11 Things You Probably Shouldn’t Put in the Dishwasher

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Moving into an apartment with a dishwasher was a game changer for me. I didn’t have to be as picky with what I used in the kitchen because I knew it wouldn’t take me a long time after cooking to clean everything up. That said, I learned quickly what should and shouldn’t be cleaned with the help of this kitchen luxury. While there are definitely things that clearly say the item should be hand-washed, it’s not always so easy.

Here are a few kitchen items that you might consider hand-washing instead of putting in the dishwasher. I’ve complied this list based off my own experience and with some help from some dishwasher experts.

There are a litany of strange things that are OK to put in the dishwasher, but here are some things to avoid:

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  1. Cast Iron: Cast iron requires a little more attention and care than your other pots and pans and shouldn’t be put in the dishwasher. See our tutorial for how to properly clean cast iron.
  2. Good Knives: Your good knives dull quicker when put in the dishwasher. Instead, hand-wash your knives and dry with a tea towel. For more information on washing your knives, click here.
  3. Crystal: This is an obvious one. Dishwasher detergent and heat can potentially chip or crack fine crystal. Don’t risk ruining your very expensive and precious items, and just hand-wash ’em instead.
  4. Wooden Utensils: Some wooden items can go in the dishwasher, but it’s best to check with the manufacturer first (if possible). You risk having the wood warp or lose its finish.
  5. Nonstick Pans: Again, it’s best to check with the manufacturer to see if your nonstick can be put in the dishwasher. But in case you don’t know the brand or want to be super careful, nonstick is best to hand-wash. You risk the pan losing its non-stick quality.
  6. Copper Pans: You risk changing the color of these gorgeous pans by putting them in the dishwasher.
  7. Soft and Hard Plastic: Some harder plastics can be put in the dishwasher if the manufacturer says it’s OK; just make sure to put them on the top rack.
  8. Disposable Aluminum: You risk getting black residue or marks all over the aluminum item and the other things in the dishwasher.
  9. Gold-Plated Dishware: The dishwasher can potentially eat away at the gold. It’s better to avoid ruining your plates or silverware and simply wash these items by hand.
  10. Insulated Mugs: I’ve definitely put an insulated mug in the dishwasher by accident only to have the space between the outer and inner layer filled with water. Not cool.
  11. Anything with Adhesives: Labels with glue can clog and hurt your dishwasher. It’s best to either get rid of the labels before putting the item in the dishwasher (like with glass bottles), or simply wash by hand.
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A Few More Notes From the Experts

The list above encompasses the basics, but I also went straight to the experts! I talked to Cascade and Samsung; they repeat some of the points above, with some helpful notes.

A representative from Cascade added that you should consider washing the following products and materials by hand. A few of these things surprised me!

  • Aluminum utensils, pots, pans, or baking sheets (these can discolor or corrode in the dishwasher)
  • China (hand painted or antique)
  • Hand-painted ceramics/stoneware
  • Hollow-handled knives
  • Milk glass
  • Enamel
  • Porcelain
  • Pewter

A representative from Samsung added the following when trying to decide whether to hand-wash or use a dishwasher:

It is always best to ask the manufacturer of each of item because it can vary. The representative states: “I personally would not put cast iron in my dishwasher because it affects the actual cast iron; but there are people who do it and continue to cook on the cast iron with no concerns. I wouldn’t put gold or silver plated items because they can show wear; but doing so will not hurt the dishwasher.”

Do you have anything you never put in the dishwasher that isn’t on this list? Do you put some of these things in the dishwasher and have never had a problem? Let us know in the comments.

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