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What Well-Known Items Cannot Go in the Dishwasher?

Posted by Andres Jimenez on
what items cannot go in the dishwasher

There is nothing more convenient in a kitchen than a dishwasher.  It saves us loads of time and effort, effectively cleaning our dishes and leaving them sparkling.  But, something that many first-time dishwasher owners learn the hard way is that not all dishes in our kitchen are meant to go into the dishwasher and failing to know this ahead of time can lead to some damage of your most loved cookware, cutlery, and more. 

So, which items should be strictly washed by hand?

A Quick Word on What Dishwasher Safe Means

No industry standard definition actually exists for what can go in your dishwasher, but it’s sorta more like an unwritten rule.  Basically, dishes that’re able to withstand high heat, wash sprays, and detergent without damage can be considered dishwasher safe. Every kitchenware manufacturers accompany their own measures and processes to decide overall standards.  You can also frequently notice some variation of “dishwasher safe” printed on the bottom or in back of dishes.

Which Items Should Be Strictly Washed by Hand Then?

Now, the moment you’ve been waiting for.  This list here will certainly up your dishwashing game knowledge, so that you can keep those dishes effervescently clean and damage-free.

#1: Kitchen Knives

Those sharp kitchen knives that let you slice & dice shouldn’t go in your dishwasher.  For one thing, the detergent in a dishwasher is much stronger than standard dish soap, and this can easily dull the blades.  Besides that, you’re at a decent risk of cutting yourself when unloading your dishwasher.

#2: Wooden Dishes

Our wooden bowls and other wooden dishes have natural, protective oils that are inherent to the wood itself, which keep the wood strong and resilient.  The surfactants in dishwasher detergent, like we said, are very strong, and can strip these oils away, which leaves the wood vulnerable to cracking.  With any dishes made from wood, you want to quickly clean them by hand, avoiding letting them soak so that the wood doesn’t swell up.

#3: Cast Iron Skillets

Throwing your cast iron cookware in the dishwasher will remove the crucial layer of oil that sits on top of the surface.  This layer of oil prevents food from sticking to it, and more importantly, keeps your skillets from rusting and becoming unusable.  Even if you think your cast iron cookware is so dirty and crusty that only a dishwasher will do the job, instead stick to manual methods which are much gentler.

#4: Nonstick Cookware

No nonstick cookware should go in a dishwasher, and that includes pots and pans that are labeled as dishwasher-safe.  That nonstick coating will start to fade away due to harsh detergents and high drying temperatures, and once that coating is gone, food will start sticking to the surface.  But, more importantly, once that nonstick surface is chipped or stripped away, harmful toxins from the material below can make their way into your food.

#5: Ceramic Cookware

Ceramic is a somewhat fragile material, and your Dutch oven and other ceramic cookware just can’t handle the harsher environment of your dishwasher.  Basically, a dishwasher will remove the ceramic coating, and cause irreparable damage to your most trusty pots and pans.

#6: Aluminum Cookware

Extremely hot water in dishwashers can stain the surface of aluminum and any harsh dishwasher detergents can dull the finish.  So, avoid placing them in the dishwasher due to them possibly marking adjacent items as they shift around during the washing cycle.

#7: Hand-Painted Dishes

Any dishes that are hand-painted should be washed by hand.  The incredibly high temperatures of a dishwasher are likely to destroy the beautiful painting work and leave what was once a gorgeous dish looking faded and sad.

#8: Thin Plasticware (also known as Tupperware)

Thinner Tupperware is prone to melting in the dishwasher due to the incredibly high temperatures, especially during the drying cycle.  Not only will this leave you with misshapen, unusable containers, but it can also be dangerous, because that melted material can make its way onto the grill of the dishwasher and start burning, releasing toxins into the air.  If your Tupperware is thin enough for you to manipulate its shape by hand, then keep it out of the dishwasher.

#9: Delicate China

China is just too delicate for the aggressive nature of the dishwasher.  You’re very likely to end up with chipped plates and saucers, and even if that doesn’t happen, the material will get weaker and weaker with each dishwasher cycle, until it eventually falls apart.

#10: Delicate Crystal

Like China, crystal should never go in a dishwasher, because it’s far too fragile, and just can’t handle what your dishwasher has in store.

#11: Printed Measuring Cups

Measuring cups with measurements printed on the side should be hand washed.  Why?  It’s due to dishwasher detergent removing measurements on these cups, making them unusable for measuring.

#12. Anything with Paper labels

Dishwashers can loosen and remove paper labels from bottles and jars.  These pieces of paper can become firmly fixed or embedded in the drain of the dishwasher, potentially causing future drainage issues, or even stick on other dishes.  Either way, this creates an untidy clean up problem.  Just simply remove the labels first, to avoid all of this from happening.

#13: Any Precious Metal

You know that fancy silverware you keep in a red velvet box, only to be used for special occasions? Never put that into a dishwasher. Any flatware or any items made from precious metals (such as silver, gold, etc.) should be washed and dried by hand. 

Keep Your Dishes Safe by Knowing What Can and Cannot Go in the Dishwasher

None of us want to ruin our favorite dishes, which is why you always need to know ahead of time what in your kitchen is not dishwasher-friendly.  Thankfully, all of the above items can be washed by hand, even if it takes a little bit of elbow grease.  Also, keep in mind that those large chunks of food still on your plate can clog the dishwasher drain or end up on otherwise clean dishes.  You don’t regularly have to rinse dishes before loading them in the dishwasher, but you should scrape them gently, as this again, will make it easier for those dishes to be better washed with the help of Grab Green Home Dishwasher Pods.

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