Dishwashers are arguably a staple in any modern household, making washing up much easier and less time-consuming. There are also a large number of everyday objects that, perhaps surprisingly, can also be cleaned in the dishwasher.
However, while dishwashers can be very convenient, it’s important that you ensure that you only load it with dishwasher-safe items. Predominantly, dishwashers are designed to clean things such as plates, bowls, mugs, cups and other tableware, but not all tableware is safe to be used in a dishwasher.
What type of tableware is safe to use in the dishwasher?
Most standard tableware is safe to use in the dishwasher, but it’s always important to check the recommendations set by the product’s manufacturer, which can usually be found on the packaging of said product.
In addition, many products have symbols to indicate whether or not it’s safe to be used in a dishwasher. These symbols can be found here; some symbols merely approve that it can be used in a dishwasher, while others are more specific and state which part of the dishwasher it should be placed in.
Generally, the standard tableware that most households own are ceramic, and these include plates, bowls, mugs and serving dishes. As this material is so common, dishwashers are designed to be able to clean them. However, it’s always best to check the packaging or any labels to confirm that they’re dishwasher-safe.
Stainless steel equipment
Most cutlery in the modern household is made from stainless steel, and dishwashers generally have a compartment/basket especially for the standard table knives, forks and spoons to be washed.
However, some worry that the combination of detergent and high temperatures may erode the metal, but it’s believed that stainless steel flatware should wash and dry efficiently if it’s spaced far away from other metal products, and as long as it’s placed in the cutlery basket or the top shelf.
Pyrex glass products
Pyrex is a type of glass; different people have different views regarding whether or not glass should be put in the dishwasher. However, it’s said that if the glass is placed securely on the top shelf, it should wash effectively. Others argue that the intensity of the dishwasher can scratch the glass, and would therefore prefer to wash them up manually.
However, Pyrex glass is a much stronger type of glass which is said to be much harder and heat-resistant, and therefore the high temperatures from the dishwasher are less likely to scratch or damage equipment made from Pyrex glass.
Plastic chopping boards
There are many different types of chopping board made from different materials. Many of these are not suitable for the dishwasher, and the unsafe materials include wood and bamboo which are made using glue, and are said to potentially warp and crack when met with intense heat.
Technically, glass chopping boards are dishwasher-friendly, but only if the glass used is stronger and heat resistant. However, as it’s quite risky, it’s often advised to hand-wash glass chopping boards instead.
However, plastic chopping boards are safe to wash in the dishwasher, because they shouldn’t crack, and this includes wood-composite boards which are made from plastic that is meant to look like wood. It’s said that due to the marks and scratches caused by knives, there are more cracks for bacteria to build, which is why the dishwasher is often the recommended method of cleaning plastic chopping boards, for a more intense cleanse.
Kitchen poultry scissors
Most kitchen scissors are made from plastic with stainless steel blades, which is said to make them dishwasher-friendly. In fact, it’s advised to clean kitchen scissors in the dishwasher, particularly if they’re used to cut poultry. This is to achieve a deeper clean and prevent spreading bacteria which may not be washed as well by hand.
Of course, like every product, it’s important to check the packaging or labels written by the manufacturer to confirm that it is safe to use in the dishwasher, especially if you’re unsure of the materials used.
Most measuring cups are made from plastic, stainless steel or other dishwasher-safe materials, and the majority of measuring cups are designed to be safe to use in the dishwasher. As always, however, it’s important to check the packaging to ensure that they can be washed in the dishwasher.
There’s a lot of debate regarding whether or not silverware can be cleaned in the dishwasher. Many people argue that you can’t clean any sterling silver tableware in the dishwasher as it will damage the metal and reduce its quality.
However, this is apparently not the case. It’s believed that sterling silver can be placed in the dishwasher, but precautions must be taken. For example, it’s said that if you’re washing silverware, it should not share the same cycle with any stainless steel equipment.
This is because the heat can cause a chemical reaction, subsequently damaging both materials. Furthermore, it’s advised to use a smaller amount of detergent with silverware to prevent damage. Most silverware owners argue that it’s too risky and silverware should be washed by hand, but it’s up to you.
What shouldn’t you put in the dishwasher?
As mentioned before, many wooden products are made with glue, such as spoons, chopping boards, bowls and pots and pans that have wooden handles.
As dishwashers use a very high temperature, the heat can cause anything made from wood to warp and crack, which not only damages the product but it can also encourage room for bacteria to grow.
Many people own cast iron pans in their kitchen, but it’s very strongly advised to keep cast iron away from your dishwasher for several reasons. Firstly, the combination of the intense heat and the wetness is said to cause anything made from cast iron to rust.
In addition, cast iron pans often contain a non-stick layer, and it’s believed that the high temperature of the water inside the dishwasher will wash this layer away, reducing the non-stick properties of the pan.
Non-stick pots and pans
As mentioned before, the water used to clean in a dishwasher is very hot, and in many cases this can be too strong and too intense for non-stick pots and pans. The heat is said to potentially ‘wash away’ the non-stick layer, making it defective.
However, many manufacturers have reacted to the growth in dishwashers and have tackled this problem by producing dishwasher-safe non-stick pots and pans. This means that it’s incredibly important to check the product information before, to see what cleaning method is advised.
Delicate tableware such as antiques, china, special glassware, crystal or anything gold-plated
The heat from dishwater water is said to be much too intense for delicate materials such as antiques, china, fragile wine glasses or anything containing valuable metals such as gold-plated tableware.
Detergents contain chemicals, and this combined with the power and force of dishwashers are destined to cause glass and crystal to chip and crack, china to shatter and gold from gold-plated items to flake away.
Overall, it’s said that delicate tableware should definitely be gently washed by hand, and should be kept as far away from the dishwasher as possible.
Thermal/insulated travel flasks
While the materials used in thermal travel flasks may be safe for the dishwasher, it’s the flask’s design that makes it highly recommended to be washed by hand.
Thermal flasks have a ‘vacuum seal’ which is a thin gap between the outer and inner layers, and the force of dishwasher water is said to fill this gap, making it impossible to empty.
This then remains in the flask, which not only adds ‘sloshing’ sound effects whenever you move it, but it’s also said to reduce the flask’s insulating abilities of keeping the liquid hot, therefore making the travel flask defective.
It’s said that some aluminium products are specially designed to be safe to clean in the dishwasher, but others aren’t. Disposable aluminium items, for example, are believed to be at risk of developing black stains when put in the dishwasher, and these black marks can be spread on to other things in there.
Furthermore, some aluminium items are prone to scratching, and the appearance can become dull over time, after being washed in the dishwasher. Therefore, it’s important to check the packaging for specific instructions.
While dishwashers can safely clean stainless steel table knives, higher quality sharp knives are said to be unsafe for obvious reasons. Although the material may be suitable for dishwashers, they can become dull and blunter very quickly, especially when washed in this way regularly.