Ah, the dishwasher. That trusty appliance we turn to when the energy for hand-washing and fussing with tea towels is just not there. It’s fabulous for cutlery, plates, bowls and even Tupperware…but what about heavy-duty kitchen tools such as pots and pans?
Chances are, you’ve slipped a pot or pan into the dishwasher at the end of the night, being unsure if it’s allowed to be there or not…
We’ve broken down the most common cookware materials and have figured out whether or not they can be tossed into the dishwasher. Be aware, the answers are rarely straightforward…
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Table of Contents
Can you put hard-anodized cookware in the dishwasher?
Sometimes…but often no. When you get into an internet rabbit hole of research about hard-anodized cookware and dishwashers…the findings are varied and interesting. Many cookware brands who make hard-anodized cookware will state that their cookware is “dishwasher safe”.
This might be so, to some extent, in the sense that the dishwasher won’t completely destroy the cookware. However, the dishwasher may accelerate the wear and tear of the cookware, causing scratches (from knocking other items), tarnishing and sometimes even warping (for cheaper cookware).
The question is even more compelling when we add a non-stick coating to the hard-anodized aluminum, which many brands do. Non-stick coating such as Dupont Autograph 2 (used by Circulon and Anolon) is said to be dishwasher safe.
Despite this, it’s advisable not to put non-stick cookware into the dishwasher (hard-anodized base or not) as it can speed up the wearing of the surface, causing a loss in effectiveness.
In short? Hand-wash your hard-anodized cookware, even if the manufacturer says it’s dishwasher safe.
Can you put stainless steel pots in the dishwasher?
Yes…but try not to. Stainless steel is generally thought to be suitable for the dishwasher, but it can definitely compromise the aesthetic.
Here’s a little personal anecdote about stainless steel cookware: I put my stainless steel pots and skillets (Scanpan) into the dishwasher all the time. My pot is about 4 years old and has tarnished spots on the interior cooking surface, but the brushed exterior is still perfect.
I don’t use this pan for anything which could stick, (I use it mostly for poaching eggs or boiling pasta) so I can’t say whether or not the surface has been damaged. interior.
In short? Stainless steel isn’t going to become completely ruined by the dishwasher, but it can compromise the shiny, clear surface. Put your stainless-steel cookware in the dishwasher when you need to, but try to hand-wash it most of the time.
Can you put copper pans in the dishwasher?
No, never. Copper cookware should always be hand-washed with gentle detergents and tools. For an example from a popular brand…Calphalon has a gorgeous tri-ply copper cookware set, and the manual clearly states NO dishwashers allowed.
Copper is a soft metal (which is why copper cookware is lined with a harder metal for safety) and is very easily tarnished. Copper cookware will take on a patina over time (because of the heat it is exposed to), but that’s part of the charm. You can polish your copper cookware to preserve the shine, or let nature do its thing. But if you put it in the dishwasher, it will tarnish and even begin to corrode.
In short? ALWAYS hand-wash your copper cookware. It’s far too beautiful (and expensive) to risk damaging.
Can you put ceramic cookware in the dishwasher?
Some ceramic cookware brands will tell you their cookware is well-suited to the dishwasher, but definitely take this with a grain of salt. Ceramic cookware (especially ceramic coated cookware) can chip, peel, dent and warp in the dishwasher, especially if the base is a little flimsier.
It’s the same old story…hand-washing will preserve the quality and look of ceramic cookware far better than the dishwasher. The harsh water, detergents and being knocked about can damage ceramic cookware, even if the manufacturer gives the green light.
In short? Try to hand-wash as often as you can to preserve the look and performance of ceramic cookware. A dishwasher jaunt occasionally is okay.
Can you put non-stick cookware in the dishwasher?
No…but it’s debatable.
Many brands who make non-stick cookware (Calphalon, Anolon, Circulon, Tefal) state that their products (not all) are dishwasher safe. However, it’s not advisable because the harsh process and dishwasher detergents can wear away at the non-stick coating over time.
What they really mean is that “the dishwasher won’t make your cookware unsafe or unusable…so go ahead”. When really, regular dishwasher use can cause some non-stick coatings to peel, wear and become far less non-stick.
The cool thing is that non-stick cookware tends to be super easy to clean without more than a quick rinse or subtle nudge with a cloth. By keeping your non-stick cookware out of the dishwasher and subjected only to a gentle wipe, you’re preserving the non-stick feature for far longer.
In short? Hand-wash your non-stick cookware to lengthen the lifespan. The more carefully you treat it, the longer it will remain non-stick, and the easier it is to hand wash.
When you can, try to hand-wash your pots and pans, regardless of what the manual tells you. This will help to preserve every part of the cookware, keeping the appearance and functionality at top level.
Always read the manual to figure out what the manufacturer recommends, but even then…opt for manual washing. When it comes to copper, keep that tawny cookware well away from the dishwasher. But with stainless steel, non-stick and hard-anodized, try your best to hand wash, but a dishwasher bout once in a while is acceptable.