by Sheela Prakash, Epicurious
The beauty of a dishwasher is that you can just toss everything in it after dinner, let it run, and sit back and relax, right? Unfortunately, that's not exactly the case. The rough cycle that gets your plates and bowls sparkling clean can do some kitchen equipment more harm than good, potentially ruining them.
Keep these 11 items out of dishwasher and hand wash them instead:
1. CAST IRON
Washing your skillet in the dishwasher can not only cause it to rust, it will also remove it's precious seasoning that prevents food from sticking.
2. ...AND ENAMELED CAST IRON
Your dutch oven should stay away from the dishwasher too. While it won't get ruined after a cycle or two, over time, the dishwasher can wear away at the enamele coating--it's best to just avoid it completely.
2. WOODEN (AND BAMBOO) EVERYTHING
Keep those cutting boards, spoons, and big salad bowls out of the dishwasher--the hot, wet environment of a cycle can be extremely damaging.
"Prolonged exposure to water (especially hot water) can make wood and bamboo warp or crack. It'll also strip off its protective layer of oil and open up the grain so that it not only looks less lovely, it feels rough to the touch," says our Associate Food Editor Anna Stockwell.
3. GOOD KNIVES
It's fine to throw your butter knives in there, but keep that chef's knife or any other good quality knives out of the silverware basket. The dishwasher can dull those knives faster than hand washing can.
4. ANYTHING INSULATED
Want that travel mug to keep your coffee hot? Wash it by hand. The vacuum seal between the inner and outer shell can break and the space can even fill with water when it's is washed in the dishwasher.
5. NONSTICK POTS AND PANS
Similar to enameled cast iron, the coating on nonstick pots and pans can get worn down in the dishwasher. If you want your eggs to keep sliding right out of the skillet, hand wash it.
6. SOME PLASTICS
If the plastic container specifically says that it can go in the dishwasher, you're fine. However, if you're not sure, you're better off washing it by hand as certain plastic has the ability to melt from the cycle's heat and/or leach chemicals like BPA.
So those takeout and yogurt quart containers you hoard to store leftovers and pack your lunch in probably shouldn't be tossed in the dishwasher. Also note that dishwasher-safe plastic should be washed in the top rack, which is the furthest away from the heating element.
7. CRYSTAL AND CHINA
This should be obvious, but crystal and china is far too delicate to just be tossed in the dishwasher. Both have the potential to not only loose their glimmer, but to chip and break.
8. ANYTHING GOLD-PLATED
Leave anything that has a gold trim or gold coating in the sink as the dishwasher can eat away at it. It's likely you're only whipping those glam items out for special occasions anyway, so take the extra effort to treat them right.
You may think you're being clever by throwing the aluminum tray you used to bake a potluck lasagna in right in the dishwasher to clean it and reuse it, but unfortunately you're not. Since the containers are lightweight, they can bump around in the machine and leave black marks on the other items in there. The same goes for any aluminum cookware you may own.
If you own anything made of copper, strictly hand wash it--dishwasher detergent is more powerful than regular dish soap and can discolor it.
"The nonstick reusable baking mats can actually break down over time with repeated dishwashing," says our Assistant Food Editor Kat Sacks. They're also floppy and thin, so if you don't place them just right in the machine, the blades could potentially cut them.
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