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Jun 12, 2011 05:49 PM

Calphalon Non-stick cookware pans are NOT dishwasher safe - WHY?

I know not to put my Calphalon non-stick pots and pans in the dishwasher, but does anyone have a reason WHY?

Is it because of the temperature of the water?

The harshness of the soap?

Something to do with the handles?

It says it can tolerate heat up to 700 degrees. Why cant they go in the dishwasher??

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  1. There is an ingredient in most dishwasher detergents--a protein or phosphorus, I don't remember which--that reacts negatively with the non-stick surface.

    1. I'm not sure but, I had one Calphalon pan that I bought at a scratch and dent sale years ago (10 maybe?) Since it was so inexpensive and, slightly dented, I decided to throw caution to the wind and, put it in the dishwasher. Over the years the non-stick surface didn't appear to suffer at all from doing so however the exterior (paint?) did wear off over time making the pan a bit unsightly.

      That said, I still wash my other 2 Calphalon pans by hand . . . and it takes no time once we get around to it!

      1. I am a product developer for a major retailer in Canada and I work on cookware. The reason why you can't put Calphalon Hard Anodized cookware in the dishwasher is that it will discolour the grey exterior. It will change colour and the finish will be uneven. You can't save it or try to refinish it once it has been through the dishwasher.

        There have been a number of threads about this in the past with people regretting their mistake or a house guest's mistake. When ever we have house guests over I always check to make sure my kitchen and steak knives and hard anodized skillet is not in the dishwasher.

        2 Replies
        1. re: Kooper

          The OP is asking WHY it can't go in the dishwasher, not what happens to it when it does. The DW is just a cabinet with water, heat, agitation, and soap. What makes it more harmful than washing it in the sink, where there is also water, heat, agitation, and soap?

          1. re: E_M

            The soap is different. The automatic dishwasher detergent is more caustic, abrasive, whatever. I can't say I know in precise detail the ingredients or whether the formulation change last year makes it less of a problem or such things.

            Hey, it's a non-stick pan. Really easy to wash by hand. ;-)

            And actually, for a nonstick it's generally the exterior that's the problem, which makes it more of a cosmetic issue. I have some thin aluminum nonstick T-Fal from years ago that I've put in the dishwasher. The outside finish (black in this case) is no longer shiny, but the dishwasher has not affected the nonstick surface.

            For something like a polished stainless it's the same problem. You run that through the dishwasher for a while and the finish will no longer be that polished. But it won't really hurt it.

            Still, with the pans I care about I err on the side of caution and hand wash. The T-Fal is just sort of extra, one piece is a big pot we'll use for boiling pasta or such, and the others are small saucepans that are useful occasionally for heating something up real quick. At this point it's almost an experiment as to how long the nonstick will last. I am impressed with the durability of this more than the Calphalon pans.

        2. The non stick surface is not affected. The exterior will breakdown when exposed to the caustic soda in the dishwashing detergent. The exterior surface of the pot or pan will become chalky and will rub off on kitchen towels and your clothes, anything it comes in contact with. I'm going to try using mineral oil or bacon grease to see if it helps. I accidently left some bacon grease on the chalky surface and it actually restored the appearance to some degree. Hope this helps.

          1. As a futurist, this is such an irritation. How can we not simply design a dishwasher/cookware system whereby one needs no special attention to a myriad of design failures? I would not mind it if the exterior surface was Pepto Bismol pink so long as you could actually use the cookware and throw it in the dishwasher. Before you begin to think I am lazy, how many equivalent technologies in life do we accept such design limitations? It is not as though we still hand crank our engine to start an automobile. Would you say one was lazy if they demanded an automatic ignition on an automobile?

            3 Replies
            1. re: dothisfirst

              Stainless steel is usually OK in the dishwasher. Any aluminum pan will be etched by the caustic detergents, it's simple chemistry.

              1. re: dothisfirst

                I'm going to blame the appliance manufactures for adding a pot and pan cycle to the "Dishwasher" for this dilemma.

                As with most things in life, an automatic dishwasher is a series of tradeoffs. In other words, the dishwasher "system" washer box, racks, water distribution system, and detergent are designed to clean the most possible combinations of foodstuffs. Some, and I'll guess you may be one, place very dirty dishes in the dishwasher, and that's fine, that's what it's for, right. But, it takes a powerful detergent to dissolve dried on food, such as egg yokes and catsup. The reason SOME cookware can't be put in the Dishwasher is because of its construction and how certain components react with the powerful detergent needed to clean the dishes. You can still put that cookware in the dishwasher and if you don't care what it looks like or how it affects the longevity of your cookware, then there are no issues. It's as simple as that. Or you can get cookware that is dishwasher detergent resistant or "dishwasher safe".

                The automatic dishwasher is very much like the electric starter on your automobile. You don't have to go to the river and beat your cloths between two rocks anymore, but you still have to put them in the washing machine, and not all cloths are machine washable, just like not all cookware is dishwasher detergent safe.

                1. re: dothisfirst

                  planned obsolescence? expense in designing/manufacturing products that work AND last - as opposed to cheaper, disposable crap manufactured overseas?