The dishwasher was designed to ease the burden of cleaning your dishes by hand. While the dishwasher does ease this burden, it does not totally eliminate it. Some items should never be washed in dishwashers, while others should only be washed with caution. If you have any doubts about what can or cannot go into a dishwasher, just wash it by hand.
Any items made out of wood should never be placed inside a dishwasher. This includes spoons, cutting boards, chopsticks and bowls. This also applies to utensils that only contain a wooden handle. If you do place wooden items in a dishwasher, the wood will expand over time, and the item will crack, split or warp. Instead, simply wash these items by hand, using bleach and warm water. Rinse off the items with soap and water. Dry the items immediately so they do not remain damp for too long.
Plastics should have a label clarifying whether they are dishwasher-safe or not. If you do not see a label, play it safe and wash these items by hand. Smaller plastic items should be placed on the upper racks. If it's placed on the lower racks, the drying cycle can have a negative effect on the item, causing it to melt or warp. Larger plastic items --- such as family-sized salad bowls --- that cannot fit in the upper racks should be washed by hand.
Pans and Glasses
Pots and pans made of stainless steel are fine to wash in a dishwasher, but pots and pans made of aluminum should be washed with caution. If you wash aluminum excessively with a dishwasher, the color will begin to fade over time due to the rinse cycle. If this isn't an issue for you, than use the dishwasher to clean aluminum as frequently as you like. If it is, then remove the aluminum before the rinse cycle and rinse it by hand. Most glassware is suitable for a dishwasher, except lead crystal glassware.
Regardless of what you put inside the dishwasher, make sure to rinse it off first. For example, never place a plate with leftover food items on it in the dishwasher. Pots and pans that have gunk --- or burnt food --- stuck to them should be soaked overnight before being placed in a dishwasher. This will prevent the gunk from spreading to the other items inside the machine. If you have a saucepan with burned residue, soak it overnight with water and dishwashing detergent. In the morning, scrape the loosened residue away.
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