What Does Dishwasher Safe Mean? | Mr. Rooter Katy, TX

You’ve probably seen labels on dishes and glassware, depicting whether the item is dishwasher safe. Unfortunately, there is no standard for what makes an item dishwasher safe, so you may still need to use some extra care and judgment as to what’s safe for your dishwasher.

Dishwasher Safe Labels

A dishwasher safe label generally means that the item has been treated in some way during its production that makes it better able to withstand the heat, water pressure, and detergents used in dishwashers. It can also mean that the item has been tested for dishwasher use and it will likely not be damaged — or cause damage to your machine and plumbing.

How Items Are Made to Be Dishwasher Safe

Different kitchen items are manufactured to be dishwasher safe, using techniques depending on the material:

  • Glass. Kitchenware made of glass is often “annealed” or cooled slowly so that it can better handle temperature changes. Tempering also uses a thermal or chemical process to strengthen the glass.
  • Ceramic. Many ceramics go through similar processes as glass items, but the difference is that dishwasher safety and durability is affected by the type of glaze used on the ceramic surface.
  • Plastic. Plastics are not generally treated for dishwasher safety, but the type of plastic will determine if it is safe. Some plastics can easily melt, causing problems. Others can become brittle and crack in the heat. Safe plastics should be labeled.

How to Know What’s Safe

Look for labeling on the item itself, or its packaging. Sometimes it’s simply the words “dishwasher safe” or a symbol of a glass and plate with a water droplet above. But due to the lack of standardized testing and labeling, some items might be ok in one dishwasher but not another. Differences in temperature, water pressure, detergent distribution, and more can lead to different results. Never put wooden items, cast iron, delicate china, items with stickers, or dishes heavy with food debris in the dishwasher.

If you’re experiencing issues with your dishwasher, contact Mr. Rooter of Katy, Texas. Our experts can get your dishwasher back on track.


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