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Equipment

What Kitchen Equipment Can (and Can't) Go in the Dishwasher?

You could be inadvertently damaging your beloved kitchen tools.
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Published Aug. 17, 2023.

As the proud owner of a new dishwasher, I was thrilled to discover the convenience of this revolutionary kitchen appliance. Baked-on grime that had adhered to my sheet pans after years of hand-scrubbing: vanished. A dinner party’s worth of glassware, utensils, and plates covered in grime? Spotless. 

What can’t this dream appliance do?

That was the exact question I posed to ATK Reviews’ Executive Editor Lisa McManus. I knew that I could put just about anything I wanted in there, but what should I really be putting in the dishwasher. And, more importantly, what shouldn’t I?

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What you shouldn’t put in the dishwasher

I was surprised (and a little disheartened) to hear the list is fairly extensive. You are likely aware that it’s a big no-no to put your chef’s knives and wooden utensils in the dishwasher, but that dictum applies to pretty much any utensil that includes a blade.

“We don't recommend putting any knives or bladed tools such as mandolines or veg peelers or food processor blades in the dishwasher,” Lisa said. 

And as for the nonbladed elements of those appliances? Best to keep those out of the dishwasher too.

“The blender jar on your Vitamix and other plastic workbowls like on your food processor are technically OK in the dishwasher, but they may become cloudy looking because their surface will become etched by the harsh chemicals and abrasion over time,” she added.

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Most importantly, some of your most loved, most used, and most expensive cooking gadgets could be damaged by the dishwasher: your pots and pans.

“Yes, harm will befall your pots and pans [if you put them in the dishwasher]. The same goes for other aluminum tools like rimmed baking sheets. Some garlic presses or stand mixer parts (tools like the dough hook or beater blade) will turn black as their surface oxidizes. The oxidation can be scrubbed off but it's unsightly and can come off in your food,” Lisa warns.

At a Glance: Tools You Should Not Put in the Dishwasher

  • Chef’s knives
  • Any bladed tools
  • Wooden utensils
  • Aluminum tools
  • Thin plastic tools
  • Delicate or crystal glassware

What you can put in the dishwasher

The majority of us are likely using the dishwasher for our dirty plates, bowls, glasses, and utensils. While there isn’t an industry standard definition for what is “dishwasher-safe,” the general consensus is that everyday dishes (made of hard plastic, ceramic, stainless steel, or sturdy china) are able to withstand high heat.

At a Glance: Tools That Are OK to Put in the Dishwasher

  • Everyday china and ceramic dishware
  • Hard plastic
  • Stainless steel
  • Drinking glasses and sturdy wine glasses
  • Glass and stoneware baking dishes
  • Silicone and metal utensils

The bottom line when it comes to dishwashing

It seems as though the rule to follow is: when in doubt, simply hand-wash.

“Just remember that the dishwasher works by spritzing hot water and strong soap over the dishes over a few hours to soften and loosen food particles,” Lisa said. “It is a slow process so that everything stays wet and soapy for a very long time. That's terrible for wood tools and cutting boards and knife handles.” 

“It's also bad for metal blades, where it will encourage corrosion and damage. Then during the spray of the rinse cycle, everything inside is jostled continuously for a while, which also can be bad for the stuff you're washing. Finally the heated drying cycle can warp pans and wooden tools.”

If you’re looking for a way to make all that extra hand-washing a little bit easier, consider marinating your dishes. While some dish soaps definitely work better than others, our Reviews team discovered that it took notably less time to hand-wash the dishes if they let them marinate in warm, soapy water first.

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