Confessions of an Unintentional Domestic Goddess

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Dishwasher safe?

on July 29, 2010

I read an article not long ago about what NOT to put in a dishwasher and thought some of those tips  would make a good post.  You all know me by now. I’m all about easy, so the dishwasher is a busy partner in my house! it’s run at least once a day, and in summer, sometimes more. They are really wonderful, but you must be careful about what you put in.

Here’s my list:

KNIVES – if you invest in a really awesome set of knives, like Henkels or that kind, you want them to last a long time. Putting them in the dishwasher will destroy them faster than anything. The high temps of the water and the harsh nature of the soap will cause the handles to dry out and crack. The rack can knick and dull the blade, not to mention if you put the knife blade down, it will chew up the rack. I worked at Bed Bath and Beyond for several years and the Henkels reps told us this info, so I know it to be true. Oh, and if the knives happen to carry a lifetime warranty, like my Pampered Chef forged knives, putting them in the dishwasher voids the warranty.

NON-STICK COOKWARE-Once again, the detergent used for the dishwasher will cause the non-stick coating to break down and flake off. If you have been putting your non-stick pots and pans in the dishwasher and they look like they’re covered with chalk dust, that is what’s left of the non-stick stuff and guess where it’s going….. you got it, your food! gross. I know it’s tempting to not have to stand at the sink and wash them by hand, but unless you’re fond of eating chemicals like that, it’s not recommended. And once again, it could void the warranty if they’re a really nice set.

WOOD-You should never fully immerse wood in water to clean it. You can use a wet cloth and some dish soap and scrub it that way.  Putting it in water will cause it to warp and crack, and those little cracks are where the bacteria love to hide out.

GOLD-TRIMMED DISHES OR STEMWARE-Am I sounding like a broken record to you yet? The detergent and water are too hard on the gold and will cause it to rub off. Go on, just take the extra five minutes it takes to wash them by hand if you want them to stay beautiful. Otherwise, skip the gold/silver trim.

CAST-IRON COOKWARE-Remember grandma’s cast iron skillet and how it made everything taste better? Part of that is because the skillet has become seasoned over time. If you put cast iron in a dishwasher, not only will it strip  the seasoning of the piece, the soap could stick to the seasoning, making everything cooked after the washing taste like soap. The same goes for any unfinished stoneware, like my pizza stone. To clean either rinse with hot water and a scrub brush, or wipe out with a paper towel. Both of these techniques will preserve the seasoning of the piece.

CRYSTAL-the detergent can cause what’s called ‘etching’ on the glass and put permanent cloudy marks on the crystal. Did i say the etching is permanent? That and the repetitive motion can cause the stemware to bang into other things, or other things maybe move around and could potentially break your beautiful crystal stemware. I put one of my cheap wineglasses in the dishwasher because it was new and it had a special little holder for the stems when you put the wineglasses in. Cool! I thought. Yes, washing stemware by hand is a pain so I was totally jazzed to not have to worry about it. The first time I did it, my glass didn’t get any etching, BUT the repetitive motion of the water from the spray arm hitting the glass caused it to repeatedly rub a part of the rack and I ended up with a mar on the side of my wineglass.

And I can’t believe I almost forgot, anything, and I mean ANYTHING, that says ‘NOT DISHWASHER SAFE’ or ‘HAND WASH ONLY’.  You would’nt throw your favorite silk blouse or wool sweater in the washing machine would you? then don’t do it with any of these items. The reason for the disclaimer could be the potential for damaging the finish on the item, ruining the heat retention of a travel mug, or even maybe melting of the item because it wasn’t made to withstand that kind of heat.  You may not know the reason until it’s too late, so just play it safe and wash it by hand. And something I’ve found with my travel mugs, if I submerge them in the water, they get water in between the inner and outer layers.

This is not an all-inclusive list, I just tried to cover the biggies. If you have been putting any of these things in your dishwasher, suck it up, and start washing them by hand. It will make all of these items last longer, and could prevent you from voiding any warranty that they might carry. I don’t know about you, but I’d much rather put on my rubber gloves and take the time to do it right than to have to pay for another knife or pizza stone. Oh, and the thought of adding teflon to my dishes just really isn’t terribly appealing!

2 responses to “Dishwasher safe?

  1. Cindy Holman says:

    Oh man – I am really bad about putting things in the dishwasher that shouldn’t go there – which is why my husband usually gets the kitchen cleanup – it works for us – I cook – he cleans ♥

  2. You are lucky! I”m always the one doing both! Soon, my children will be old enough to help with the dishes!

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