You might not have realised it yet, but hardcups are increasingly common in the hospitality industry. From festivals and venues to sports clubs and pubs, you see them more frequently instead of, say, beer glasses. This kind of cup has a huge impact not only on the atmosphere in the pub or party, but also on the environment. Not only are they increasingly common at local clubs and festivals, Horeca Nederland also recommends using hardcups instead of disposable cups.
But what exactly are hardcups, and what are the pros and cons of using these glasses if you want to clean them? You can assume that these glasses can be cleaned in the same way as beer glasses, but there are some small differences that might be interesting to know.
In this blog, we list the Do’s and Don’ts of cleaning this glass, so that you as a café, restaurant or event are well prepared to clean your hardcups in the most optimal way.
What exactly are hardcups?
Hardcups are hard plastic cups designed to be reusable over and over again. They are made of thermoplastic polymer than can take a beating, making them longer lasting and sturdier than a normal disposable plastic cup. You see hardcups more and more often, as new regulations have been in place since 2023, making the use of Single Use Plastics less lucrative, with further regulations set to start in 2024.
For these reasons, you increasingly see hardcups at big events, festivals or your local pub instead of traditional glasses. As these types of cups become increasingly popular, new variants such as water bottles or coffee cups for personal use have started to pop up. They are not only safer and easily reusable, but also a lot more environmentally friendly when compared to disposable cups.
In short, hardcups have many advantages compared to other cups, but can you clean them the same way as other glasses? You might think so, but there are some differences you need to pay attention to. First, we list the Do’s, so you can get started right away!
Cleaning hardcups – the Do’s
To start with, the most important thing is to rinse them by hand in a sink. A sink combines a number of aspects in one making it the perfect environment and method to make your hardcups as clean and hygienic as possible. These factors are the water contained in the sink, the temperature of the water, and the soap in the sink. These aspects all affect not only the hardcups, but also the drink in the glass itself.
Firstly, water that does not contain harsh chemicals, such as chlorine, is optimal for cleaning hardcups. The water in a sink comes directly from the tap, and has not been in contact with harsh chemicals that you do find in conventional dishwashers or dishwashers in restaurants. This protects the cups from wear and tear, and ensures a firm head of foam when pouring beer, for example.
Furthermore, the temperature affects the effectiveness of scrubbing and the removal of stubborn dirt that might be stuck to the glass. This is a well-known fact, but sometimes gets forgotten when things get a bit busier, and you don’t have time to refresh the water.
Finally, using good soap is important to get the glass really clean. The soap added to a dishwasher already causes glass corrosion, and this effect is even more destructive on plastic cups. Therefore, cleaning, for any glass, requires gentle soap to maintain the quality of a glass.
A simple solution to get the scrubbing, water temperature and soap right, an AquaFox system combined with an AquaBrush is the solution. The AquaFox system automatically keeps the temperature constant, adding the gentle soap when needed by itself. Furthermore, the brushes of the AquaBrush are gentle on the glass, preventing cracks or damage. With this combination, you ensure that glass corrosion is impossible, while keeping the glass hygienically clean.
You might think that it all sounds simple, but putting the glasses in a dishwasher is even easier. The dishwasher, however, is often not the best solution for cleaning and preserving your glasses. But why are dishwashers not optimal in most instances?
Cleaning hardcups – the Don’ts
The single biggest problem hardcups have compared to glasses: you can’t just clean them in the dishwasher. They may be resistant to a little heat, but the chemicals and heat in a dishwasher quickly cause hardcups to crack and wear down. This not only makes the cups weaker, some of these cracks are not noticeable to the naked eye. Once the cracks are in the cup, it is a breeding ground for bacteria, making the cups suddenly very unhygienic. A dishwasher specifically does 3 things that causes it to destroy your hardcups: the water is hot, it contains a lot of chlorine, and uses harsh chemicals while cleaning.
To give an example, the temperature of the water in a dishwasher is higher than in the sink. By itself, this is not a problem, but when combined with chlorine and other chemicals in the water combined with rinsing, it can deform, wear and tear your cups. A hardcup can withstand a little heat, but not the combination of heat and dishwasher detergent.
This triple attack on your cups is not a problem for normal glasses, but it is a big problem if you want to keep your hardcups in use for a long time. Therefore, as discussed in the Do’s, you need to wash your glasses in a sink by carefully cleaning with your hands and (optimally) a brush.
So to make the hardcups as clean as possible, and keep them as long as possible, it is wise to avoid the dishwasher if possible. Dishwashers generally have a high energy cost, use 70% more water compared to an AquaFox system, and dump more harmful chemicals in the waste water. The combination of the water, temperature and type of soap in a sink is the perfect environment to keep your hardcups hygienic and undamaged.
The very best thing, then, is to attach an AquaFox system to your sink. This system is designed to tackle the 3 Do’s of cups cleaning as efficiently and glass-friendly as possible. The water is automatically refreshed, and the soap ensures that your glass is not damaged but still cleaned without any harsh chemicals. Your customers will definitely notice the difference between a dishwasher hardcup and AquaFox sink hardcup.