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What Not to Put in Your Dishwasher

Dishwashers are lifesavers in the kitchen. They can get a mound of dirty dishes and utensils sparkling clean in a relatively short time with minimal effort. But despite popular belief, they are not the best way to wash everything. In fact, their high-water temperatures and drying functions can actually ruin some items.  

Although many items carry the label ‘dishwasher safe,’ there are also many that do not. So how do you know what can and can’t go in your dishwasher? How do you know what items are not dishwasher safe? 

What Is Dishwasher Safe? 

Let’s first review what ‘dishwasher safe’ means. Manufacturers of kitchen items normally help us out by labeling their products as ‘dishwasher safe’ or ‘not dishwasher safe.’ You can usually find the symbols on the bottom of the dishware. The “dishwasher safe” symbol includes a box with plates or glasses inside. Either lines or droplets represent the water washing over the dishes in the box. The “not dishwasher safe” symbol is often the same box with dishes crossed out with an X. Some may indicate “hand wash only” instead, which shows hands washing plates. These are also found on the bottom of the dishware.  

Some products don’t have any dishwasher safety symbols at all. So how do you identify if these products are safe to put in your dishwasher or not?  

Related TopicHelp! My Dishwasher Will Not Drain 

What Is Not Dishwasher Safe? 

Believe it or not there are a lot of items you shouldn’t put in your dishwasher because they are not made to withstand the dishwasher cycle. Running these items through your washer may damage the item, or it may eventually reduce the effectiveness of your dishwasher.  

Here are some items we don’t recommend putting in your dishwasher: 

  • Cast iron pans. The extended exposure to water and harsh detergent at a high temperature can ruin the pan’s finish and eventually lead to premature rusting.  

  • Wooden cutting boards and utensils. The high heat and exposure to water for an extended period can warp, splinter, and eventually break wooden boards or utensils. Therefore, it’s best to keep these items out of your dishwasher. 

  • Antique or hand-painted china. Whereas china is commonly considered safe to wash on a “light” or “china” setting, if it’s antique or a hand-painted piece, the dishwasher can eventually wear away the fine detailing. Any delicate or hand-painted items should always be washed by hand with a gentle dish soap to preserve the original art.   

  • Expensive chef’s knives. The heat and water pressure from the dishwasher jets can eventually dull the blades and remove the coating that protects the knives from rust. Again, hand washing these types of items is recommended. 

  • Gold rimmed dishes or glassware. Like with other delicate items that have detail to them, the heat from the dishwasher can wear down and eventually remove some of the gold and/or metal detailing. 

  • Aluminum or copper cookware. The high temperature will eventually dull and darken the color of these pots and pans. If the pan is not ionized, the water jets, over time, can also cause pitting and corrosion. Taking a little extra time to hand wash these items will help extend their life. 

  • Insulated cups. High heat is not good for the material used to insulate these types of cups. The heat can shrink or breakdown the insulating material. If this happens the vacuum seal that provides the cup’s insulating properties is damaged, which makes the cup less effective at insulating. 

  • Dishes with labels still attached. This can affect how well your dishwasher functions. Labels can loosen and fall off in the washer, which can clog your dishwasher filter. This could cause problems in the future and prevent clean washes. 

  • Crystal. The heat and movement in dishwasher cycles can cause some items to shift. This can crack delicate items, so it’s best to hand wash any valuable or delicate items. Even though it takes a little longer, it’s worth protecting such valuable items. 

Replace Your Old Dishwasher for Better Performance 

Your dishwasher is a heavy use appliance that helps save valuable time and makes your life easier. Understanding what can and can’t go in your dishwasher will not only protect your dishware, utensils, pots, and pans, but it will also help it perform better and extend its life.  

If your dishwasher is not operating efficiently or it breaks down, it may be time to replace it with a new dishwasher. When that time comes, your local Mr. Rooter can help. We offer expert installation that guarantees the job is done right the first time, so your appliance is up and running as soon as possible. Give us a call at (855) 982-2028 or request an estimate online today. 

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