Dishwashers make kitchen cleanup fast and more efficient, but it’s important to know which items are best washed by hand. While most everyday dishes are generally safe in the dishwasher, items like wood, certain pots and pans, crystal and china, and knives can be damaged by dishwasher detergent and high heat. Read on to learn what makes something dishwasher safe and see a list of what you can and can’t put in the dishwasher.

Dishes loaded in the lower rack of a dishwasher

What does dishwasher safe mean?

There isn’t an industry standard definition for what can go in the dishwasher, but the general consensus is that dishes that are able to withstand high heat, wash sprays and detergent without damage can be considered dishwasher safe. Each kitchenware producer follows their own measures and process to determine their standard, and you can often find some variation of “dishwasher safe” printed on the bottom of dishes.

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Can you put china in the dishwasher?

Some china and everyday ceramic dishware like plates, bowls, mugs and serving dishes hold up fine in the dishwasher. Check for dishwasher-safe markings on the dish, or consult the manufacturer’s instructions for the suggested cleaning method. Anything antique, metal-rimmed or hand-painted should be hand washed due to the possibility of breakage or fading from high water pressure, abrasion from detergent and/or high temperatures.

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Can you put plastic in the dishwasher?

Hard plastic items can be placed in the top rack (check for a dishwasher-safe marking first), but thin or disposable plastic runs the risk of melting. Acrylic and melamine dishes should also be hand washed to avoid hairline cracks and fading.

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Can you put stainless steel in the dishwasher?

Check the manufacturer’s instructions if you’re not sure, but most stainless steel bowls, measuring cups/spoons, baking sheets and other items can be placed in the dishwasher.

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Can you put cast iron, non-stick or copper pots and pans in the dishwasher?

Cast iron, enameled cast iron, non-stick, and most aluminum pots and pans should never be put in the dishwasher. The high water pressure, heat and detergent will remove the necessary oils from cast iron, damage or remove non-stick coatings, chip enamel, and cause discoloration on aluminum. Copper pots and mugs should also only be hand washed to avoid pitting and discoloration.

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Can you put wine glasses or crystal in the dishwasher?

It’s fine to put everyday wine glasses and sturdy drinking glasses in the dishwasher, but delicate glassware, hand-blown/painted glass, milk glass and crystal should be washed by hand to avoid breakage, yellowing or etching, which appears as cloudiness or pitting due to harsh detergent.

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Can you put glass or stoneware baking dishes in the dishwasher?

Most tempered glass baking dishes and stoneware can be washed in the dishwasher, but check the manufacturer’s instructions first.

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Can you put silicone utensils in the dishwasher?

Silicone utensils, like spatulas and spoons, and most metal utensils are dishwasher safe. If your dishwasher has a 3rd rack, you can secure them there instead of the silverware basket. Use caution with hollow-handled utensils and knives, as the high heat can cause the adhesive holding the parts together to melt.

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Can you put knives in the dishwasher?

Avoid putting sharp knives in the dishwasher. The blades can get nicked or become dull, and the knife itself can even damage dishwasher racks.

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Can you put wood in the dishwasher?

The high heat and humidity inside the dishwasher can cause wooden cutting boards and wooden handles on utensils to swell, warp or crack, so stick to hand washing.

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Can you put insulated mugs in the dishwasher?

Although it’s tempting to put travel mugs and other insulated containers and lids in the dishwasher, the water and heat could damage the seal and insulation.

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Can you put silver in the dishwasher?

Some silver-plated and sterling silver flatware can be washed in the dishwasher if you don’t use detergents with citric acids or wash alongside stainless steel, but it’s usually best to hand wash silver and sterling silver to avoid tarnishing and other chemical reactions.

More info on dishwashers and dishwasher cycles

How long do dishwashers run?

How long do dishwashers run?

We’ll explain why dishwashers can sometimes take a while to complete their cycles, and how to know if your appliance is performing at its best.

How to properly load a dishwasher

How to properly load a dishwasher

A properly loaded dishwasher also ensures more efficiency and better cleaning so you can save time and energy.

Dishwasher cycles explained

Dishwasher cycles explained

With differences in temperature, time and energy, learn which dishwashing cycle provides the best clean for each load.

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