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Diatribe: Nine Kitchen Items A Dishwasher Can Destroy.


Family meals at my grandmother’s house were always wonderful.  Cleaning up after them, as I recall, was quite a feat.  Her kitchen, you see, did not have a dishwasher.  She washed her dishes in a dishpan and dried them with a soft towel.  After a big dinner, volunteers would help with washing and drying but nobody ever knew where anything was kept so we would stack the clean dishes on her kitchen table until there was room in her small kitchen to maneuver and tidy up.  Eventually, she did get a portable dishwasher on wheels that she could push into her kitchen and fasten to her sink but, it was often easier to wash and dry a few dishes than to move the large appliance around.

Anyone who uses a dishwasher in their kitchen with any amount of regularity knows that there are just some things that aren’t worth putting in there.  For instance, in my house there are coffee mugs that have bottoms that become small bowls when turned upside down and, consequently, fill with water whenever they’re washed in the dishwasher.  When we take them out at the end of the cycle to put them away, we generally splash all of the other clean dishes and end up towel drying anyway.  So, why not skip the hassle and make it a habit to wash a few things by hand, leaving the dishwasher to do the rest of the work?  Here’s a list of nine things that should, probably, never be placed inside your dishwasher.

Wooden Spoons – Wooden spoons, other wooden kitchen utensils and some wooden cutting boards can lose their finish, warp, and crack when put in the dishwasher.  Check the manufacturer’s label for washing instructions specific to each item or wash by hand just to be safe.

Crystal – Washing crystal in a dishwasher is the equivalent of letting it bounce around the surf at the beach.  The high temperature and the harsh detergent can chip and crack crystal as well as lose its shine.

Anything Gold- or Silver-Plated – Plates with silver trim, glassware with gold rims or any gold silverware should never be washed in a dishwasher.  The heat and detergent can, essentially, chew right through the gold finish and leave you with chipped and faded plates, glasses and utensils.

Copper Pots and Pans – One of the reasons that many people purchase copper pots and pans is because of their appearance and putting them in the dishwasher can change the color, leaving you with ugly and faded eyesores on your stovetop.  It’s always best to wash these by hand.

Cast Iron – Cast iron skillets and griddles should never be washed in the dishwasher as the process removes any “seasoning” that has taken place during use and all but defeats the purpose of the tried-and true cooking favorite.

Quality Knives – While it’s usually fine to place butter and cheese knives in the dishwasher, it’s best to wash larger, quality knives and sharp steak knives by hand.  Harsh detergents will knick and dull the blades.  Plus, placing them into and removing them from the dishwasher can harm the rack itself.

Insulated Mugs – With the exception of those made by Tervis, I don’t place any insulated mugs in the dishwasher because the space between the outer and inner layer always seems to fill with water and I end up with a mess.

Antiques or Kitchen Hand-Me-Downs – If you’ve been entrusted with family heirlooms or dishes from grandmother’s closet, there’s a good chance they are not dishwasher safe and cannot withstand its heat.  If in doubt, I find it best to wash them by hand.  A good rule of thumb is anything made prior to the 1960s or anything that’s been painted.

Stemware – Even on the top shelf, don’t be surprised if you find broken wine or champagne glasses when you unload your dishwasher after a party.  If you value your stemware, always wash it by hand.

Do you agree with these nine?  Have you encountered any of these issues in your own kitchen?  Do you have any other items to add to the list?  “Doing the dishes” can be a chore, but replacing them after your dishwasher destroys them is worse.


From → Diatribes

  1. Ditto, ditto, ditto….We have succumbed to the dishwashing gods on many of these items, as well.


  2. Rick permalink

    My Circulon anodized aluminium cookware. It makes them look terrible. Some non stick cookware can also loose the finish from the racks inside the dishwasher rubbing on their cooking surface.


  3. thedogs'mother permalink

    I’ve banned ‘heated dry’ – nobody in this extended tribe know how to keep things off the bottom that will warp and also secure stuff so it does not land on the heating elements.


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