A dishwasher is essential in many kitchens across the U.S. However, many people don’t know how to use one properly. This includes the many items that should not go in your dishwasher. From wooden utensils to non-stick frying pans, there is a whole host of items unsuitable for automatic dishwashers. Unfortunately, you’ll just have to clean some things by hand.

In this article, I’ll tell you about 5 items that should never go in your dishwasher. With a short explanation as to why I’m here to help you avoid making these big dishwasher mistakes. I’ll also briefly touch on what you can in fact put in your dishwasher. Let’s get into it!

What Should Not Go In Your Dishwasher?

There are plenty of things that should only ever be washed by hand. The 5 items picked in this list are some of the worst to wash in a machine. There are obviously plenty more, but we’ve just selected the ones that will be most damaged if you don’t wash them by hand. No matter how good your dishwasher is, you need to stick to these rules.

1. Anything Wooden Should Never Go In Your Dishwasher

We’re beginning with the most basic kitchen utensils. These are the ones that are frequently ruined when washed. We’ve all been through a half-dozen wooden spoons in our adult lifetimes.

Dishwasher detergents are too hard for the softwood of most kitchen utensils. It strips the wood of its natural oils. This then leads to distortion and also cracking. Wooden items should instead be hand washed with warm water and a mild detergent. Castile soap is a great product to use.

Wooden utensils should never go in your dishwasher!

2. Knives

Contrary to many people’s beliefs, kitchen knives are not suitable for dishwasher use. There are a few reasons for this. Foremost, the harsh detergents and rapid water flow can damage the protective coating on knives. This causes rust to form, ruining your perfectly sharp cutting tools.

Second, the knives can damage the dishwasher itself. They can nick or dent parts of the metal inside. This will also cause rust to form, also breaking your expensive machine.

Third, knives can be dangerous to load and unload into the machine. If you’ve got kids helping you’ll especially want to avoid putting them into the cutlery basket. If they’re pointing the wrong way, someone might have a painful accident!

Stick to hand-washing your kitchen knives to keep them in good condition and also avoid dishwasher damage.

3. Cast-Iron Cookware

Next up, you can also damage cast-iron cookware by using a dishwasher. If you own a cast-iron skillet or similar, you’ll likely already know about the important care instructions they come with. Manufacturers craft cast-iron cookware specifically to prevent food from getting stuck. They are seasoned with oil and kept seasoned to maintain their unique cooking function.

Machine detergents damage Cast-iron pans. They strip the oils away and leave the pan unusable. We can assure you that many unsuspecting owners of cast-iron cookware have damaged their expensive skillets in this way! Just stick to handwashing, however dirty your cast-iron cookware seems.

Cast-iron skillets are ruined by washing in a dishwasher. They lose their unique coating.

4. Non-Stick Pans – A Big ‘No’ For Dishwashers

Similar to a cast-iron skillet, you should also never wash non-stick pans in a dishwasher. There is a special coating on non-stick pans. It prevents food from sticking to them. It’s kind of in the name!

This type of cookware does not benefit from a dishwasher clean. It strips the coating off, and ruins the perfectly good cooking surface. First, wash by hand using a soft detergent. Next, leave your pans to airdry. This stops damage to the non-stick coating. Your pans will also last a lot longer this way!

5. Ceramic Pans

Finally, similar to cast-iron and non-stick cookware, ceramic pans are not a good option for the dishwasher. Ceramic cookware is an old favorite that has increased hugely in popularity over the last few years. Just look at the obsession with Le Creuset online! Whilst it is an expensive investment, it can also be so worth the money. But, this won’t be the case if you ruin it with your dishwasher.

Keep your Le Creuset away from the dishwasher if you want it to last a lifetime!

You should also keep ceramic pans out of your machine to avoid damaging their coating. They are specifically coated to prevent damage. It makes the perfect cooking surface Always wash these dishes by hand. Avoid anything that contains bleach or citric acid, as this will also do damage.

What Can You Put In Your Dishwasher?

Now you know what you can’t put in your dishwasher, how about what you can wash in there? You can obviously put in all the usual plates, cutlery, mugs, cups, dishes, and other utensils. Most newer cookware is labeled ‘dishwasher safe’ if suitable. If it is older, then do some online research. It might have been made before dishwashers were commonplace.

You can also clean a surprising number of other things in your machine. For example, kitchen tools like sponges and brushes scrub up amazingly. You can also wash exhaust fan covers and filters. Parts for your fridge, hot tub, or cabinets will also benefit from a machine wash.

Avoid the 5 items we’ve listed above, and there are plenty of other things you can put in your dishwasher instead! Remember, this list is not exhaustive so do your own research if you aren’t sure.

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