A dishwasher is an excellent addition to any kitchen. Not only do they save you time that would otherwise be spent doing the dishes, but they also use less water than washing by hand—up to ten times less water in the most water-efficient models!
After cooking a big meal, you’re bound to be left with plenty of large pots and pans that need cleaning. These are some of the most time-consuming dishes to handwash, so having a quicker and more efficient way of cleaning them can only be seen as a win.
But can you put pans in the dishwasher? Or will this cause damage to your dishes? Read on for our handy guide.
Can All Pans Go in the Dishwasher?
Unfortunately, the convenience of putting your pans in the dishwasher is not always possible. While certain pans can safely be washed in a dishwasher, others will be highly susceptible to damage and are better off being hand-washed.
The easiest way of knowing if your pan can be placed in the dishwasher is by looking for a “dishwasher safe” stamp on the handle or base of your pan.
If your pan is marked as “dishwasher safe,” it will be made of a material that can withstand the high temperatures, spraying water, and detergents used in the machine. If it doesn’t have this label, it can’t!
What Pans Can You Put in the Dishwasher?
The “dishwasher safe” label is the easiest way to identify whether you can wash your pans using your appliance. However, this is largely down to the material it is made of.
If you know the material of your pans, you can use this information to determine whether they’re safe to go in the dishwasher.
Below are the four pans that are generally okay to wash in the dishwasher. Make sure to scrape off any solid food remnants and load the pan mess side down wherever possible for the best results.
If food is burnt onto the pan, you can use Coca-Cola to remove it before washing.
- Ceramic: Any ceramic pots, such as those made from china and porcelain, are safe to put in the dishwasher. However, hand-painted designs or embellishments on ceramic will be easily damaged (see below), so be careful if your pans are decorative.
- Glass: Any kitchenware made of glass is typically fine to put in the dishwasher. Although glass pans won’t become badly damaged, regular dishwasher cleaning can cause white patches and faint scratches to appear on the surface, so it is best done sparingly.
- Stainless steel: Stainless steel is one of the safest materials to wash in the dishwasher, as the metal will not be affected by high temperatures and detergents. Just watch out not to overload your dishwasher, as nearby pans or utensils could cause scratches to appear.
- Anodised aluminium: Anodised aluminium is a special form of aluminium that has been covered in a protective coating. This coating prevents damage caused by scratches and chemicals found in the dishwasher detergent. Even so, it is still best to avoid overcrowding your pans to be safe.
What Pans Should Not Go in the Dishwasher?
Although many pans can be placed in the dishwasher, several materials are better off being hand-washed. You may have a pan made of one of the following materials labelled as “dishwasher safe.” If this is the case, that pan will not be at risk of damage when placed in the dishwasher.
However, the following pans will become damaged unless otherwise stated:
- Non-stick: Non-stick pans have a very fragile finish that can easily be scratched, peeled off, or eroded in the dishwasher. This damage means that the non-stick coating will fail to work. Many non-stick pans are dishwasher safe, but it is best to stick to handwashing if this is not clearly stated.
- Cast iron or steel: Cast iron and steel are both highly susceptible to rusting when put in the dishwasher. The high temperatures and prolonged water exposure cause oxygen to bind to the metal, forming iron oxide (i.e., rust). If this happens, your pans may crack, and you could get fragments of rust in your food – something that needs to be avoided!
- Copper: Copper pans are beautiful to look at due to their high level of shine. Unfortunately, the surface of your pans will become scratched and dull when placed in the dishwasher due to the high power at which the water is sprayed. This can later lead to tarnishing.
- Non-anodised aluminium: Without the protective anodised coating mentioned earlier, aluminium pans are not safe to put in the dishwasher. The power of the water jets will scratch and dull the surface of the pans, while the chlorine and salt in dishwasher detergents can lead to corrosion.
- Hand-painted ceramic: As stated earlier, ceramic pans are fine to put in the dishwasher unless they have hand-painted designs or embellishments on them. This includes metallic designs. The aggressiveness of a dishwasher means these embellishments are prone to damage, therefore ruing the look of your pan.
How to Wash Pans in the Dishwasher Safely
You should only ever wash pans in the dishwasher that are either:
- Explicitly labelled as dishwasher-safe; OR
- Made from one of the dishwasher-safe materials listed above.
Even then, it is always best to take some precautions. For example, we recommend sticking to shorter and cooler washing and drying cycles wherever possible to help guarantee the safety of your pans. This reduces the intensity of the wash and results in less damage.
Dishwasher tablets and detergents are also stronger than washing-up liquid, which is another reason dishwashers are prone to causing damage.
However, although washing up liquid is gentler than dishwasher detergents, don’t be tempted to try and swap these products to further prevent damage. Putting washing up liquid in the dishwasher might save your pans, but it could damage the appliance.
Hannah is a freelance content writer with a passion for cleaning. She worked her way around Australia by cleaning hostels in exchange for free accommodation and used her cleaning skills to bag her a job as a chalet host for a luxury ski company in France.