11 Things You Should NEVER Load in the Dishwasher and Why

I will admit that I am a bit of a rebel and when I get a new dish or glass or something and it says those dreaded words, “HAND WASH ONLY”, I give a small chuckle, toss that little booklet aside and throw it in the dishwasher each and every time to my heart’s desire! Those words have always been more like “guidelines” to me that I thought weren’t that important.

That is until I was staying at my sister’s house and I saw something that dropped my jaw. We both got the same really nice set of pots and pans for our weddings that were only 4 months apart, 11 years ago. Her dishes looked absolutely flawless and brand new, so I assumed she got a new set and asked her if she did. She gave a proud little smile and told me that they were indeed the same set of dishes she got all those years ago.

In comparison, mine looked like they could have been attached to string, dangling off the back of an adorable classic car with the words “Just Married” on the back windshield. Mine were in horrible shape compared to her seemingly brand new set. I already had to get rid of a couple of mine because the teflon was peeling off but hers had to no signs of any wear in the teflon coating at all! I asked her how this was possible. She simply told me that she followed the rules and hand-washed them every single time she used them. Dang, girl!

I have since tried to be a good girl and handwash the items I know I should so they will last a lot longer. And in some cases, like peeling Teflon, will actually be safer for my young family.

Here are 11 items you should never load in the dishwasher and why.

Good Kitchen Knives

Knives are more fragile than you might think. The agitation of the dishwasher’s cycle makes the blade dull. It can also get all kinds of dings and scratches from hitting other objects.

2. Any Cast Iron

Just DO NOT DO IT! Anyone who loves and uses their cast iron a lot knows how hard you have to work to get it well-seasoned. One run through the dishwasher and it will strip all that seasoning right off --- and even worse, it can cause the iron to rust.

3. Wooden Spoons and Spatulas

Before you put anything that is made from wood in the dishwasher, check the manufacturer’s instructions. Wooden items can easily warp, crack, come apart or lose their finish with the high temperatures of the dishwasher.

4. Crystal and Hand-Painted Glass

Don’t even think about it! Of course crystal shouldn’t go in the dishwasher. Crystal and hand-blown glass are sensitive to heat so they run the risk of cracking in the dishwasher. But that is not the only damage that can happen. Detergents chip away at them, which causes them to lose their shine. That is just sad! Even if the crystal you got at your wedding is a little fancy for your tastes, treat it well and hand wash it so it keeps its beauty forever!

5. Gold-Colored Flatware

Most likely if you have gold flatware, you probably bought it because you love its beautiful gold color. But unfortunately, this means that you have to hand wash your set. They will fade quickly if washed in the dishwasher.

6. Non-Stick Pots and Pans

Here is my biggest lesson learned the hard way! :( Many teflon pots and pans lose their “non stick” quality when washed in the dishwasher. It is much better to err on the side of caution and wash these by hand.

7. Hollow-Handle Knives

Sadly, these are just not strong enough to handle a dishwasher’s rough and tough cycle. Most of them are attached by adhesives that can loosen when washed in a dishwasher.

8. Disposable Aluminum

With these guys, its more the damage that they cause their friends in the dishwasher that is the problem--like leaving black marks while they are banging about the dishwasher.

9. Disposable Soft Plastics

If you are trying to reuse your yogurt containers for leftovers, you should probably wash them by hand instead of put them in the dishwasher. They usually cannot handle the heat from the dishwasher, but if you must, you should only load them on the top rack so they don’t melt or become warped.

10. Cans and Bottles

If you are wanting to reuse cans and glass bottles, you’re better off to wash by hand. Labels attached with glue can loosen and clog the spray arms or pump and affect dishwasher performance.

11. Gold Trim Plates

The dishwasher LOVES to eat away at gold coloring. Keep those dishes out of there! I can personally affirm this one as well. My mom had a beautiful set of simple, classic white china with a gold trim and the gold trim is worn away (and not in a pleasing, consistent pattern or anything). All because they were countlessly washed in the dishwasher. So sad.

Are you guilty of any of these dishwasher sins? Which ones? Do you have any sob stories about your favorite dishes that got ruined because of the heat of the dishwasher so that you can share your wisdom of what not to do? Please feel free and we’ll give you lots of sympathy in the comments down below.

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    Mary Richardson
    Weekly Newsletter Contributor since 2014
    Email the author! mary@dvo.com

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