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Wooden utensils in the dishwasher?

I never put my wooden utensils in the dishwasher because I thought they would get water logged and worn looking. But my parents put them in all the time as does a good friend of mine. What are your thoughts?

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  1. I've always put my wooden spoons in, they have lasted years.

    1. mine look pretty ugly anyway...

      1. jfood purchased his wooden spurtles (GG variety) in ther mid 70's. Still going strong.

        1. Utility pot-stirring spoons, yes. Fancy polished salad tongs, no.

          1. According to Martha Stewart, wooden utensils should not go into the dish washer. They'll crack and otherwise be ruined.

            That said, it seems like there is a strong case against it so far. I'll be interested because the MS rule applies at our house.


            1. Never in the dishwasher. Leads to chipping/splitting/splintering. There was a very good steakhouse around here that used those steak knives that looked like they cooked be used for hunting--you know the big, fat, heavily serrated blade with wooden handle. They of course put them in the dishwasher and those things ended up looking so mangled, worn and splintered that when we pointed it out to the owner he promptly got rid of them for a better option. 20+ years with the same handwashed wooden spoons for me--nary an illness from them.

              1. My wooden spoons are actually bamboo, but they go into the dishwasher every time with no problems. One has a big notch smack in the middle like a kid missing a front tooth, but it wasn't from the dw. The pot of risotto doesn't care.

                1. The spoons can absorb the dishwaser soap, and it may or may not rinse completely out in the rinse cycle. So, aside from longevity, contamination issues dictate that you shouldn't put porous, wooden things through a dishwasher cycle.

                  That said, if you keep your spoons oiled like you should (like you keep your countertops or cutting boards oiled), it's a lot less likely you'll wind up with caustic soap residue impregnated into your spoons.

                  Personally, I put mine through the dishwasher. And I have a small cutting board that goes through the dishwasher on occasion too. However, I have butcher block countertops, and the spoons get oiled every time I re-oil the countertops.

                  1. there is a fire hazard if you use heat dry. the item could become dislodged and come to rest against the heating element.

                    2 Replies
                    1. re: ScubaSteve

                      We once arrived home to the smell of a burning wooden spoon in the dishwasher my mom left running by mistake. I will only put wooden objects on top rack now and of course don't run the dishwasher when away.

                      1. re: ScubaSteve

                        happened to me once - the dishwasher smelled of smoke for months.

                      2. I used to with the flimsy pine wooden spoons, but in the last 20 years, have collected about 30-35 antique wooden spoons and don't want to ruin them, so they get handwashed.

                        1. I grew up with the practice of having 2 wooden spoons. One for sweet and one for savory. Cheap to begin, the savory one in particular changed shape and color over time becoming less porous and fitting to my hand and cookware. Have had the same ones for 20 years and do use the dishwasher, although I pre-rinse and use a light setting.

                          1. Mine have never been in the dishwasher, unless by accident by some helpful soul. Most are over 20 years old, including those GG spurtles that work really well. I once saw a TV show where they analyzed bacteria on both hand washed and oiled spoons and dishwasher cleaned, and the dishwasher ones had much more bacteria on them. Maybe the gentle handling allows the pores to remain closed? I don't know, but I love the feel and look of those old, well loved utensils.

                            1. Both the manufacturers of dishwashers and wooden utensils say and emphatic NO! to this practice.

                              The very high temperatures and long wash times and detergents in an electric dishwasher will dry, crack, disintegrate, split, chip,and warp the wood over time.

                              I put mine in the dishwasher simply because I'm lazy and don't want to wash them by hand. When they get ruined I just buy new ones, and burn the old ones in the fireplace. But no, you shouldn't put them in the machine. I can't believe your parents don't know this.

                              16 Replies
                              1. re: BlogZilla

                                Sorry, but my everyday wooden spoons have gone in the dishwasher regularly for, oh, about 20 years now and still work fine.

                                  1. re: BobB

                                    @BobB, they might work fine, but how do they look?

                                    1. re: BlogZilla

                                      My wooden spoon has been through the dishwasher pretty much every three days since 2007 (when I got a dishwasher). It looks like this:

                                      1. re: small h

                                        I have a whole crock full of spoons that look just like that -- and I've never been without a dishwasher my entire adult life. Some of my spoons date back to the late 1980s/early 90s.

                                        1. re: sunshine842

                                          I believe it. My wooden spoon is quite a bit older than my dishwasher. I don't know exactly how old - I think I may have stolen it from my parents when I moved into my first post-college apartment, along with a box of paprika (used up), a cheese slicer (busted), and a bottle of coriander (still around! but doesn't taste much like coriander anymore).

                                          1. re: small h

                                            and not a single complaint about tasting like dishwasher.

                                            1. re: sunshine842

                                              I've never eaten dishwasher, so I don't know what it tastes like.

                                              1. re: small h

                                                just a lot of people gasping that OMG they must taste of dishwasher detergent...

                                                1. re: sunshine842

                                                  Yeah...no. The cool thing about my dishwasher is that it washes the dishes. It doesn't just throw soap at them and run away.

                                                  1. re: small h


                                                    *other* people (not you or me) gasping about the off taste.

                                                    1. re: sunshine842

                                                      Maybe our magic houses also cover appliances and utensils.

                                      2. re: BlogZilla

                                        Just like the photo small h posted.

                                    2. re: BlogZilla

                                      You are correct, "Both the manufacturers of dishwashers and wooden utensils say and emphatic NO! to this practice." and if one either cares about their appliance or their wooden utensils they follow the manufacturers instructions.

                                      For those that don't particularly care one way or the other about either of these, then by all means, follow your instinct to put everything in the dishwasher, you're obviously feeling lucky.

                                      1. re: mikie

                                        The warnings the the manufacturers put out are basically CYA, the-lawyers-made-me-do-it type warnings.

                                        Bottom line: those of you who don't do it are taking it on faith that it would destroy them. Those of us who DO do it have demonstrated empirically that after decades of dishwasher cycles, the spoons are perfectly fine.

                                        Science over religion, any day of the week.

                                        1. re: BobB

                                          Every warning is CYA, stop signs are CYA when you get right down to it.

                                          I don't doubt that you can put just about anything you want in a dishwasher, I jsut think that some items are best left out. I don't put my wood cutting boards in the dish washer, I know the reasoning behind this caution, the glue is nither that water or heat resistant to withstand repeated cycles without a negative outcome. I would think the issue dishwasher manufacturers have is if you put a wooden utensil in the dishwasher and it becomes dislodged it could either touch the heating element and catch fire at worst, char at best, or it might dislodge and damage one of the swrilling arms. The spoon manufacturers are simply not willing to take the gamble that you will be pleased with the result. Yes, they are CYA. None of which changes the fact that they do post these warnings.

                                          I've worked with wood as a hobby for 50 years and had college classes in wood technology, just based on what I know about wood, water, chemicals, and heat, I'm not sticking it in the dishwasher unless I'm willing to go out and buy another. We have quite a few olive wood utensils and they are pricy enough for me to wash by hand. The stuff from the $ store, I don't really care.

                                    3. NO I don't even put in silicone spatulas with wooden handles.

                                      I know my kitchen tools are tools. I don't mind them showing their use. But I also like them to be pleasant to use and to look at within that framework and it takes a minute to wash these things. I also only want them to have the flavor of food.

                                      1. I am the only person on the planet who doesn't use wooden spoons.

                                        That said, I have a few rubber spatulas and some steak knives with wooden handles, and those do not go in the dishwasher.

                                        Plastic lids also get hand-washed.

                                        1. Nothing made from wood, including bamboo should go in a dishwasher due to the absorption of dissolved fluids during the cycles.