If you appreciate your dishwasher as much as I do, then you owe a debt of gratitude to its inventor, Josephine Cochran! According to the United States Patent and Trademark Office, the patent for the first practical dishwasher was issued to Cochran on December 28, 1886.
The dishwasher didn’t make its way into most American homes until the 1950s, but Cochran’s ingenuity provided the spark that made it possible. And our lives are all the better for it! :-)
I’ve written extensively about dishwashers here on my blog, including how to clean them, what you should know about them, and surprising things you can clean in them. Today’s post will expand on that collection of dishwasher knowledge, but we’ll be focusing specifically on things you should never put in your dishwasher!
11 Things You Should Never Put In Your Dishwasher
1. Thin Plastic Containers
A lot of food storage containers are dishwasher-safe, but avoid putting reused food containers in your dishwasher. (This would include things like empty butter tubs, sour cream containers, etc.)
These thin plastic containers don’t usually fare well in the dishwasher, and may even melt! I experienced this very issue several years ago, where a thin plastic container melted and ended up creating a clog at the bottom of my dishwasher.
Feel free to keep and reuse your plastic containers, but just wash them by hand instead.
2. Narrow-Necked Bottles
Chances are slim that your dishwasher’s sprayer arms are going to get much water or detergent up into a narrow-necked bottle. Save yourself the disappointment by washing narrow-necked bottles by hand instead.
3. Wooden Utensils, Cutting Boards, Etc.
The intensely hot environment of your dishwasher is very unfriendly to wood! Wood and bamboo kitchen tools can dry out, warp, and even crack after repeated trips through the dishwasher.
Wash these items by hand instead using soapy water. And be sure to treat them occasionally with a wood wax/butter to protect the wood and extend its lifespan!
4. Certain Types Of Cookware
Many types of cookware are dishwasher-safe, and they’ll usually tell you so. But some types should never go in the dishwasher, including the following:
- Cast Iron – Exposed cast iron will rust in the dishwasher, and you shouldn’t wash it with soap either. (For tons of useful information about caring for cast iron, read my post here!)
- Copper – Dishwasher detergents can dull the shiny surface of copper cookware.
- Nonstick – Harsh detergents can quickly wear down the fragile nonstick coating, and hand washing will help extend its lifespan.
- Aluminum – Dishwasher detergents will oxidize aluminum items like sheet pans, so stick to hand washing if you want that shiny finish to last!
5. Labeled Jars
It can be tempting to put a container with a paper label into the dishwasher in hopes that the dishwasher will remove the label for you. But speaking from personal experience, it rarely goes that smoothly!
What usually happens is that the upper layer of the sticker/label separates from the jar and gets stuck somewhere at the bottom of the dishwasher. Then you still have to remove the sticky residue from the jar, AND scrape the sticker gunk out of your dishwasher!
So save yourself the headache of that process by checking out my exhaustive guide of how to remove stickers, labels, and other gunk from old containers! :-)
6. Graters, Garlic Presses, Microplanes, Etc.
Dishwashers don’t do a great job of cleaning out the tiny nooks and crannies found on garlic presses, microplanes, and other types of tools. Wash these items by hand instead to make sure they’re getting cleaned properly.
7. Fine China & Crystal
Fragile items like fine china and crystal should always be washed by hand to avoid damage. Once they’re dry, buff them with a microfiber cloth for a brilliant shine!
8. Rubber Parts
Rubber doesn’t usually fare well in the dishwasher, as detergents can cause it to dull and even degrade over time. Double-check your dishes for less obvious rubber parts like gaskets, seals, and bases before loading them into the dishwasher.
Taking a few extra minutes to wash items with rubber parts by hand can keep extend their lifespan by a large margin!
9. Certain Stand Mixer Attachments
Most models of stand mixers come with the same types of attachments, but there’s no guarantee what material they’ll be made out of! If yours are made of aluminum, you’ll definitely want to wash those by hand to avoid oxidation.
If your stand mixer attachments are “coated,” then it may be okay to wash them on the top rack of your dishwasher. Check the user manual that came with your stand mixer for care and washing instructions to make sure.
10. Kitchen Knives
Go ahead and toss your butter knives and steak knives in the dishwasher, but take an extra minute to wash your kitchen knives by hand. A good, sharp knife is your most valuable tool as a chef, and it will only stay that way if you treat it gently!
11. Printed Measuring Cups
Harsh detergents and heat will almost always cause printed ink to crack and fade over time. This is especially annoying when it comes to things like measuring cups, because they aren’t particularly useful without those printed measurements!
Wash items with printed ink by hand to make sure those labels stay readable for longer.
Do you have specific kitchen items that you always wash by hand?