6 Things That Aren’t Dishwasher Safe (& You Should Wash by Hand)

Kitchen knives

The dishwasher is a beloved kitchen appliance in many homes, it’s quite the magical machine! You load it with dirty dishes, flip a button, and they all come out clean. This appliance has eliminated one of the biggest struggles in the kitchen: the mess of pots, pans, plates, cutlery, and more associated with cooking.

Unfortunately, what makes dishwashers work so well at getting your dishes squeaky clean is also what makes them a danger zone for some kitchen items. When it comes to some of your dishware and kitchen tools, the best bet is to fill the kitchen sink with warm soapy water and wash them by hand.

Yes, it’s slightly more time-consuming but it will preserve some of your most beloved kitchen items for years to come. And just imagine if you had to wash all of your dishes by hand! It would be much worse. You can still use your dishwasher with most of your dishes.

Just beware of these 6 items that you should definitely refrain from placing in your dishwasher, and the reasons why it’s best you take the time to wash these by hand:

1. Wooden Spoons, Bowls & Cutting Boards

Wooden cutting boards, spoons, and spatulas should all be saved from a trip to the dishwasher. Why? Wood can easily warp when exposed to high temperatures. In addition, wood does tend to absorb flavors and smells. So if you’re washing a dish you used for fish, your cutting board and spoons may take on a fishy smell as well. Your wooden items will last longer if you take the time to wash them by hand.

2. Quality Knives (Especially with Wooden Handles)

Strong dishwashing detergent and high water pressure create conditions that can dull your knives. It’s not an immediate effect, but your knives will become blunt more quickly than if you wash them by hand. Anyone who has quality knives knows that they’re an investment, take care of yours by washing them in the sink and drying them with a towel.

Allowing them to air dry in the dishwasher can also cause rust spots to develop, another reason to steer clear of this appliance when it comes to your knives.

3. Select Pots & Pans

We know what you’re thinking. The whole point of having a dishwasher is so that you don’t have a sink full of pots and pans to wash. But, this really has to do with preserving your cookware and how it functions. The main ones you’ll want to avoid are cast iron skillets and Teflon or non-stick pans. If you have cast iron skillets, soap can damage them.

Also, it’s best to dry them immediately after washing, after which you should also rub in a few drops of oil. A great way to dry it off quickly is to put it on the burner for a few seconds and then wipe it down with a paper towel. If you must use soap, make sure it’s a mild dish soap rather than the strong dishwasher soap.

Many cast iron skillet owners successfully wash their skillets with just hot water. Give it a try! As far as Teflon and non-stick pans go, these are also a bit finicky. The non-stick quality of your pans may be lost when you throw them in the dishwasher. It’s best to use a soft cloth or sponge and warm water with mild dish soap.

4. Vintage or Antique Plateware

Your beautiful family china? Those antique gold-trim plates you picked up at an estate sale? Keep them clean by washing them in the sink with a soft rag or sponge and mild dish soap. The dishwasher will damage these items with the high water pressure and may even cause the paint to wear off.

5. Crystal

Crystal glassware is another item you’ll want to spare from the dishwasher. If you use the dishwasher to wash them, they may end up dulled and lose their shine. There’s also danger that they might crack due to the high temperatures and water pressure. It’s best to wash these by hand to keep them in perfect condition.

6. Disposable Items

Finally, don’t put disposable aluminum baking dishes, tin cans and plastic tubs that are meant to be disposable in the dishwasher. For tin cans and baking dishes, the concern isn’t so much the items, but your dishwasher!

Disposable aluminum baking dishes and tin cans can leave black streaks in your dishwasher and on other dishes. If you leave the labels on, the paper and glue can also clog up the sprayers in your dishwasher, meaning you might have to make a maintenance call. Avoid these troubles by washing these items by hand. Disposable plastic yogurt containers and other tubs that you re-use as Tupperware should also be washed by hand. Why?

These plastics aren’t designed to take the heat of the dishwasher, avoid a disaster by washing them by hand. So you may have to wash a few items by hand now that you know what’s best for your kitchen items and your dishwasher. But the effort is well worth it! You’ll avoid extra costs and the disappointment of ruining your family’s antique dishes.

The good news? You can still use your dishwasher for plenty of items. You can even successfully wash items like your baby’s teethers in the dishwasher to keep them completely sterilized.

And of course, all of your everyday dishes, Tupperware, pots, pans, and cutlery will do fine in the dishwasher. All you have to do is take care of some items, most of which probably aren’t used every day anyway, and take the time to wash those by hand.

Need dishwasher maintenance due to washing an incorrect item? West Coast Chief Repair is at your service. Give us a call today and learn why our repair professionals are relied on by homeowners throughout Greater Los Angeles. We look forward to serving you.



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