I have to admit that I really love using my dishwasher, sometimes a little too much. Although there’s nothing better for your dishes than a nice handwashing in warm water, the dishwasher is just so easy and convenient. In the past I’ve ignored the “rules” and put things in the dishwasher that I know really shouldn’t go in there, but as time has gone on and I’ve gotten more and more kitchen tools that I actually really like, I’ve learned that it’s actually much easier in the long run to handwash a few key items. It keeps them working well for you and looking nice for a lot longer and 99% of the time, you realize that it saves time to wipe them off and put them away as soon as you’re done using them, rather than having to wait a few hours to finally complete the cycle of washing them and having them take up precious dishwasher space in the meantime.
If you never realized that there are things that are much better off left outside of the dishwasher, read on! Hopefully this little tip will save you some hassle and actually end up making your time in the kitchen just a little bit easier! 🙂
Things to never put in your dishwasher:
Putting your knives through the dishwasher can cause them to become dull much more quickly and can leave rust spots or discolor the whole blade. Your knife’s handle can also become faded, dried out, and cracked pretty easily under the harsh conditions of the dishwasher. I’ve been known to let knives go through the dishwasher now and then, but I’m really making an effort to just wipe them off by hand and put them away, especially now that I have knives that I really love. (This one and this one are my favorites!) If your knives have gone through the dishwasher and have rust spots, you can find my method for removing those spots here.
If you treat your cast iron well, it can be the easiest thing to work with. Putting it through the dishwasher will cause all the seasoning that makes cast iron so great to be washed away and it can even lead to big, nasty rust spots. It’s a bit of work to scrub away all the rust and completely re-season a cast iron pan, so you’re better off just rinsing it off, drying it completely, and then putting it away. This is definitely one of those cases where using the dishwasher does not save you time! You can find my post about re-seasoning, rescuing, and caring for cast iron pans here.
A nice wooden spoon should last for years and years, but if you put it through the dishwasher, it will probably be dried out, cracked, and splintery in just a few wash cycles.
A brand new non-stick pan is so satisfying to use, but that non-stickyness will start to wear away even after just one run through the dishwasher. Even if you don’t see the finish physically flaking away, it won’t be long before you have to throw the pan out and buy a new one because it will become the sticky-est pan you’ve ever encountered. If you’re wondering why all of your non-stick pans seem to be ready for the garbage can so soon, no matter how much you spend on them, this is probably why!
You obviously want to keep your beautiful, special crystal glasses as shiny as possible, that’s kind of the point of them, isn’t it? Putting crystal in the dishwasher can potentially lead to crystal chipping or cracking, and the harsh environment in the dishwasher can also dull the surface slightly after many rounds through. Just hand wash them instead and they’ll be bright and shiny for generations.
China is similar to crystal in that it’s very delicate, very beautiful, and usually very special to its owner. The harsh environment in the dishwasher can degrade any gold or metallic designs on your china as well as ruin any hand-painted details. This is another situation where using the dishwasher is just not worth the risk!
There’s nothing quite like a pot rack full of beautifully-maintained copper pots and pans. Even if your cookware only has a copper bottom, it can really start to look old pretty quickly if you put it through the dishwasher. The harsh detergents in the dishwasher can quickly discolor copper and it can be really challenging to bring it back to its former bright and shiny-ness even with the most clever of cleaning trick.
Aluminum Baking Sheets
Just like copper, these can quickly become discolored. Better to handwash aluminum baking sheets if you like the look of fresh, new baking sheets!
Insulated mugs can be tricky. They’ll usually say on the bottom whether or not they’re dishwasher safe, but even then, with all the seals on them, it’s better to wash them by hand if you have a mug that you really love. When you put these mugs in the dishwasher, water often ends up being forced into the airtight parts of the mug, making them less effective and sometimes kind of drippy if the trapped water leaks out later when you’re trying to take a sip!
Wooden Cutting Boards
Well, let’s just say that my cutting board looks like this because I was doing a little experiment for you. 🙂
I can now say with a fair degree of certainty that putting a wooden cutting board in the dishwasher, even infrequently like I do, will not turn out so well. This is the splintering, cracking, and warping that will inevitably occur. I use my board pretty much constantly throughout the day and I usually just rinse it down and dry it by hand, but it has made its way into the dishwasher every now and then and you can see the results weren’t pretty! If you have a favorite wooden cutting board, make sure you wash it by hand!
Did I miss anything? What else would you add to this list?
Check out this post from The Project Pile on How to Load Your Dishwasher for Maximum Efficiency for more dishwasher tips!
MORE IDEAS LIKE THIS
- Mason Jar Recipes For Every Eating Occasion
- How to Clean Your Microwave Naturally and With No Scrubbing
- The Five Finger Trick for Controlling Clutter
- The Butter in the Glass Tricks
- The Best Homemade Ant Killer Recipe
- How to Annihilate Stubborn Carpet Stains
- The Creek Line House Homekeeping Tips and Trick Archives
This post contains affiliate links.
Courtenay Hartford is the author of creeklinehouse.com, a blog based on her adventures renovating a 120-year-old farmhouse in rural Ontario, Canada. On her blog, Courtenay shares interior design tips based on her own farmhouse and her work as founder and stylist of the interior photography firm Art & Spaces. She also writes about her farmhouse garden, plant-based recipes, family travel, and homekeeping best practices. Courtenay is the author of the book The Cleaning Ninja and has been featured in numerous magazines including Country Sampler Farmhouse Style, Better Homes and Gardens, Parents Magazine, Real Simple, and Our Homes.