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Oct 18, 2010 09:04 AM

Putting pots and pans in the dishwasher- why not?

I don't understand why people get so up in arms about putting pots and pans in the dishwasher. I wouldn't put anything coated in a non-stick coating in the dishwasher, as it could possibly wear the coating down a little quicker. Or anything wooden, as there is the possibility it could warp, but why are people so freaked out about putting their knives and pots/pans in the dishwasher?

Please help me understand, am I missing something?

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  1. Usually, it's because of the handles if they are plastic. I'm with you tho, if it's not nonstick, wood, or (dishwasher safe) plastic, I don't have any issue putting it in.

    1. Don't know if this is true, but I was under the impression that putting knives in the dishwasher dulls the blade more quickly.

      1. I don't put knives in the washer because I don't want to damage the blades or my hands. I generally don't put pots/pans in because they don't fit well and my dishwasher doesn't do a good job with cooked on food. Plus, the pots on the bottom rack interfere with the sprayer so the glasses on the top rack don't get as clean. I also kind of like washing pots and pans - I like to see the shiny metal emerge from beneath a layer of gunk :)

        7 Replies
        1. re: mpjmph

          These are all good points. The pots and pans you shouldn't put in the dishwasher are the anodized aluminum (or dark exterior) pots and pans. They are electro-hardened and the dishwasher will leach out this property and damage your pans.

          1. re: igorm

            Regular aluminum can also react with the (usually) very alkaline dishwasher detergents, but for my cheap aluminum pots I don't care much. Cast iron obviously can react in the washer. I have no problems putting stainless or enameled pots and pans in the dishwasher.

            My dishwasher has a center and top sprayer so blocking the water flow isn't an issue.

            1. re: kmcarr

              Kmcarr and others, with enameled cast iron, aren't the rims often bare cast iron? I often wondered about that (don't have enameled CI myself but hoping to try one soon) -- why do they leave the rims bare and doesn't that lead to rust, esp in the DW?

              1. re: iyc_nyc

                Usually the rim is black matte enamel, not bare cast iron.

                1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                  Ahh. Someone at WS insisted it was bare cast iron! (LC and Staub)

                  1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                    CK: No, you may have some with black enamel rims, but quite a few of mine are bare naked ladies. My sink and counter have the rusty ring stains to prove it. The Chinese DOs I saw this past weekend at World Market ($49--a GREAT deal) definitely were bare-rimmed.

                    iyc: I think the reason is abrasion and fracture resistance. If all the mating surfaces (especially the narrow ones) of lids and rims were enameled, you would have some chipping over time. Now, chipping on BOTTOM rims is OK, because the chips aren't going into your food. Chips going into the food are not good. Only recently did LC change their enamel formula to eliminate cadmium; I'm not so sure every other manufacturer is a scrupulous.

            2. re: mpjmph

              I'm so with you on that. I love to handwash my pans and skillets. Dishes, glassware and flatware - nah, not the same satisfaction. Anyone can wash those, however - no one washes my cookware.

              Lame, so lame, I know!

            3. Dunno. I put everything that fits
              (except my knives, and cast iron) in the dishwasher, and none of it has ever seemed any the worse for wear. And my wok. It doesn't fit, but even it it did I'd clean it by hand.

              1. No way I'd ever put my knives in the dishwasher -- they knock against everything else in the dishwasher during the cycle and it wrecks the edges.

                I put everything that fits (see below for exceptions) in the dishwasher -- nonstick, stainless, glass baking pans...the whole works.

                Everything comes out fine with no damage from the heat (I never, ever run the dry cycle -- I just open the door a crack and let the hot water evaporate on its own -- take all of about 10 minutes).

                Crystal and sterling are the only other things I never put in the dishwasher.