What Items Are Not Dishwasher Safe?

Have you ever been gifted the perfect mug – ideal size and shape, aesthetically pleasing design, a hint of humor but without compromising style – only to look at the bottom and notice it says, “Not Safe for Dishwasher”?

Perhaps you decide there and then that it will be only used as a pencil holder. Or maybe you’ll suck it up and just hand wash it as it was recommended. Or maybe you’re a rebel and you decide to give it a whirl through the dishwasher anyway. What’s the worst that could happen, right?

Well, let’s just say there’s a reason some things are NSFDW: Not Safe for the Dishwasher. Which items should NOT go in a dishwasher?

Nonstick Cookware

Most nonstick cookware is a no-go for your dishwasher. Even if the manufacturer gives you the greenlight, it’s wise to proceed with caution.

If you feel so inclined, try it out once, then take a look at the aftermath and make sure damage isn’t being done. Depending on your dishwasher and the type of soap you use, it may or may not be a good fit, long-term.

Sometimes it’s best to just play it safe and wash it by hand. Good news though – if you haven’t ruined it during the trial washing cycles, it should be pretty easy to clean still!

Cast Iron

Remember how long it took you to get your cast iron skillet seasoned just right? Don’t ruin it by putting it through the dishwasher! The abrasive dishwashing detergents will strip the surface and leave it vulnerable to rust.

Instead, use only hot water and scrub gently with a soft sponge; never use steel wool or other harsh materials on cast iron.

Anything with Wood

Wooden spoons, knives with wooden handles, cutting boards, and any other item with wooden parts should be washed by hand.

Why? The heat of the dishwasher drying cycle can cause the wood to crack, warp, or split. Furthermore, dishwasher detergent is abrasive and can scratch the wood.

Also, when washing by hand, don’t submerge these items for long periods of time. Wood is very porous, so if it has too much moisture and doesn’t fully dry, you’ll have to share your favorite kitchen gadget with bacteria. Yuck! Just do a quick wash with soapy water, and you’ll be on your way.

Breakable Items

Perhaps you’ve already learned this one the hard way. Delicate items should not go into the dishwasher unless you want to spend an afternoon removing shards of glass and porcelain from your appliance.

If you’ve already taken a chance and now you’re dealing with subpar dishwasher performance, it might be time to have an expert take a look to assess the damage.

Certain Plastic Items

Many plastic items are fine to go in the dishwasher; others are not. Always check the manufacturer’s label. This will be on the original packaging of course, but often it’s also marked on the bottom of the product.

In many cases, it’s safer to put plastic items on the top rack. This is because it’s safer from the bottom rack heating element (if it has one), and also because the item will be less likely to be jostled around, as there’s less space above the top rack.

Insulated Cups

Why are insulated cups on the “no fly” list for dishwashers? They are insulated using a vacuum seal, one that usually gets busted open during a dishwashing session due to the extreme heat levels. So even if you can’t see the tiny break, it is there, as evidenced by the newfound water within the insulation walls after a dishwasher cycle. If that’s the case, it is, unfortunately, time to throw it out, as mold can fester quickly.

Sharp Knives

While very convenient, it’s best not to put your sharp knives into the dishwasher. The detergent will dull the blades over time. These are best washed by hand. Butter knives are fine to go into the dishwasher, as they’re already fairly dull and don’t require sharpening.

Aluminum and Copper

Some items, such as those made with aluminum and copper, might be technically “safe” for the dishwasher, but with a caveat. Just ask yourself: what’s more important to me, convenience or long-term shine and “wow” factor? Pots, pans, bowls, or any other item made with aluminum, copper, or other precious metals are liable to be ruined after even just one whirl through the dishwasher.

Schedule a Consultation

Still have burning questions about your appliance? Perhaps your dishwasher isn’t drying properly, or you’re wondering about common dishwasher myths.

It’s frustrating to deal with inefficient or broken appliances. It’s even worse when you have to wait for repairs. Fortunately, Abbey Appliance in Lee’s Summit offers Same-Day Service; most repairs can be completed with just one visit. Connect with Abbey Appliance to explore your options today!