14 Things You Should Never Put in the Dishwasher

Unfortunately, some of your most-valuable kitchen tools just can’t stand up to the appliance.

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Stick to the Sink

The dishwasher is one of those "best things since sliced bread" inventions, saving you countless hours otherwise spent stooped over the sink. But, of course, we’ve yet to create a device that’s a kitchen-cleanup panacea — there are some things the dishwasher just shouldn’t tackle.

Anything Wood

We’re talking cutting boards, wooden utensils (like spoons) and knives with wooden handles. Why? Dishwasher detergent is abrasive and will scratch wood over time. Plus, the heat of the drying cycle can cause the wood to warp or even crack. Rinse and hand-wash cutting boards soon after you use them, but don’t submerge them in water. A little baking soda can help scrub away stains, too.

Kitchen Knives

Placing your good knives in the dishwasher is a big no-no. The detergent will dull a knife's blade — frustrating as you slice and dice, and also unsafe, as you’re more likely to lose control of a dull knife. Plus, the hot water and heat in the drying cycle will loosen knives’ handles. Wash your kitchen knives carefully by hand in hot soapy water instead.

Cast Iron

It took a lot of effort to get your cast-iron cookware perfectly seasoned! Don’t ruin it (or potentially cause your pan to rust) by using the dishwasher as a cleaning shortcut. Instead, rinse your cast iron in hot water, scrubbing with a long-handled scrub brush to lift stuck-on food. If you want to remove stubborn mess or excess oil, use a few drops of dish soap. Rinse it completely with hot water and then dry completely. Wipe down the pan with a light coating of cooking oil, like vegetable or canola, and then wipe off the pan until there’s no excess oil.

Nonstick Cookware

Generally, nonstick coating just doesn’t hold up well to the more extreme temps of the dishwasher. While some manufacturers say their nonstick pots and pans are dishwasher-safe, it still might not be what’s best for your cookware. Over time the high heat of the dishwasher may erode nonstick finishes, while other dishes shifting around during a cycle can rub against or scratch the nonstick coating. If you want to extend their lifespan, handwashing might be the way to go.

Air Fryer Basket

Sorry to burst your air-fried bubble, but it’s best to hand wash this component. Even though most manufacturers deem it dishwasher safe, because of the interior non-stick coating, it’s smart to handwash it to preserve the integrity of that surface. Plus, this basket is bulky and features way too many crevices where dirty dish water can linger even after the drying cycle is complete gross.

Copper or Other Precious Metals

Those pretty copper pots could dull or discolor in the dishwasher. Keep silver, gold and bronze heirlooms out, too; they’ll tarnish and will eventually lose their gleaming finish.

Aluminum Cookware

Aluminum pots and pans can technically go in the dishwasher, but they’ll oxidize and fade from shiny to dull after a single cycle. Aluminum cookware’s doppelganger, stainless steel cookware, can often go in the machine — but always heed manufacturer guidelines.

Certain Plastic Items

You should take the manufacturer’s lead on this one — some softer plastics can’t handle the dishwasher’s heat. Hardier items like food processor bowls, plastic cutting boards and mixing bowls can often go in the dishwasher, but know that most clear plastic will get scratched and dulled over time if you wash it this way. Also, it’s often wise to place plastic items in the top rack of the washer, where they’re farther away from the heat.

Fine China, Crystal or Painted Plates

Please don’t ruin the heirloom hand-painted dishware your grandmother passed down to you (or the pretty plates you bought at Anthropologie, for that matter). These delicate items can chip, fade or lose their finish in the dishwasher. Any silverware with carved antler or bone handles should stay out of the machine as well.

Pressure Cooker Lid

Despite the care instructions, the lid of the pressure cooker features a few components that are best to remove before placing it in the top rack of the dishwasher. Depending on your model, the float valve, the sealing ring, the pressure release knob and the anti-block shield should be removed and handwashed separately. The problem? In some models these items can’t be removed. Taking a little bit of extra time could help your pressure cooker last. Small parts could get lost or damaged in the dishwasher, so it’s better safe than sorry.

Cheese Graters

Sure, these are a pain to wash, but you have to think of each little grater hole like a tiny knife. Just like you wouldn’t put sharp knives in the dishwasher, you want to avoid putting any type of grater or zester in too. Over time it dulls the surface. Plus because of how textured the surface is, it’s really easy for the dishwasher to miss food particles. You’re better off just carefully washing this kitchen tool by hand.

Silicone Baby Products

Even though many silicone baby products are dishwasher safe, parents might have noticed how easy it is for these items to hang on to odors. So even after removing a plate or bowl from the dishwasher it can smell like your dishwasher detergent or rinse aid. Incomplete rinsing and exposure to hot water can really lock in those smells. With how picky toddlers can be about food, why give them anything else to protest at meal time? Handwashing these items with an unscented dish soap in warm water can help keep the soapy smell away.

Potatoes or Other Foods

Unfortunately, you can’t always trust the cleaning hacks you see on social media. If you’re making potatoes for a crowd, the dishwasher isn’t the way to get them clean. Not only can the dirt from the potatoes potentially clog your machine, but also the dishwasher can leave behind a soapy taste from residual dish detergent. Plus, based on the average length of a cycle it might be smarter to soak and then quickly hand scrub them, no?

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