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volume IV
January 10, 2014

Weekly Home / Cook'n & Eat'n

Dish-wash Dilemma, HELP

By Sydney Hill

There is a controversial topic for ya...the dishwasher and what to put in it. It's a dilemma I haven't fully solved yet. I'm a germophobe to the max (it can take me 15 minutes to wash a soiled non-stick pan) but I also try to be frugal, not wanting to ruin the things I've bought.

So what can you put in it? I decided to look up what others say and this is what I found: It's almost all a matter of opinion. Man, that makes it harder. But still, it's good to go off opinions, they are kitchen-tested.

If you have any experiences or opinions, please share. Help me out.

Items commonly NOT put in dishwasher

  • Non-stick pans: It makes them non-non-stick; it takes off the coating. However, I won't lie, one of my frying pans got used enough that I just started sticking it in anyway. The coating was mostly ruined and it was quicker to just stick it in than to hand-wash.
  • Burnished Metal: I recently got attachments for my mixer that are this metal and said not to dish-wash because they would discolor. I didn't really care if they changed color. However, before attempting it, I decided to ask around first. It turns our it doesn't just discolor, but a black residue will start to rub off of them (if you've ever tried to dish-wash a pampered chef melting ice cream scoop or garlic press you know what I mean). That was enough to convince me: hand-wash it is.
  • Stoneware: Especially if you use detergent, it can take on a soapy flavor. I've heard of people running them in the dishwasher anyway on just a water setting, but I heard the warranty is no longer good on them. Also, it might cause microscopic cracks that can be a problem later. And don't use stoneware that has been soaking! Wait for it to dry.
  • Wood: Can also take on a soapy flavor, could possibly warp. I wash it anyway. It's so porous it grosses me out if I don't.
  • Plastic: Many don't wash this because the hard water spots and risk of melting. I don't care enough about my Tupperware to hand dry, but I understand why some people would rather hand dry plastic. I've rarely had plastic melt, but I think that depends more on the dishwasher you have, the water and heating element temperature, whether something falls through onto the heating element, or if it's on the top rack or not.
  • Glassware: Once again, it's the hard water spots. However, I have noticed a huge difference when I use rinse aid. It actually helps. I also open up my dishwasher before unloading so it can dry out a little more
  • Cast-iron: Can take on that soapy flavor.
  • Knives: I've heard they can dull, don't know if it's true. And also I've heard it's a safety issue, cutting yourself when unloading, etc. Also, some handles separate from the blade. I still dish-wash mine, especially if I've dealt with raw meat.

NOTE: I have read and believe that the deteregent is often what can ruin the dishes, not necessarily the dishwasher. It usually has lots of bleach, Someone was telling me they used it once in the laundry and everything came out with bleach spots. However, I wouldn't go try using a substitute. Any one who has ever used regular dishwashing liquid knows what I mean. Bubbles. Everywhere. Leaking Bubbles.


Sydney Hill
Weekly Newsletter Contributer since 2012

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