Preserve Kitchen Items Through Proper Care

The dishwasher is easily one of the most useful household appliances any family could ask for. It saves time and conserves water. But there are certain items that are just not made to withstand a mechanical washing. Here is a list of items that require a little extra care and that will last much longer if you hand wash.

hand washing dishes

Wooden items

Wooden spoons, bowls, cutting boards, trays and any other wooden kitchen item should always be hand washed. When run through the dishwasher, they can warp and crack.

Knives

Okay, so you may not be worried about your steak knives, but any nice knife should be hand washed. It will last much longer that way. The reason for this is that the detergent used in dishwashers is just too harsh for most knives. It can cause nicks and scratches in blades and will ultimately dull the knife.

Crystal

Any crystal or hand-blown glass items should also be hand washed at all times. They are not made to withstand the conditions of a machine wash. Just as it does with knives, the detergent can cause chips in glass. The heat in a dishwasher may also be too extreme for your crystal and could cause it to break.

Cast iron

Cast iron pans or skillets require hand washing. Washing cast iron in the dishwasher will cause it to lose its seasoning, and seasoning in cast iron cookware is what prevents rust. The best way to wash cast iron is with water only -- no soap. If you need to remove any stubborn residue in the pan, boil water in it for a few minutes, and after you have dumped the boiling water out, scrub it with a nylon brush and a little salt.

Brass items

Brass items should never go through a wash cycle in the dishwasher. Hot water actually removes the protective layer that naturally forms on brass. The way you should clean brass ultimately depends on whether it's plated or solid brass, and there are many opinions on what type of cleaner works the best. Depending on who you ask, you may hear ketchup or lemon juice, yogurt or mineral oil. Either way, the best place to start is by simply buffing brass with a clean, lint-free cloth. If that doesn't work, try using warm, soapy water.

Proceed with caution

It's perfectly fine to wash many plastic items in the dishwasher, but some will just not hold up through multiple washing cycles. Printed plastic or insulated items usually will not last when washed in a machine. Before you wash, remember to double-check whether or not the item is dishwasher safe. You should also confirm whether or not it can go in the top and bottom rack. There are a number of plastic items that are listed as safe for the top rack only. The reason for this is because they need a little distance from the heat element in the bottom of the dishwasher.

More cleaning guides

How to clean your glass stovetop
How to clean your microwave

How to make your own natural cleaning products

Tags: dishwashers

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Comments

Comments on "Hand wash versus dishwasher: Which items need more TLC?"

Eric May 07, 2012 | 11:13 AM

Wow, I never knew washing cast iron cookware in the dish washer would cause them to lose their seasoning. I inherited a cast iron skillet from my family that dated all the way back to the 1970s. It was in good condition when my parents gave it to me, but after owning it for a couple of years it started to rust. This is because I had been putting it in the washing machine once a week (usually on Sundays after making eggs and french toast). I thought I was jinxed - the family's skillet was in good condition until they bequeathed it to me. Whew! Now I know that I don't have bad karma. I'm glad I read this article.

Bill May 07, 2012 | 11:05 AM

Great article! Wood and crystal are common sense - my wife would kill me if I put her crystal in the dish washer - however, I never knew knives should be hand washed. Luckily I hand wash my knives as a habit (throwing them in the dish washer seems superfluous) and I also hand wash and re-use plastic silverware because I am conscientious.

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