Figuring out what you can and can't put in a dishwasher is a little confusing at first. You probably have a good idea of what is, as many items you use on a daily basis are safe for the dishwasher. Unfortunately, it takes putting the wrong thing in to realize you were completely wrong, and now you have ruined cookware. So, what is dishwasher safe? And how can you prevent your kitchen items from being warped, bent, rusted, or scraped from being put in the washer? 

Common Items That Are Dishwasher Safe 

Many manufacturers classify an item as "dishwasher safe" (more info on how you can tell what's safe is at the bottom of this article) that can withstand the high temperatures and highly effective detergents of a dishwasher, and still come out undamaged. Here are the top 10 items in your kitchen that are safe to stick in your dishwasher

1. Basic ceramic plates, bowls, and mugs

2. Stainless-steel and Pyrex mixing bowls

3. Pyrex and stoneware baking dishes

4. Plastic and wood-composite cutting boards (check whether dishwasher safe first)

5. Kitchen shears

6. Stainless-steel half-sheet pans, cooling racks, muffin tins, and other metal bakeware

7. Kitchen sponges and scrub brushes

8. Silicone and metal kitchen utensils

9. Measuring cups and spoons

10. Stainless-steel flatware

What Can't Go in the Dishwasher

dirty pan, Dirty, Burnt Pan
Jocelyn Hsu

You'll want to wash the following items by hand. The harsh environment of a dishwasher could dent, warp, or rust your cookware, making it unusable in the future. Here are 13 common items in your kitchen that aren't dishwasher safe

1. Cast iron skillets (instead, try seasoning it to preserve its flavor)

2. Wooden utensils

3.) Wooden cutting boards

4. Vintage china

5. Garlic presses

6. Insulated mugs

7. Dishes or cups with labels still attached

8. Aluminum cookware

9. Cheese grater

10. Expensive chef's knives

11. Copper cookware

12. Cookware with burnt stains

13. Crystal

How to Tell What Is (and Isn't) Dishwasher Safe

Unsure if an item is safe for the dishwasher? The most common way to tell if something is safe for the dishwasher is to check for a corresponding symbol underneath (a plate or glass with water drops above it) or a label that says "dishwasher safe." Plastics with a low melting point, kitchen-specific glass, and glazed ceramics can all also be placed in the dishwasher. If it can sustain sharp temperature changes, then it's good to go. 

When it comes to deciding what shouldn't go in a dishwasher, steer clear from items that are not certified "dishwasher safe" (because doing a few dishes by hand never hurt anyone, right?). Generally, you really don't want to stick in items that are insulated, made from rust-prone metal, wood, or light plastics, or are gold-trimmed in the dishwasher. 

Dishwasher Loading Tips

When it comes to showing your dishes—and dishwasher—some love, there are a few more helpful tips to keep in mind. If your dishes still have large chunks of food on them, take the time to rinse them off. It helps prevent your dishwasher from clogging and also prevents stubborn residue on your dishes after been washed. Over time, your washer can get dirty inside, causing it to not cleaning your dishes as effectively. Making a simple vinegar and baking soda rinse will help remove any nasty particles left behind.  

Sometimes, figuring out what can go in the dishwasher can be a risky guessing game that I even find myself playing. Will this nice kitchen knife be in one piece after sticking it in the dishwasher? Let's find out. Luckily, with these tips, you won't have to guess anymore. And your kitchen tools will probably thank you too.