Front Page Photo: Flickr, ChalonHandmade
While most dishes, glasses, and kitchen tools are dishwasher-safe, over time the effects of heat, detergent, and water pressure can do their damage. Hand wash anything you cherish or want to preserve. The following items are generally better off with hand washing:
Stainless Steel. Though dishwasher-safe, stainless pots and pans will last longer with hand washing.
Cast Iron. Never put in the dishwasher, as detergent will strip away the seasoned surface and cause rust.
Aluminum. Hand wash all aluminum unless it's designated dishwasher-safe.
Wood. The heat and steam of a dishwasher's dry cycle can warp wood, so take care to hand wash wood utensils, cutting boards, and serving dishes, including wood-handled items.
Antique or Hand-Painted China. While some new fine china is dishwasher-safe, most antique dishes can be damaged in the dishwasher.
Plastic. High heat can warp plastic. It a plastic item isn't guaranteed dishwasher-safe by the manufacturer, hand wash it. If you do put plastic in the dishwasher, place it in the upper tray.
Knives. Though many knives are generally safe to put in the dishwasher, most manufacturers recommend hand washing them with warm water and a little detergent, rinsing and then drying immediately with a towel. Also, be aware that knocking against other items in the silverware baskets can dull the blade, so you may have to resharpen more often.
Find more cleaning and organizing tips in What's A Disorganized Person To Do?