What you can and can't clean in a dishwasher

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While it’s safe to wash most tableware in the dishwasher, you should check other things like pans and containers to make sure they won’t get damaged. 

Most new products tell you if they’re dishwasher safe, but for anything that doesn’t, you can find out the general rules below.

Dishwasher safe

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Everything in this section is safe to wash in your dishwasher.

Cutlery: ✔

Knives, forks, and spoons can be washed every day as they’re designed for regular use and washing. Silverware is fine in the dishwasher too - just be prepared to polish it back up to a bright shine, as washing up liquid can dull it if done regularly.

Plates: ✔

All kinds of plates can be washed in the dishwasher - just scrape any big bits of food off before they go in. 

Glassware: ✔

Most types of glasses hold up just fine to being cleaned in the dishwasher. Put them upside down so that water and detergent can get inside. However, you should wash crystal by hand, as the heat from a normal dishwasher cycle can cause cracks.

Stainless steel: ✔

Stainless steel utensils and cutlery can be washed without worry. The only thing to be wary of are wooden handles and non-stick surfaces.

Heat-resistant plastic: ✔

Anything made of heat resistant plastic (so pretty much anything that’s microwave safe) can be cleaned in the dishwasher. If you’re unsure, just check the bottom and you’ll usually see a message. 

Not dishwasher safe

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Here's a list of common things that shouldn't be cleaned in the dishwasher. If you usually put things from this section in the dishwasher, it's a good idea to switch to washing them by hand to stop them getting damaged.

Wood: X  

Anything with wood on it shouldn’t be cleaned in the dishwasher. The heat and water can strip the finish and glue holding the handles on, causing them to discolour and come away from the metal.  

Fine china & decorative porcelain: X 

Decorative, hand painted, or valuable crockery should be carefully washed by hand. Dishwashers use powerful jets of water to remove dirt, which can damage delicate plates and vases. 

Non heat resistant plastic: X 

Most plastics are safe to wash in the dishwasher, if it isn’t specifically labelled as safe to use in the dishwasher, containers can lose their shape in the heat of a wash cycle.  

Aluminium: X 

The shine and smooth surface of aluminium pans and trays can be ruined by the chemicals and heat they’re exposed to inside the washer. Always was aluminium by hand. 

Non-stick pans: X 

Non-stick pans have a Teflon coating on the surface that stops food from sticking to it. The dishwasher breaks this down, so it’s best to just wash them by hand (which is easy enough thanks to the coating).  

Rubber: X 

Travel mugs and other things with rubber on them shouldn’t be cleaned in the dishwasher. The heat and detergent misshape the seals and causes leaks. 

Sharp knives: X 

The sharp edge of knives can get dulled in the wash. Normal knives are fine, but anything used for chopping or slicing should be washed carefully by hand. 

Cast iron: X 

Although they can be difficult to wash by hand, you should avoid putting cast iron pans in the dishwasher as they can chip and start to rust. 

Crystal and blown glass: X 

While some crystal is sturdy enough to handle a full wash cycle, some isn’t, so it’s safer to wash it by hand. Blown glass is really susceptible to heat, so always wash it by hand.

Hopefully we’ve covered everything you need to know about what can and can’t be cleaned in the dishwasher. 

If you want to speak to us about anything, you can contact us here.

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