Items in dishwasher

What’s the “Not Dishwasher Safe” Symbol in the UK?

Just bought a load of crockery but didn’t think to check to see if the items are dishwasher safe?

You’re not alone. It’s a common mistake to make.

Annoyingly, there isn’t an official or universal symbol to state that something is ‘Not Dishwasher Safe’ or is ‘Dishwasher Safe’.

Instead, manufacturers decide what symbol to stamp on the bottom of a piece of kitchenware to signify that you can or cannot machine wash an item.

Similarly, the wording you see on the button of your cookware stating how to clean the piece will differ from one company to another.

As a general guide, the symbol most commonly used to state that something is ‘Dishwasher Safe’ is a square with plates or glasses in the centre and lines or water droplets falling from the top of the square.

Dishwasher-safe symbol

If you see a cross through this kind of symbol, assume the item is ‘Not Dishwasher Safe’.

As mentioned, you will also see wording instead of symbols on some objects. If something is dishwasher-friendly, you’ll see words similar to ‘Dishwasher Safe’ etched onto the bottom of the piece.

In contrast, if an item of crockery cannot be machine washed, something like ‘Hand Wash Only’ or ‘Not Dishwasher Safe’ will be inscribed on the bottom of it.

Food safe symbol and hand wash only instructions

In some situations, you will see the crossed-out square alongside the words ‘Hand Wash Only’. This ultimately tells you that you cannot use an appliance to clean the object. However, it’s quite rare to see such instructions on the bottom of a piece of kitchenware.

If you cannot find a symbol to state if something is or isn’t dishwasher-friendly, err on the side of caution and hand wash the item.

The intense heat and spray action inside the dishwasher may be too extreme for your kitchenware, and they could end up damaged by the end of a cleaning cycle. This is far from ideal, as you can imagine.

It’s important to highlight that the symbol containing a glass and a fork is not the symbol for ‘Dishwasher Safe’ or ‘Not Dishwasher Safe’. The symbol actually states if something is Food Safe. It hasn’t got anything to do with a dishwasher or dishwashing dishes. So, don’t mix the symbols up.

hat’What's the "Dishwasher Safe" symbol in the UK?


How Do You Know If Something Is Dishwasher Safe?

DIshwasher safe mug

If something is ‘Dishwasher Safe’, it will either state in writing that it is ‘Dishwasher Safe’ or there will be a symbol on the bottom of the item.

As mentioned above, the symbol will likely be a square with some plates in the middle OR a glass and a plate. Water drops or lines will also come down from the top of the square, symbolising water.

In addition, you will occasionally notice that some droplets or lines hit the crockery at a certain angle. This signifies what rack you should place the items on in the dishwasher.

This, however, is not a universal feature; it’s only used by certain manufacturers, so it won’t happen in all the dishwasher-related symbols you see.

For example, if the lines are hitting the top of the plates in the square symbol, the item that needs cleaning should be placed on the top rack in the dishwasher.

The top rack is seen as the gentler of the two racks. By placing the kitchenware on the top, it won’t be put under too much pressure and exposed to vast qualities of heat during the cleaning cycle.

Consequently, this will ensure the item is safe in the machine and won’t end up melted or warped by the end of the cycle.

If the water lines and drops are all over the plates in the square, you can place the item anywhere in the dishwasher.

Further to this, some manufacturers will also state in words where you should place the item you’re about to clean in a dishwasher. The words ‘Top Rack Only’ typically appear under the symbol of a square with plates in it.

On rare occasions, a manufacturer will also tell you what temperature you can use to clean your item in the dishwasher. But this doesn’t happen often.


What Items Are Not Dishwasher Safe?

If your kitchenware doesn’t stipulate if it’s dishwasher safe or not, use this list to work out if the tools in question can be machine cleaned.

The following items should not be cleaned in a dishwasher:

  • Fine China
  • Wooden objects (spoons and chopping boards)
  • Hand-painted items
  • Antiques
  • Crystal
  • Cast iron
  • Travel mugs
  • Thin plastics
  • Non-stick items (pans and trays)
  • Copper and aluminium


Can Pyrex Go in a Dishwasher?

Yes, most types of Pyrex can be cleaned in a dishwasher. However, always check to see if the colourful lids can be washed this way.

Always follow the manufacturer’s instructions on where to place the item and what water temperature to use (if stipulated) so you keep the item safe in the wash.

Items that are not dishwasher safe