The household dishwasher is one of the great inventions of our time. It saves you from countless hours spent up to your elbows in soapy water, while also conserving water and sanitizing your dishes. An added bonus is a clutter-free kitchen, as dirty dishes can be hidden away inside the washer instead of piled up in your sink. Unfortunately, there are some kitchen items that just don’t belong in the dishwasher. So, fill up your sink with hot, soapy water, get out those rubber gloves, and wash these items by hand.
13. Sharp Knives
To protect your sharp, high-quality knives from the dulling effects of the dishwasher, wash these items by hand. Abrasive dishwasher detergent can wreak havoc on your knives. Tumbling and crashing against other silverware dulls the knives as well. Additionally, there is the danger factor of reaching into the dishwasher and grabbing a knife blade when emptying the washer. To protect your knives, wash them by hand in hot, soapy water and hand dry with a tea towel. To further protect the sharpness of your knives, store them in a knife block or in blade guards.
Repeated washings in the dishwasher can leave your crystal goblets anything but crystal clear. According to GE Appliances, the phosphates present in dishwashing detergent can cling to the glass. Over time, they etch into the crystal, removing metal ions from the surface. The milky residue left behind on the surface of the glass cannot be removed. To avoid drinking from cloudy, pitted crystal goblets, wash your crystal by hand in warm, soapy water. Use rubber gloves to prevent dropping and breaking your fine crystal.
11. Wooden Items
It may be tempting to pop your wooden cutting board into the dishwasher, but hot water can warp the wood. Wash wooden cutting boards and wooden utensils by hand to prevent warping and splintering. After washing your cutting board in warm soapy water, allow it to air dry upright. A great way to keep your wooden cutting board fresh each month is to sprinkle it with salt and scour with half of a lemon. Allow it to sit for five minutes, rinse, and dry.
10. Copper Pots and Pans
To preserve the shine and beauty of copper pots, pans, and drinkware, keep them away from your dishwasher. The harsh conditions of your dishwasher will dull the finish. Clean your copper items in warm water with a mild detergent. To preserve the shine, polish them with copper cleaner or make your own using vinegar and salt.
9. Family Heirlooms
If you have a special dish passed down from Grandma, don’t place it in your dishwasher to be tossed around. Nicks and chips can occur in the often violent conditions of this appliance. Instead, wash Granny’s heirlooms by hand. This also goes for newer treasures such as personalized photo mugs. The heat of the dishwasher can cause the pictures to fade. To keep that adorable Mother’s Day gift from changing color, wash it by hand.
8. Certain Plastics
Take-out food or restaurant leftovers often come home in handy plastic containers that beg to be reused. Unless the containers are labeled as dishwasher safe, do not toss them in your dishwasher. The heat and abrasive detergents can break down certain kinds of plastic, leaving them unsafe for storing food. Be sure to check the label, and when in doubt, wash by hand.
7. China and Decorative Dishes
Delicate china teacups and saucers don’t belong in your dishwasher. The harsh conditions and rough and tumble atmosphere are no place for such delicate items. The same goes for any dishes with decorative metal rims. The metal edges can be worn down or eaten away by the caustic chemicals in dishwasher detergents. After an old-fashioned tea party, enjoy a session of old-fashioned dishwashing. Chatting and bonding over a sink of soapy water can be fun, not just drudgery.
6. Cast Iron
Cast iron pots and pans should never go in the dishwasher. The charm of a cast iron pan is keeping it seasoned. To wash cast iron, never use soap or steel wool. Fill your pan with hot water and wash it immediately to prevent rust. Use a stiff brush to give the pan a good cleaning. A paste of salt and water can be used to scour bits of stuck-on food. Towel dry your pan and then rub with a light coating of oil and buff well. If you have already run your pan through the dishwasher or you notice food is sticking to it, you may need to season it again.
5. Nonstick Pots and Pans
Check the manufacturer’s directions for washing your nonstick pots and pans. Unless the manufacturer specifically states that your pans are dishwasher safe, wash them by hand. To be extra protective of your purchase, wash by hand even if the manufacturer says it is dishwasher safe. Over time, the chemicals in dishwasher detergent can break down the finish on your nonstick pans. To prevent nonstick coating from crumbling and flaking off into your food as you cook, wash your pans in hot, soapy water and dry with a towel.
4. Insulated Drinkware
To continue enjoying the benefits of insulated drinkware—which keeps hot beverages hot and cold beverages cold—wash them by hand. The high temperatures of your dishwasher can damage the vacuum seal of insulated cups and mugs. The average dishwasher heats your water between 120-150 degrees Fahrenheit, while the dry cycle of the dishwasher reaches around 180 degrees Fahrenheit.
3. Garlic Press
The tiny holes and crevices in your garlic press can trap bits of garlic, but this handy gadget doesn’t belong in your dishwasher. To get your press thoroughly clean, wash it by hand, using a toothpick to remove any garlic trapped in the holes. Another convenient utensil that deserves personal attention is your cheese grater. Immediately after using, run your grater under a stream of hot water to remove any residue. To avoid grating your hands, wipe with a sponge in the direction of the blades, not against them.
2. Paper Labels
It’s great to reuse jars and bottles, but don’t pop them into your dishwasher without removing the paper labels first. The hot temperatures of the washer will loosen the glue, and you will end up with clumps of paper gumming up the interior of your appliance. Soak your jars in a mixture of hot water and washing soda, and the labels should slide right off. Use additional washing soda and water to scrub away stubborn spots of glue residue. Now your jars can safely go in the dishwasher without leaving a mess.
1. Printed Measuring Cups
Those handily printed measuring cups aren’t so handy when the numbers have faded or chipped off. To avoid having the printing eaten away by the corrosive chemicals in dishwasher detergent, wash these items by hand. Dishwashing doesn’t have to be drudgery if you fill up your sink with hot, soapy water while you are cooking. Washing items as you go along prevents the overwhelming clutter of a counter loaded with dirty pots and pans. It also means you can relax and enjoy your meal without facing a mountain of dirty dishes. Just pop your dishwasher safe items into the dishwasher after your dessert and enjoy the evening.