Washing dishes by hand can get tiresome, especially for people who have a whole list of other things going on. This is in-part why dishwashers were made, to limit the amount of time spent at the sink. Of course, now that you have a dishwasher, you’ll likely come to find out that not every dish, glass, or cup is safe for dishwasher use. Trial and error has likely left you with an abundance of kitchen items that are horribly warped, rusted, broken, or just don’t clean well that you now have to wash by hand.
To help you out, we’ve assembled this quick post on how to tell if your current dishware is safe, and where you can buy safe-for-dishwasher products. Here’s hoping you find and opt for more dishwasher-friendly items in the future. Because after all, the more dishwasher-friendly items you have, the less time you’ll spend washing them at the sink, and the more time you’ll have to relax, cook, or save the world.
What Does “Dishwasher Safe” Mean?
In general, “dishwasher safe” simply means that that item has been treated specifically to endure the high temperatures and strong detergents associated with dishwashers. This is done to avoid any sort of damage, rust, or discoloration if being washed in the dishwasher.
While there isn’t a standard measurement or level for something to be marked dishwasher safe, virtually every company that produces kitchenware has their benchmarks that they try to meet. However, usually this has more to do with the material used to make the dishware, as opposed to the process in which those materials are made or treated.
How are Dishwasher Safe Products Made?
From drinking and wine glasses to plates, bowls, and bakeware, many kitchen items are made from glass. Depending on the type of product, they can go through one of two very different processes that make them dishwasher safe.
Annealed glass (glasses, some plates): This type of glass is cooled slowly during production, evening out any stresses in the glass structure. This makes it more equipped to deal with temperature changes.
Tempering (bakeware or cookware): Most Pyrex or similar types of bakeware or cookware have been tempered, a thermal or chemical process that makes the glass both resilient and strong.
Ceramic dishware (plates, bowls, and mugs) goes through a similar process as annealed glass, however a glaze is applied at the end that protects the surface, increasing the durability of the item and making it dishwasher safe.
Unlike glass and ceramics, plastics aren’t “treated” to make them dishwasher safe. Instead, it’s more the type of plastic that makes it safe (or not) for the dishwasher. Any plastics that are weak, thin and prone to melting will not last in a dishwasher’s high temperatures.
Additionally, any plastics that are made with BPA, phthalates, and other chemicals can easily unsafe, as these harmful chemicals can be drawn out by the heat in the dishwasher, inevitably leaking into any foods used in them. With that in mind, it’s a good idea to either eliminate all BPA-plastics from your kitchen or replace them with BPA and Phthalate free plastics.
Is Your Dishware Dishwasher Safe?
By now you may be sitting there thinking, “What about my dishes? Are they safe?” To help eliminate any guesswork, let’s review the items are and aren’t dishwasher safe:
- Ceramic plates, bowls, and mugs
- Pyrex mixing bowls and baking dishes
- Metal baking dishes
- Silicone and metal utensils
- Measuring cups and spoons
- Stainless-steel flatware
- Cast iron
- Wooden utensils or cutting boards
- Insulated mugs
- Copper cookware
Now look through your kitchen sort through all the items on the list that are (and aren’t) dishwasher safe. Are there any other items in your kitchen that you’re not sure about? Check the bottoms of these items. If it has been deemed dishwasher safe by the manufacturer, it’ll either have a symbol of a plate or glass with water drops above it, or it’ll clearly say, “dishwasher safe”. Great! Now you know the difference.
Finding the Right Dishwasher-Safe Items for Your Family
Moving forward, it can be hard to find products that are truly dishwasher safe, especially for plastic-ware, as many manufacturers don’t list if their products are free of BPA or other toxins. If you’re in the market to buy a new line of dishware that’s toxin-free and dishwasher safe, you’ll want to check out Kangovou’s shop. Every product made and sold by Kangovou is 100% dishwasher safe, and BPA, PVC, Lead, Melamine, and Phthalate free.
Their most popular item is there eco-friendly, BPA-free, and dishwasher safe Bento Lunch Box. School lunches can be made easy in this divided box, with its stainless-steel and double insulation for optimal temperature control and sturdy frame. It’s easy to hand-wash, as well as both dishwasher and microwave safe, making it easy for parents, and safe for their kids. Say ‘hooray’ to no more worrying about slimy chemicals leaching into kids lunch!
You can find the Bento Lunch Box on Kangovou’s product page here, as well as dozens of other dishwasher-safe items!