A dishwasher can save a ton of time and do some major magic in the kitchen. It’s a mystical device that transforms a wobbly mound of dirty dishes into spotless plates. Every holiday, tailgate, and bake sale season puts in more effort while maintaining quality. Until your favorite coffee cup or sentimental plate breaks, you enjoy how simple and convenient using your dishwasher is.
Although it is a devastating error, it occurs to every frequent dishwasher user. There is a solution to keep from making these errors, but it would take some work and a return to hand washing the items you should never clean in a dishwasher. You should never put the following items in the dishwasher.
Here are 9 items you should never clean in a dishwasher:
9. Fine China, Delicate Glassware, Fragile Plates
I’ll admit it: I frequently wash my wine glasses, including crystal ones, in my home dishwasher without experiencing any issues. After supper one night when I was visiting my mother, I demanded that I may do the same with all of her exquisite stemware. I pleaded with her, “Don’t worry. It’ll be alright. These things are intended to wash this stuff without it breaking.” You probably already know how this narrative turns out. I still make amends whenever I go.
If your fine china, pottery, and glassware are pricey or delicate, you should avoid putting them in the dishwasher unless you’re ready to take the chance that you’ll damage or ruin them. Just to be clear, the difficulty doesn’t stop with your belongings being broken as these are items you should never clean in a dishwasher. Over time, hand-painted patterns on plates and printed measurement lines on glass measuring cups may fade or become murky or discolored.
Even though the marks may fade over time and it will be necessary to replace the glass measuring cups, I still frequently throw them in the dishwasher. I consented to that danger. Before you unintentionally damage the stuff you own, figure out yours.
8. Anything Wooden
The fact that wood is an organic material that may be harmed by heat and moisture has always seemed so clear to me. It expands, warps, and splits after absorbing water. Nevertheless, I have removed wooden spoons and other objects from more dishwashers than I can recall. It eludes me. Although I am aware that people once wore wooden dentures, do you know why we no longer do? Because water-logged cooking utensils from a dirty dishwasher and saliva-saturated teeth are both abhorrent, hence why these are items you should never clean in a dishwasher.
7. Pressure Cooker Lid
The pressure cooker lid has a few parts that are better removed before putting it in the top rack of the dishwasher, despite the care instructions. Depending on your model, you may need to remove and manually wash the float valve, sealing ring, pressure release knob, and anti-block shield separately. The issue? These components are inaccessible in some models. Spending a little more time could extend the life of your pressure cooker as its lid is one of the items you should never clean in a dishwasher. It’s better to be cautious than sorry because small pieces could go misplaced or broken in the dishwasher.
6. Silicone Baby Products
Despite the fact that many silicone baby devices are dishwasher safe, parents may have observed how easily scents stick to these products. So a dish or bowl may still smell like your dishwasher detergent or rinse aid after being taken out of the dishwasher. Hot water exposure and incomplete rinsing can definitely seal in those odors, hence these rank among the items you should never clean in a dishwasher. Why give toddlers anything extra to complain about at mealtime when they may be such fussy eaters? These objects can be hand-washed in warm water with unscented dish soap to help eliminate the soapy smell.
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5. Some Plastics
I’m not as passionate about this group, but it merits consideration in your own home. Growing numbers of people have voiced their worries in declarations and recommendations about the potential health dangers that many of the plastics in our daily lives, particularly for children, may provide. Concerns include the possibility of such polymers degrading during repeated heating and washing cycles when used in the dishwasher and microwave.
I must stress that this is not at all settled science, and there are many people who would dismiss those worries as extreme and unfounded. However, even in the lack of solid proof, it might still be worthwhile to cut back on the quantity of plastic that gets regularly put through the dishwasher. There is undoubtedly no damage in doing that, especially as there are numerous glass, wooden, and stainless steel storage choices available to use in their place (although, as was already mentioned, wood shouldn’t be put in the dishwasher).
Practically speaking, the intense heat of a dishwasher can harm various plastic objects, placing them on the list of items you should never clean in a dishwasher. Over the years, I’ve put numerous plastic cutting boards in the dishwasher that said they were safe, only to discover that they were deformed when they came out. Some suggest that placing those plastic boards solely on the top rack will stop warping, but why take a chance? Given that only the tiniest cutting boards will fit on the top rack, how practical is that recommendation in any case?
4. Anything With a Hollow Handle or Thermal Insulation
A stainless steel sauté pan explosion once came close to killing me. It was constructed commercially, with a hollow, tubular handle that had one end welded to the pan body and the other end crimped shut with a lot of force. I used to regularly wash that pan in the dishwasher since I thought the stainless steel would be sturdy enough though it now ranks among the items you should never clean in a dishwasher.
It turned out that whereas the sealed hollow handle couldn’t, the stainless steel could. A loud explosion rocked my kitchen one night, sending the pan flying into the air and smashing to the floor while a projectile flew across the room and shattered into the backsplash by the sink. I had been briefly distracted by a phone call that I had received at the time.
The seal on the crimped end of the tubular handle had been compromised by moisture due to all many dishwashing cycles, I later realized. After some time, there was enough water within that when it was heated, there was enough steam to burst the crimped end open.
This was an extreme occurrence, but it serves as a useful reminder that water can force its way into places where it is not intended to. In a dishwasher, this frequently happens inside the vacuum-sealed walls of thermal bottles and coffee mugs, another set of items you should never clean in a dishwasher.
That water will still have an effect even if there isn’t an explosion; at the absolute least, it will rust or grow mold, or worse, it will seriously weaken the thermal barrier.
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3. Any Metal Except Stainless Steel
This is a lot of information, so it’s simpler to think of it like this: Only totally stainless steel items that won’t rust or be readily damaged should ever be put in your dishwasher (although rust is still possible even then). The layers of seasoning that you diligently built up on cast iron or carbon steel will be peeled off, and on top of that, they will rust quickly in the humid environment, hence these are items you should never clean in a dishwasher. Additionally, you should avoid washing enameled cast iron in the dishwasher since, despite the metal being largely protected, the enameled finish may still be harmed.
Likewise, aluminum has no place in a dishwasher. I recently purchased several old aluminum steakhouse sizzle platters on eBay and carelessly threw them into my dishwasher. What emerged had regions of hazy white dryness and was drab and charred, ranking these among the items you should never clean in a dishwasher. I should have recalled that aluminum is very reactive.
Manufacturers frequently anodize it, which means they cover it with a protective oxide coating that won’t react with other materials, to address this issue. The issue is that phosphate-based dishwasher detergents have the ability to remove this anodized coating, exposing the metal to a variety of undesirable conditions. You can still utilize aluminum that has been damaged in this way; but, it is ugly and will eventually reduce the equipment’s longevity.
Metals like copper and brass that are prone to tarnishing are also best avoided in the dishwasher since they may get dull (and eventually become damaged) under the pressure of those abrasive detergents.
Moreover, nonstick cookware? Forget it; putting it through the dishwasher will hasten the breakdown of that delicate coating, another addition to the items you should never clean in a dishwasher. (And anyway, why would you wash a nonstick pan? The simplest to clean off all the surfaces, a fast wipe is all that’s required; if not, you definitely need a new nonstick pan.)
2. Knives and Sharp Tools
I am aware of the scenario. You’ve spent the entire night preparing dinner; all you want to do is collapse on your bed and scroll through Instagram aimlessly, but there are a ton of dishes that need to be done first. Even the tiniest housekeeping task can feel very unpleasant at this time.
And so you find yourself thinking, “It wouldn’t be too bad if I popped these in just this once,” as you stare at your filthy knives.
But it’s not good for a number of reasons.
In the lead is safety. Unsuspecting hands digging through a tightly packed dishwasher are sure to find those blades, like steak knives, sometimes from the incorrect end. You may have loaded the dishwasher, but you may not have unloaded it, hence placing knives among the items you should never clean in a dishwasher.
Sharp objects in the dishwasher are still deadly no matter how careful you believe you have been, and they are just as dangerous when thrown into a sink brimming with dirty dishes. You must hand-wash all knives and blades for reasons of safety, with the exception of the ones that are the most worn-out, like butter knives.
Putting your blades in the dishwasher is bad for the knives themselves in addition to the risk of laceration. Strong detergents will cause their sharp edges to tarnish more quickly, which is undesirable for home cooks who don’t regularly sharpen their knives, place them among the items you should never clean in a dishwasher. Additionally, handles can be harmed, and metals, particularly carbon steel, can rust.
If that’s still not enough to persuade you, remember that blades can also harm your dishwasher by tearing through the rubberized coating on the dishwashing racks, which may eventually cause them to rust.
1. Items you should never clean in a dishwasher: Air Fryer Basket
I’m sorry to deflate your air-fried balloon, but it’s best to wash this part by hand. It’s a good idea to hand wash it to protect the integrity of that surface even if the majority of manufacturers consider it dishwasher safe due to the internal non-stick coating. Additionally, this basket is large and has far too many crevices, which is nasty because dirty dishwater can linger inside even after the drying cycle is finished, placing these among the items you should never clean in a dishwasher.
Some air fryer baskets can be cleaned in the dishwasher, but I don’t understand why you should take that chance when you can quickly wash the basket by hand. We still advise washing by hand and letting it soak after cooking marinated chicken in an air fryer since the sauce seeps through to the bottom and fries onto the surface, placing these securely among the items you should never clean in a dishwasher.
You should take good care of a Ninja Dual Zone or an Instant Pot if you’ve invested a lot of money in them. Personally, I’d just hand-wash the basket with regular dish soap and a non-scratch sponge from Amazon because it’s a lot better to keep it clean over the long haul.