Can I Put This in the Dishwasher?

Woman checking empty wine glass

Dishwashers are unquestionably one of the great all-time inventions.  They not only save you time, they save water too.   

Jonah Schein, technical coordinator in the Environmental Protection Agency’s WaterSense program, calculates that:  “In order to wash the same amount of dishes that can fit in a single load of a full size dishwasher and use less water, you would need to be able to wash eight full place settings and still limit the total amount of time that the faucet was running to less than two minutes.”

What you can put in the dishwasher isn’t restricted to just dishes.  There are other household items that will clean up beautifully in the dishwasher.

Home Decor

  1. Glass Light Fixtures: You can get glistening glass shades and globes for your light fixtures (the exception to this is hand-blown glass, milk glass and crystal; those items should not be placed in the dishwasher).
  2. HVAC Vent Grates: Clean dirt and oily grime from vent grills made of steel or aluminium (hand wash painted grates).
  3. Vases: Many decorative pieces and vases can be washed in the gentle cycle of the dishwasher. For all but the heaviest items, use the top rack.

Note: If your piece is trimmed with gold or silver finishes, hand clean with a cloth to avoid any chipping or color loss of the delicate items. 

  1. Office Desk: You can put many of the plastic or metal desk organizers, pencil cups, and small trash cans in the regular cycle for a nice clean. 
  2. Outlet and Switch Covers: Clean the plastic covers on the top rack. This process is not recommended for painted metal or brass. (Remember to put the screws safely aside so that you can put the covers back on later). 

Kitchen Items

  • Kitchen Brushes and Sponges: Make your dishwasher multitask! Whenever you are washing a load of dishes, place the brushes in the utensil basket and the sponges in the top rack.
  • Microwave Turntables: You can easily clean the plastic ring that the glass tray sits on by placing it the dishwasher.  
  • Cupboard and Drawer Hardware: Knobs and handles are commonly overlooked.  Place ceramic and metal handles and knobs in a mesh bag, and then put them on the dishwasher’s top rack for easy cleaning.
  • Exhaust Fan Covers and Filters: Many fans have filters that can be washed. Over time, those filters and the covers can accumulate grease. For an extensive and easy clean, place the filters and removable covers in the dishwasher.
  • Refrigerator Bins and Shelves and Bins: A convenient way to clean refrigerator shelves and bins is to run them through the dishwasher cycle. 

Bathroom and Grooming Tools

  1. Exhaust Fan Covers: Every six months, you should clean the exhaust fan cover to prevent a major accumulation of dirt and grime. 
  2. Rubber Bathtub Mats: These can hold soap and old shampoo residues. To prevent mold growth, you can put them in the dishwasher once a week.
  3. Organizers: When throwing out expired cosmetic products, put the empty drawer organizers in the dishwasher to clean any bacteria and makeup.
  4. Toothbrush Holder and Soap Dishes: Just like the tub mat, those items can accumulate old residues of soap and toothpaste. A weekly cleaning in the dishwasher will keep your soap dish and toothbrush holder sanitized. 
  5. Sponges, Shower Poofs, and Brushes: Once a week, you can put those items in the dishwasher to kill mold spores and bacteria.
  6. Combs and Hairbrushes: For easy cleaning, you can place plastic hairbrushes and combs in the basket for utensils. Don’t include natural bristle or wooden-handled brushes.  
  7. Manicure and Pedicure Tools: After every use, professional beauty salons have machines for cleaning these tools. At home, the dishwasher does the trick: the detergent and heat will disinfect and kill the bacteria and fungus. 

What Never to Put in the Dishwasher

Even though many different things can be washed using the dishwasher, some items can be damaged and shouldn’t be put through a cycle. As a general rule, you should always check the manufacturer’s instructions. 

Here’s a list of what you never wash in the dishwasher.

  1. Pressure Cooker Lids: Pressure cooker lids have a safety valve to control the pressure in the pot. It can be very dangerous if that valve is clogged by any food particle or dishwasher detergent, as pressure needs to be released. The best way to clean the lid is to wash by hand, rinse, and dry thoroughly.
  2. Fragile Items and Antiques: Items such as antiques, delicate figurines, hand-blown glass, and crystal should be kept out of the dishwasher. If your valuable and priceless family heirloom needs cleaning, do it carefully by hand. Crystal, for example, can become cloudy and get blemished. As well, hand-painted stoneware and ceramics should stay out of the dishwasher. 
  3. Cast Iron: This should never be washed in the dishwasher. The non-stick surface can be stripped off with the detergent, which could lead to rusting. The best way to clean them is to use just water and non-abrasive sponges. 
  4. Non-stick Pans and Pots: The best method is to clean them by hand (unless the manufacturer specifies that the product is suitable for the dishwasher). The heat and the detergent in the dishwasher can damage and break down the coating on the surface. During cooking, more of the non-stick finish may flake off.
  5. Knives: Knives should stay out of the dishwasher.  Not only can knives get dull from the washing cycle, they can also be dangerous to load and unload. Also, knives that have glued-on handles can fall apart.
  6. Metal: Be careful with metal items. 
    • Gold: It can get discolored.
    • Bronze, brass, or pewter: Hand wash to avoid discoloration and pitting. 
    • Aluminum: Hot water can stain the surface, and the dishwasher detergent can damage the finish. 
  7. Wood: On wood cutting boards and utensils with wooden handles, very hot water may deform or crack the wood and harm the finish. Hand washing is recommended. 
  8. Milk Glass: Milk glass items cleaned in the dishwasher can discolor over time and become yellow. 
  9. Pieces with Glue: If you used glue to put a broken dish back together, the best thing to do is to clean by hand. The hot water and detergent can dissolve the glue. 
  10. Anything with a Paper Label: The labels from jars, bottles, or name tags can clog the drain of the dishwasher and adhere to other dishes. 
  11. Printed Measuring Cups: You should hand wash measuring cups with the measurements printed on them. The washing cycle can erase the number and lines.
  12. Plastic and Acrylic Items: Even though some articles are more resistant to heat and are dishwasher safe, it’s better to place plastic and objects on the top rack. If they are placed on the bottom rack, they may distort or melt. In acrylic dishes, the heat can cause hairline cracks and fade any imprinting.
  13. Insulated Travel Mugs and Drinkware: The vacuum seal from those items can be harmed by the high temperature. It’s better to clean them by hand. 

A well-maintained dishwasher should serve you well for many years.  For the very best in maintenance and repair to your dishwasher and other major appliances, call C&W Appliance Service at (855) 358-1496 or submit our online service request form for prompt, reliable service.

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