Not so long ago, there were people who still did dishes by hand. They either didn’t have a dishwasher, or they were afraid to put most of their dishes in there. Sure, there are some people who claim they like to wash dishes. However, very few people would actually rather spend their time washing dishes rather than watching television or talking to their friends.
We have gotten to the point where most things can go in the dishwasher. Manufacturers accept that people want to be able to throw their dishes in the dishwasher and press a button. However, there are still a handful of kitchenware that cannot go in the dishwasher. If you use a lot of common sense and pay attention to markings on your kitchenware, you should be safe. However, here is a guide just in case. Here are a handful of things that have to be washed by hand even in this day and age of modern technology.
People spend a lot of money on their good, sharp knives. You need to take care of them. You should not put your sharp knives in the dishwasher. Even if the manufacturer says it’s okay, don’t do it. The dishwasher dulls your blades. If you put them in the dishwasher, you will have to sharpen your knives much more often. Not to mention how dangerous they can be in the dishwasher. Imagine putting your hand in to grab a bowl and the blade or knife tip slices your finger, hand or wrist. This is just an accident waiting to happen. To be safe, wash your sharp knives by hand.
Non-Stick Pots and Pans
Unless the manufacturer clearly states it is okay to put non-stick pots and pans in the dishwasher, don’t do it! The heat and water in the dishwasher can irritate the non-stick surface. Over time, the coating will start to flake off and crack. If you don’t notice this and cook with the pan, you could end up with the coating flakes in your food. So not only will you have to buy new pots and pans, but you’ll be eating what is sure to be toxic flakes in your food.
People pass their cast iron pans and pots down for generations. A lot of cooks in the South intentionally pass them down without washing them so the greases and seasonings of hundreds of years of cooking stay in the pan. If you put them in the dishwasher, the dishwasher detergent will strip away the non-stick coating and ruin your pots and pans. It is much better to wash in the sink with just water and a sponge. It’s not even wise to use soap when hand washing them. It still eats away at the coating of your pans.
Antiques and other Delicate Items
The general rule is, if it’s a family heirloom or antique, do not put it in the dishwasher. These items are just too fragile to withstand the heat and motion of the dishwasher. Gently wash them individually by hand in the sink if they have to be washed at all.
China with a Metallic Decoration
Believe it or not, china, generally, is safe to put in the dishwasher. However, if your pattern or decoration is metallic, you don’t want to put it in the dishwasher. It can chip off and ruin your design. China also should, as a general rule, be hand washed. Although it is dishwasher safe, it is so fragile that it is liable to get chipped and ruined in the dishwasher.
It should go without saying that you should never put crystal in the dishwasher. Detergent and heat can chip and crack your crystal. When something is this expensive, you are best off just washing it by hand.
Gold Colored Flatware
Many people have two sets of flatware – one they use every day that is made out of metal, and another set that is made out of gold or silver. You should never put your gold or real silver flatware in the dishwasher. Especially gold flatware will discolor and fade. This can happen after just one cycle in the dishwasher.
The hot water in dishwashers stains the surface of aluminum and dishwasher detergents will dull the finish. Even if you don’t care about how your pans look, you don’t want to put them in the dishwasher. They move around a lot and scratch and scrape the other dishes in the machine.
Brass or Bronze Pieces
You always want to hand wash any brass or bronze cookware you may have. If you put it in the dishwasher it will get pitted and will discolor. You are much better off hand washing these valuable and important pieces.
Pressure Cooker Lids and Crock Pot Lids
As convenient as it is to cook with a pressure cooker or crock pot, you are better off handwashing the lids. If you put them in the dishwasher, soap and food particles will get into the crevices and stay in the lid. They will then end up in whatever the next dish you cook is. You don’t want to get an infection or virus from having old, spoiled food lodged in your cookware lids. You’re much better off washing these items by hand.
You should wash your cheese graters by hand in the sink. Cheese can get stuck in the holes and won’t come out in the dishwasher. You don’t want moldy cheese to be on the grater the next time you serve pizza to your friends. Avoid putting this in the dishwasher.
Hand painted ceramics
If someone took the time to hand-paint a ceramic for you, take the time to wash it properly. If you run it in the dishwasher, you are going to see the paint chip and the picture distorted. It is also likely to crack and break in the dishwasher. Wash it by hand and be safe.
Never put wooden spoons in the dishwasher. The wood can warp and lose it finish. Also, wood does not get really clean in the dishwasher. You are better washing this by hand. Otherwise, your next dinner guest could end up wood chips in their salad!
You don’t want to put your garlic press in the dishwasher. Garlic is sticky. It gets caught in holes and crevices in the garlic press. The dishwasher can never get the press really clean. You are much better washing this by hand with a brush so it is fresh to use for your next meal.
Printed Measuring Cups
Most measuring cups have printing on them. Unless the marks are etched into the plastic or glass, they are going to be painted or printed on them. You use these all the time. Whether you’re measuring milk, water, or sugar, these things usually end up in the dishwasher. That is a no-no. You really want to hand wash them. The writing can come off and then they won’t be very useful at all.
Dishes with Big Pieces of Food on Them
It goes without saying that you should rinse and scrape off your dishes before you put them in the dishwasher. Not only will it be hard to get clean in the dishwasher, but these large pieces of food can then get on other dishes or in the drain. Always rinse your plates and bowls out before you put them in the dishwasher. It only takes a moment and saves you a lot of trouble on the back end.
So many things we use are dishwasher safe. Our lives have been made very easy with computers, microwaves and dishwashers. There are times, however, when you need to rely old school, traditional chores like washing dishes to get things done right. It isn’t often and it doesn’t take long. And just think, next time someone asks why you aren’t using the dishwasher, just tell them, “Oh, I like doing dishes!”