15 Things You Should Never Put in Your Dishwasher

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The dishwasher is an essential appliance in every kitchen. Every day it’s expected to have our dishes sparkling clean. It saves significant time that we’d otherwise be spending washing dishes by hand. So when disaster strikes and this much-relied upon appliance malfunctions, we really begin realizing how significant a role the dishwasher truly plays in our life. Fortunately, there are a few things you can do to ensure nothing you do will inadvertently damage the machine.

Conversely, some items are not meant to be washed in a dishwasher because it can be damaged. The following guide will walk you through the basics of what items can and cannot go in the dishwasher. Sure, there are some ones that will be quite obvious like aluminum foil in the dishwasher, but it’s likely that some items on the list you hadn’t considered. Keep reading to learn more about the 15 things you should never put in your dishwasher.

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Wooden Spoons, Cutting Boards and Bowls

Can you put wooden spoons in the dishwasher? No, it’s never a good idea to put wooden spoons, wooden bowls, or wooden cutting boards into the dishwasher. The detergents we use to make our glassware and plates come out crystal clear can actually damage the wooden items.

There are natural oils in the wood to preserve the item and prevent it from drying out. Once oil is stripped off, the wood will begin to crack. Not to mention the extreme heat generated during the dishwashing cycle.

This can damage your wooden items beyond repair. Wood items should be hand washed in warm water, with a mild detergent or dish soap. It’s never a good idea to allow these items to soak in water as this can distort the wood and cause swelling.

If you want to disinfect the wood, create a mild solution of warm water and chlorine bleach with a ratio of 1/4 cup of bleach to half gallon of water.

Kitchen Knives

Kitchen knives are another item that you’ll want to avoid putting in the dishwasher. This is to protect not only the knives but also the dishwasher itself. The sharp blades of the knives can actually pierce the protective coating used on the baskets and racks of the appliance. If this happens, you open yourself up to the potential of rust in the dishwasher rack, which can spread quickly throughout the appliance.

In addition, the rigors of the dishwashing cycle along with the harsh detergents needed to clean and sanitize our dishes can actually dull the blades faster and cause the handles to loosen and decay. Knives are always something that should be hand washed. Lastly, it comes down to a matter of safety, unloading the dishwasher and maneuvering around sharp blades can be extremely dangerous. 

Sieves and Graters

When it comes to things like cheese graters and sieves, you’ll want to keep these away from the dishwasher and wash these by hand instead. The rule is fairly simple – anything with a sharp edge should steer clear of your dishwasher. Much like sharp knives, graters and sieves can also damage the protective coating applied to the interior.

In addition, from an effectiveness standpoint, a full dishwasher is crowded enough, once you place items with tiny little holes in too, it’s nearly impossible for water to flow through them all to properly clean the item.

Cast Iron Pans

Cast iron in the dishwasher? Avoid it at all costs. Hand-washing cast iron pans and skillets are the best way to go. Never put these items in the dishwasher. Cast iron has existed for hundreds of years and can last for an extremely long time when properly cared for. In order for cast iron to maintain its rust-free finish while preventing food from sticking, it is treated with oil. The oil will penetrate the iron and create an essentially perfect surface to cook on.

Now, you can imagine what happens when this then goes in the dishwasher. The extreme conditions combined with harsh cleaning agents strip the oil from the cast iron. The same thing goes for cast iron pots and pans with enamel exterior coating. You must always wash cast iron pans with warm water and mild soap.

Aluminum Pans and Cookware

Aluminum cookware and pans are another items to avoid putting in the dishwasher – even if the dish claims to be dishwasher safe.

If the aluminum has not been anodized, the rigors of the dishwasher will lead to corrosion.

Copper Mugs and Pans

Copper is a classic and stylish material for dishes, but to maintain this look, it must be cared for properly. The dishwasher will dull the finish instantly and lead to corrosion. Always make sure to hand wash your copper cookware.

Lids for Pressure Cooker

It may seem easy to slide your pressure cooker or slow cooker lids into the dishwasher, but this could cause irreparable damage.

Any lids with dials or electrical controls on them must never be placed in the dishwasher. They will be damaged beyond repair if they’re placed in the dishwasher.

Nonstick Pans

Even though nonstick cookware claims to be dishwasher safe, over time, the nonstick coating will become less and less effective. In fact, you’ll start to notice it turning into a stick coating. These pans should be hand washed with warm water and dish soap.

Ceramic Pans

These ceramic pans are misleading. It’s actually a ceramic coating applied to an otherwise metal vessel. Ceramic coating is typically applied to such surfaces like aluminum, stainless steel, copper, and even cast iron.

Placing these items in a dishwasher can damage this special coating so be sure to avoid placing it in the dishwasher.

Insulated Cups and Tumblers

Insulated tumblers and cups are another things to keep out of the dishwasher. With any plastic or metal materials, hand washing is still the best practice. A paste of baking soda and water will help get rid of any funky coffee stains. 

Hand Painted or Printed Glasses

Any hand-painted or printed glassware should be kept out of the dishwasher and hand washed.

The extremes of the inside of the dishwasher could potentially ruin the finish and any special patterns or designs on your glasses.

Thin Plastic Tupperware

The high heat created inside the dishwasher can ruin plastic tupperware, so it’s best to avoid placing thin plastic tupperware in your machine at all costs. Hand wash this type of tupperware to get the best clean.

Gold Coloured and Metallic-Trimmed China

Any metallic-trimmed or gold-colored china should never go into the dishwasher. Sterling silver in the dishwasher works just fine and will maintain its impressive finish – this can’t be said about gold.

Gold flatware will lose its color and dull over time with repeated trips through the dishwasher. You’ll want to make sure these items are always hand washed. Fine china with images or metalwork will erode over time so make sure this is hand washed too.

Vintage and Delicate China

The same rule applies to any vintage or delicate china that has been repaired. The high heat created during the dishwashing cycle will dissolve the adhesive used to put the item back together. You must always hand wash any dish that has been repaired. If you’re working with the crystal, you’ll want to hand wash these items as well as harsh detergents can lead to clouding.

Sterling Silver Knives

Now, just because it’s okay to put sterling silver flatware through repeated trips in the dishwasher, the same cannot be said about sterling silver knives.

This is because sterling silver knives are often manufactured with a hollow handle, and the extreme heat in the dishwasher can cause the glue to dissolve or melt. Once this happens, it won’t take long before the handle of the knife and blade separate.

Contact Us 

The dishwasher is a wonderful appliance that can save a lot of time in the kitchen. But, it can also ruin some beloved cookware that should never be placed in a dishwasher, to begin with. When used properly, the dishwasher can be your best friend. Keep this handy guide fresh in your mind the next time you load your dishwasher and see if you’ve been putting anything on this list into your machine. 

When you need the best dishwasher repair near me, look no further than Alpha Tech Appliance. We have many years of experience repairing dishwashers of all brands.

For more information on dishwasher safety and maintenance, along with advice for best practices or dishwasher repair, call the experts at Alpha Tech Appliance.