Washing dishes is a kitchen chore that we're hardly eager to get to. It takes a lot of the fun out of eating at home -- which is why the dishwasher has such a magical air to it (and why takeout is so appealing). Dishes go into it dirty and they come out clean, all with the simple push of a button. But not everything can go into this handy kitchen appliance -- some items can't handle the hot temperatures and others are too delicate for the abrasive detergent.
Loading the dishwasher only to unload warped containers, cracked cutting boards and chipped china wanes the sparkle and shine of its convenience. Don't let this happen to you. Get to the bottom of what is and is not safe for the dishwasher.
Crystal and hand-blown glass are sensitive to heat so they run the risk of cracking in the dishwasher; but that's not the only risk. Detergents can chip at them, causing them to lose their shine.
Good knives should never be put in the dishwasher -- they're more fragile than you might think. The agitation of the dishwasher's cycle turns the blade dull; and it can get dings and scratches from hitting other objects.
Those who are believers in the cast iron skillet know how much work goes into getting a well-seasoned pan. Putting a cast iron through the dishwasher will "clean" all that seasoning right off -- and the iron can rust.
Before putting anything 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.
While these items themselves might not be damaged by the dishwasher, they can easily shift about during a cycle and transfer black marks to dishes and other items. Other aluminum items are not recommended for dishwasher cleaning either, they're susceptible to nicks and scratches.
According to the Whirlpool site, plastics are dishwasher safe (though you should check with the manufacturer's recommendations first) but disposable plastics are not. So those yogurt containers that you double as Tupperware, best to wash those by hand. And plastics that can withstand the heat of the dishwasher should only be loaded on the top rack.
While it's not recommended to wash your good knives in the dishwasher, most steak knives can be put through. The ones that shouldn't are hollow-handle knives. Most of them are attached by adhesives that can loosen when washed in a dishwasher.
If you want to rinse cans and bottles to recycle or reuse, it's best to wash them by hand. Labels attached with glue can loosen and clog the spray arms or pump and affect dishwasher performance.
That beautiful gold trimming on your plates, glasses or bowls run the risk of being removed by the dishwasher's harsh detergents and water pressure. We advise you wash these by hand.
Many non-stick pots and pans loss their "non stick" quality when washed in the dishwasher. It's better to err on the side of caution and wash these in the sink.
For those of you eating with gold-colored forks and knives (or if you who just happen to have gold flatware) the dishwasher is not advised. The color of your forks and knives will fade as a result of the harsh cycles.