Let’s waste no time and get right into it. There are so many kitchen utensils you should be hand washing, but most importantly: You need to stop putting your cast iron pan in the dishwasher! While not a traditional utensil, many would argue that the cast iron pan is one of the most versatile tools in the kitchen due to the fact that it is virtually indestructible, maintains heat, and improves after years of use, as long as you take proper care of it (via America’s Test Kitchen). It takes time and patience to get your cast iron pan properly seasoned, and washing it in a dishwasher is the easiest way to hit reset.
Cast iron pans need to be seasoned with oil to maintain a perfect cooking surface, however, harsh detergent and water from your dishwasher will easily strip away that oil layer (via The Spruce). Once that happens you’ll have to completely start over. According to Today, cleaning your cast iron with plain water and a nonabrasive sponge is the best way to ensure you can pass that cast iron down for generations to come.
The metals to avoid putting in your dishwater
Unless they are made of stainless steel, most metal cookware and utensils shouldn’t go anywhere near your dishwasher. When it comes to utensils made of copper or other precious metal, they run the risk of losing their color and finish (via Food Network). According to The Spruce, dishwater detergent can cause pitting, or corrosion, on these surfaces, which will not only make your utensils dull, but unusable.
Aluminum is another metal that should stay out of the dishwasher. Even if it says “dishwasher-safe” on the packaging, you should think twice before letting your guard down. While this metal can technically survive on a rinse cycle, it’ll be sure to oxidize and fade from shiny to dull while it’s in there (via Food Network). Not only that, but according to Today, aluminum utensils can even mark up your other kitchenware as it move around. The dark stains that will appear on your aluminum utensils will tarnish the metal permanently (via Allrecipes).
Keep wood, plastic, and nonstick cookware out of the dishwasher
Wood is a very porous material, which screams bad news when it comes to dishwashers. The material is likely to warp or crack under the heat of the drying cycle (via Food Network). This is problematic because moisture can seep into these cracks and can turn to mold if not cared for properly (via Allrecipes).
According to The Spruce, nonstick cookware is another dishwasher nightmare. When a nonstick surface gets damaged, whether from a small scratch or chipping, it releases dangerous toxins into the food when you’re using it to cook. If the manufacturer says it’s dishwasher-safe you can take that chance, but Food Network advises that any nonstick coating generally doesn’t hold up well in a dishwasher.
And finally, plasticware should be left to the maker of the product. While some plastics can handle the heat of the dishwasher, there’s a good chance that some of your plastics could melt (via Allrecipes). According to the Food Network, If you’re planning on taking that risk, make sure to place your plastics on the top rack of the dishwasher and keep them as far away from the heat as possible.
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