You’d be hard-pressed to find a home without a dishwasher nowadays, with the kitchen sink becoming more of a place to simply wash your hands than clean dirty pots and pans. And after a big family dinner or get-together with friends it’s really no surprise, as a massive pile of cooking instruments and plates lie littered across the bench.
But, is it really safe to be putting everything in the handy appliance, or is it best to fill the kitchen sink and get scrubbing? To help you separate the do’s and don’ts, Choice has compiled a handy list of items you should keep to the side the next time you load your dishwasher.
Don’t fret, you won’t have to slave away in front of the kitchen sink for hours at a time because there are plenty of items that can be cleaned in the dishwasher. The clever mechanisms of the appliance will remove that baked-on spaghetti and remove the greasy stains from your last meal with ease.
Stainless steel pots and pans and ceramic baking dishes are safe options for the modern dishwasher, and as long as you have a good detergent, they’ll be left sparkling clean. The only cautionary piece of advice from Choice is to fold down or remove separators where possible to give the pots and pans enough room to fit firmly in place. Also, avoid using the dishwasher to clean copper, non-stick or fine aluminium cookware as they could get damaged.
Your plates, bowls, cutlery and cups are generally a-okay to be cleaned in the dishwasher. However, it’s still a good idea to check the bottom of the items before throwing them in, just to be sure. Tableware that can’t go in should have a message on it saying so.
Instead of throwing your kitchen sponge in the bin next time it starts to get a little dirty, why not pop it in the dishwasher for a clean? According to Choice, they can be a hive of bacteria, and unfortunately, just washing it by hand with some detergent, won’t do the trick.
“You can give it a new lease of life by running it through your dishwasher to leave it sanitised, refreshed and probably smelling better, ready to scrub for another day,” Choice says.
For most kitchen items dishwashers are a great option to achieve quick results, but when it comes to more delicate things, they can be a little harsh. So, if you need to wash your favourite wine glass or your grandma’s hand-painted plate, leave it for hand-washing.
You don’t have to leave plastics out of the dishwasher altogether, but according to Choice, there needs to be a bit of extra care taken with these items. If you’re trying to squash them onto the bottom shelf the plastic could warp and it will be no use for you in the future, so instead, place them on the top shelf where there is generally a bit more room. Just beware, you will probably have to dry them yourself once they’re clean as they won’t dry especially well in the dishwasher.
Good quality knives can be expensive, and unfortunately, they don’t mix well with dishwashers. The high carbon steel of the knives can corrode and effectively ruin it. Instead, give it a quick wash by hand in the sink – it will save you a lot of money!
The non-stick coating on cookware could be ruined if it’s cleaned in a dishwasher too many times, so best to give it a quick wash by hand instead. Plus, as Choice explains, if it’s non-stick, then it really shouldn’t require too much scrubbing anyway!
Anything especially breakable is best left for hand-washing in the sink. This includes your favourite wine glasses, lead crystal and hand-painted ceramics. Not only can the dishwasher cause them to bump into each other and break, but the washing process may cause the colour of any hand-painted items to fade quickly.