You Should Never Ever Put These 9 Kitchen Tools in the Dishwasher

updated Oct 17, 2019
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Sure, dishwashers are great for washing your utensils in a pinch—but not all kitchen tools are actually dishwasher-safe.

“Depending on the material, a handwash-only utensil might discolor, rust, warp, or crack in the dishwasher,” says Brian Sansoni, Senior Vice President of Communications at The American Cleaning Institute. “So, when in doubt, keep it out (of the dishwasher).” 

Not sure what kinds of kitchen utensils need to be washed by hand? We asked Sansoni and Leslie Reichert, aka The Green Cleaning Coach, to help us figure out which kitchen tools should always stay clear of the dishwasher.

Here’s what they had to say:

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Wooden utensils

“The heat from the dishwasher can cause wooden utensils to warp or crack in the dishwasher,” Sansoni says.

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Fine silverware

“Always wash fine silverware by hand using a gentle soap and place them on a drying rack to avoid water spots,” Reichert says.  

Graters and garlic presses

“While the dishwasher might not actually hurt these items, they may not clean out all of the food in the tiny holes,” Sansoni says. “Either wash by hand or at least rinse out thoroughly first.” 

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Strainers and colanders

Similar to graters, Reichert says strainers and colanders should always be washed by hand to ensure you “clean out all of the holes.” 

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Knives

“Washing hollow-handled knives by hand will help keep them sharp for longer (and safer use),” Sansoni says.

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Decorative wine stoppers

“Wash wine corks by hand with warm soapy water,” Reichert says, “so as not to damage anything glued to the top.” 

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Aluminum pans and utensils

“Although some aluminum utensils are dishwasher-safe, others can quickly discolor because of dishwasher heat,” Sansoni says.

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Plastics

It might seem like a no brainer, but Reichert is here to remind us to keep our plastic kitchen tools—think lids, boards, and plastic-handled cutlery—out of the dishwasher because they “can melt in the drying cycle.”

Credit: Cambria Bold

Stainless steel pans and utensils

According to Sansoni, most experts recommend washing stainless steel cutlery by hand to ensure the heat and detergent from the dishwasher doesn’t corrode or tarnish it. “If you do wash your stainless steel utensils in the dishwasher, make sure to not put them all in the same basket so they will get thoroughly cleaned and dried,” he says.