Melamine is a sturdy, durable plastic that is dishwasher-safe and reusable. It is an effective alternative to breakable dishes, especially for events like picnics or when children are around. Plastic is typically washed on the top rack of the dishwasher because it can melt if it is too close to the heating element on the bottom. However, melamine is durable enough to be washed on the bottom rack of the dishwasher. Take care that lightweight melamine doesn't move around in the dishwasher and come in contact with the heating element.
Load all plates together in the bottom dishwasher rack with the dirty side facing the center. Put them in order from largest to shortest, with the shortest in the center. This maximizes the amount of water that hits the surface.
Place bowls in the dishwasher in the same manner, with the dirty side facing the center and the smallest placed closest to the middle. Ensure the bowls have enough space between them so the water can clean all sides.
Set the melamine utensils in the utensil rack with the dirty sides facing upward. Alternate the forks, spoons and knives so they are not all in the same section of the utensil rack. If forks or spoons are together, they tend to nest and not get completely clean.
Set small plastic melamine dishes on the bottom rack in secure positions. The smallest melamine items, like cups and small serving dishes, are the ones that can cause problems. Make sure they are placed snugly in the dish rack so they don't flip out from the water pressure and slide down onto a heating element. Melamine can melt if it is directly on a heating element.
Tips & Warnings
- Use a commercial cleaner designed for melamine to get rid of stains that aren't removed with regular cleaning.
- Do not microwave melamine, as it can crack or blister.
- Good Housekeeping; How to Use a Dishwasher; Carolyn Forte
- "American Plastic: A Cultural History"; Jeffrey L. Meikle; June 2002
- Michigan State University Extension; Plastic Dinnerware -- Care, Cleaning; June 2003
- Photo Credit Jupiterimages/Photos.com/Getty Images
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