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10 Things You Should Never Wash in Your Dishwasher

Don't ruin your favorite dishes and utensils! Find out which items simply won't hold up if you wash them in the dishwasher.

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cupVoronina Svetlana/Shutterstock

Plastic Dishes

If a plastic bowl, cup or food storage container isn’t labeled “dishwasher safe” and you aren’t sure what to do, opt to wash it by hand. It isn’t worth taking a chance and then finding a melted mess inside your dishwasher later. Not only will the melted container be destroyed, but it could also damage your other dishes or even clog your dishwasher drain.

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mug Nadiia Korol/Shutterstock

Travel Mugs

Most travel mugs will indicate whether they are safe for the dishwasher or not, but if you aren’t sure, just wash it by hand. The high heat of a normal dishwasher cleaning cycle can damage the layers of insulation inside the mug, and water that may get trapped between layers could cause mold growth. Plus: Don’t let your coffee pods clutter your kitchen countertop anymore! Check out this brilliant inside-the-cabinet storage idea.

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Wooden Utensils

Wooden utensils, bowls, cutting boards, etc., should never go into your dishwasher. When wood is exposed to such high heat and moisture for a long washing cycle, it can warp, splinter and eventually break. Instead, wash wood items by hand using warm, soapy water and dry them with a towel right away.

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drinkElena Veselova/Shutterstock

Copper Dishes

Copper dishes and cookware are on trend (Moscow mules, anyone?!), but they should always be hand-washed if you want to preserve their luster. The powerful spray of the dishwasher and harsh detergent will alter the finish and dull the color of those beautiful copper pieces. Plus: You’ve probably been loading your dishwasher wrong all along. Learn the right way here.

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Gold Leaf

Expensive dishes with gold leaf accents should not go in the dishwasher. Like with copper, the water and detergent can cause the rich gold color to dull or even flake off. The best option for your fancy dishes is to wash them by hand in warm water. Not enough storage in your kitchen? Make batter use of the space under your kitchen sink with this DIY under-cabinet rollout project.

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ironValentina_G/Shutterstock

Cast Iron

Soaking your cast iron skillet in water can cause it to rust, which is why it should never go in your dishwasher either. Instead, clean it by hand with a damp cloth and a small amount of soap. Be sure to dry it with a towel right away. For really stuck-on food, you can rub the surface with coarse salt. It’s also important to season your cast iron skillet after each use. Here’s a step-by-step guide.

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Nonstick Pans

All pots and pans with a non-stick coating should not be washed in the dishwasher. The hot water can cause the cookware to warp, and the harsh spray and detergent can break down the non-stick coating. Keep your pots and pans in good shape for as long as possible by washing them by hand. You know how to clean your pots and pans, now here are 12 creative solutions for how to store them!

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knifeBurana Srivakol/Shutterstock

Knives

While butter and other table knives are fine to put in the dishwasher, sharp cooking knives should instead be hand-washed. Chef’s knives are often too tall to fit in your dishwasher’s silverware compartment, and they can be dangerous to load and unload on the top rack. In addition, dishwasher detergent is abrasive and can wear down the sharp edge over time. It’s best to wash your cooking knives with gentle soap and water and extreme caution so you don’t get cut.

Here’s an excellent guide on how to sharpen knives, with tips from a pro.

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honey Keith Homan/Shutterstock

Containers with Stickers

Repurposing your empty condiment jars is a great idea and can save you some money, but be sure to remove stickers and labels before putting the jars in your dishwasher. If you don’t, the hot water and aggressive spray will peel off the stickers and the pieces can clog your dishwasher drain or leave residue on your other dishes. Check out this simple hack for removing sticker residue.

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Crystal

Never put your expensive crystal glasses, serving platter, punch bowl, etc., in the dishwasher, as the heat and aggressive spray can jostle the items around and potentially crack or chip them. It’s best to gently wash your crystal by hand.

Check out these 12 cleaning tips for hard-to-clean items like chandelier crystals.