8 Items You Should Never Put in the Dishwasher

Hand washing these things will prevent any potential damage or warping under the high temperatures and strong water pressure of your dishwasher.

Your dishwasher is a handy appliance that cleans dishes, cookware, utensils, and more kitchen items quickly and efficiently. While it would be convenient if you could wash everything in the dishwasher after using it to cook or eat, that's simply not the case. Some items must be washed by hand to maintain the integrity of not just your appliance, but your kitchen tools.

Using the appliance to clean things that aren't dishwasher safe can cause them to become damaged or warped during the wash cycle. While you should always check the manufacturer's instructions before cleaning serveware and cookware, there are some pieces that should never be put in the dishwasher.

open dishwasher in modern kitchen

Fine China

Even if you only bring your fine china out once a year, you should still clean it by hand. "In general, it's not recommended to put delicate or expensive china in the dishwasher due to the potential for damage from high water temperatures, strong water pressure, and abrasive detergents to cause color fading, delicate decorations, and hygiene concerns," says Vera Peterson, president of Molly Maid, a Neighborly company.

Sharp Knives

While it's typically fine to wash butter knives in the dishwasher, steak knives, bread knives, chef's knives, and other sharp knives should be hand washed and dried with a soft towel. "Sharp knives should not go in the dishwasher as the items can be damaged and become warped while in the dishwasher," says Lindsay Jones, new product brand manager at Maytag.

cast iron skillet with cooked bacon
Claudia Totir / GETTY IMAGES

Cast Iron

Your cast iron pan has very specific care instructions and should never be cleaned in your dishwasher. "Cast iron cookware should not be put in the dishwasher as it can cause rust," says Peterson. "Instead, clean it with a sponge or stiff brush and coarse salt, rinse, and dry completely."

Non-Stick Pans

Do you want your non-stick pans to keep their coating? Then it's best not to put them in the dishwasher. "It's not recommended to put non-stick pans in the dishwasher as the high water temperatures, harsh detergents, and abrasive scrubbers can damage the non-stick coating," says Peterson. "To extend the life of your non-stick pans, it's best to hand wash them using a mild detergent and a soft sponge."

Copper Cookware

Cookware made out of copper should also not go in the dishwasher; running them through a cycle may result in the items losing their coating when exposed to the hot water temperatures inside the machine.

wooden spoons on marble

Wooden Items

Cutting boards, spoons, salad bowls, and other kitchen items made from wood should be hand washed. "Wooden items should not go in the dishwasher as they can begin to become discolored [during the wash cycle]," says Jones.


Generally, crystal serveware and drinkware is not dishwasher safe, so it's best to err on the side of caution and wash these pieces by hand. "If you're unsure about your glasses, it's important to check the manufacturer's instructions before putting them in the dishwasher," says Peterson.

Aluminum Cookware

Some aluminum cookware, like pressed and cast, is not dishwasher safe, so it's important to check the manufacturer's instructions before washing these items. "Cookware items that are made out of anodized aluminum can go in the dishwasher, because these items are protected from chemicals that are used during the wash cycle," says Jones.

On the other hand, pressed and cast aluminum can be damaged in the dishwasher. "Like cast iron, you should not put aluminum in the dishwasher as the detergent, high heat, and minerals in your water can trigger a reaction that darkens the metal," says Peterson. Additionally, the jostling of items against each other can scratch the surface.

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