Look Before You Load: What Not to Put in the Dishwasher

If you cook or eat at home often, there’s no doubt that owning a dishwasher can simplify your life, regardless of the size of your household. Most kitchen items can be popped into the dishwasher after you’ve used them, but some cookware should never see the inside of that appliance. But how do you know what is dishwasher safe if there’s no sticker or print on the bottom of a pot or a kitchen utensil to tell you?

what not to put in dishwasher

Learn what not to put in the dishwasher, so you can spend a little less time worrying about whether you’ve irreparably damaged your favorite skillet or chef’s knife.

Can You Put Copper Pots in the Dishwasher?

Not if you want it to last. Copper is a popular choice for cookware, as it’s great at conducting heat. The metal’s warm hues mean it’s not too shabby to look at either. However, if you put your copper pots and pans in a dishwasher, you run the risk of dulling their shine and shortening their lifespans.

Can Stainless Steel Go in the Dishwasher?

The jury is still out on this one. Some items, such as stainless-steel silverware or mixing bowls, could make it out of the dishwasher unscathed. However, other items forged of this material should only be washed by hand, specifically cookware like pots and pans. Because there is a question of whether or not it’s safe for all stainless steel to be cleaned in the dishwasher, you may want to rule out unnecessary risks and handwash all of these items.

Can You Clean Cast Iron Skillets in the Dishwasher?

The answer to this is a resounding no. In fact, some people are of the belief that if you try to put a cast iron skillet into the dishwasher, you shouldn’t be allowed to own it in the first place. Why? In addition to being prone to rusting, cast iron is seasoned, which is why there are special cleaning rules you need to be aware of when cooking with this material.

What Other Items Should Never Go in the Dishwasher?

Surprisingly, there are quite a few things that shouldn’t be placed in the dishwasher, in addition to those made of the three materials outlined above. We’ve compiled a handy list of several common kitchen items that should always be washed by hand. Keep in mind that this list is by no means comprehensive; if you’re unsure of what not to put in a dishwasher, handwashing is almost always your best course of action.

What not to put in a dishwasher:

  • Any items made of aluminum
  • Enameled cast iron
  • Family heirlooms, crystal, gold-plated dishware, fancy china or expensive glassware
  • Good kitchen or steak knives
  • Insulated mugs
  • Non-stick pots, pans and bakeware
  • Plastic storage containers or appliance components made of plastic, unless the manufacturer’s instructions specify they’re dishwasher safe
  • Wooden utensils or cutting boards, including knives with plastic handles

Now you know which cookware and kitchen items should not be put in the dishwasher. But did you know that this handy kitchen appliance also needs to be cleaned from time to time? Check out these tips on cleaning your dishwasher, so you can make sure it earns its keep for years to come.

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