit for the position. Consider looking for part-time work to gain additional skills and experience. 

4. Ace the Interview

Interviewing for a dishwashing position is relatively straightforward. You will likely be asked some of the same questions as for other restaurant jobs, such as how you would approach an irate customer or what your favorite restaurant is. The interviewer may also want to ask about your willingness to work hard and be a team player. They might also ask what you hope to gain from the job and how you plan to improve upon any flaws in your current performance.

In addition, if you know anyone with experience working as a dishwasher, even something as simple as volunteering at a friend or family member’s restaurant can give you valuable insight into what interviewers look for in this position. Ask someone who works as a dishwasher if they could answer some questions for you ahead of time, so you can prepare the right answers.


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