It’s not the most exciting exercise to wash pots and pans by hand, because of that, when we have dishwashers at home, it’s only logical to see if we can use the appliance to take away the burden.
So are pots and pans dishwasher safe?
Pots and pans are safe to put inside the dishwasher unless the manufacturer says otherwise. Prior to dishwashing, remove any stubborn food residue on the pots and pans by filling them with hot water to soak for 10 to 15 minutes, then scrub with nylon pads or soft brushes and rinse with lukewarm water.
This technique ensures that stains are lifted easily and efficient cleaning is achieved in the dishwasher.
There is an important reason why manufacturers recommend hand washing over dishwashing even though the latter is often clearly pointed out as an option in cleaning instruction cards or manuals that come with pans and pots.
Below we discuss the reason, how to wash pots and pans by hand, when and how to clean them in the dishwasher, and what other items you can put in the dishwasher to relieve the painful stress of hand cleaning.
The Primary Reason Why Some Manufacturers Don’t Want You To Clean In The Dishwasher
It’s very common to read the “cleaning and care” instruction of your pots and pans and see the “dishwasher safe” tagline slapped somewhere on the page, but right next to it would be a message that reads “ but hand washing is recommended”.
It’s not for fun that manufacturers are opting to communicate this way, there’s actually a reason behind it which has everything to do with the main part of a dishwasher: the “automatic dishwasher detergents”.
These are the culprits, and of all the detergents you currently use at home, these are amongst the strongest and harshest, containing harsh compounds like chlorine bleach and also high pH that can strip the skin of oils, cause it to go dry and even develop wrinkles.
You would always expect dishwasher detergents to be formulated like that since very little scrubbing is taking place inside the appliance to rid off stains on plates and mugs.
Aside the powerful jet of hot water hitting the surface of plates, something else has to pack some brutal cleaning power to initiate efficient cleaning, and in this case, it’s the automatic dishwasher detergent.
Because of the brute force and aggressive composition, some cookwares like those having hard anodised exteriors or enamel finish can degrade very quickly in their overall appearance with continued dishwashing.
If you notice dulling of the pots and pans, darkening of the rivets and outer ring of the base, or a powdery white deposit after dishwashing for some time, it might be time to change to a much gentler dishwasher detergent, or revert back to hand washing.
Never ever use regular hand washing detergent as a substitute for dishwasher detergent. The machine won’t be able to handle it.
That aside, some pots and pans simply have elements that don’t fare well inside the torrid perimeters of the dishwasher, and among them include stockpots (especially those from Le creuset) which can trap water inside the vessel and lead to rusting, cast iron pots and pans that can de-season and rust, glazing of ceramic cookwares that can begin to fade, or cookwares having wooden or plastic handles.
How To Clean Pots And Pans By Hand
Many different cookware brands exist out there each with specific instructions on how to clean them.
Some are made from cast iron, some stainless steel and others are coated with enamel to serve a specific purpose, as such there would always be variations in the techniques and products used in cleaning each type of pot and pan.
It’s always wise to consult the owner’s manual of your product for specific instructions on how to properly clean the pots and pans.
There, you’ll also see how to properly maintain the cookware so they preserve aesthetics and last longer.
If you can’t find yours, look up the information on the manufacturers website, or other blogs. If still yet, no progress, then you can always revert back to the basics of cleaning pots which are outlined below.
- Always make sure pans and pots are cooled first before proceeding to clean them. Allow pots and pans to cool on the counter on their own for 10 to 15 minutes or more, with tap water poured into them to the brim, and avoid plunging them in cold water which may affect their coating or cause thermal shock.
- Use a soft brush to gently loosen stubborn food particles on the pots and pans after they’ve cooled.
- Wash pots and pans with a gentle dish cleaner and a soft sponge only. Use warm water. You can employ soft abrasive pads or nylon brushes for stubborn set-in food residues. If you’re dealing with a non-stick surface, stick with a non-stick sponge or cleaning pad only!
- Rinse thoroughly and allow to dry properly. Avoid storing damp cookwares especially in closed cupboards.
- Store pots and pans in a dry airy place away from heat or steam.
- For hard water stains or marks from metallic tools, a cleaner, preferably provided by the manufacturer should be used.
The Safest Way To Incorporate Dishwashing As Part Of Your Cookware Cleaning Regimen
When it comes to dishwashing pots and pans, the owner’s manual of your items should dictate whether you CAN or CANNOT do it.
As far as ”how often” goes, it seems the logical answer is very infrequently.
Make it a habit to resort to dishwashing only when you’re exhausted or have lots of pots and pans to go through which would be difficult using normal elbow grease.
If you ever adopt dishwashing as a primary cleaning option for your pots and pans, make sure the overall aesthetics of your cookware isn’t of uttermost importance to you, as that is often the biggest disadvantage you’ll face from constantly dishwashing cookware.
Here’s how to wash pots and pans in the dishwasher.
- Soak pots and pans in hot water to loosen food residues, then remove the residues using soft brushes or nylon pads.
- Put at the bottom rack of the dishwasher.
- Clean using a normal cycle and dry cycle. Make sure to use only dishwasher detergents as any other form of detergent will not be as efficient and can cause too many suds which will cause water to overflow.
- If you’re dealing with a non-stick pan or pot, you might notice white residue deposits with continued washing. Use a gentle detergent and nylon pad to scrub it off. You might also find the need to re-condition the surface of the pan much more often in order to prevent cooked articles from sticking to the surface of the pan and to also minimize the use of oil.
What Other Items Can You Clean In The Dishwasher?
Your pots and pans aren’t the only items that can go inside a dishwasher. You can also put the following items.
- Air fryer baskets together with the outer baskets and other steel based air fryer accessories.
- Baby bottles.
- Yeti drinkware including their lids and inner lids.
- Fridge shelves having no electronic components in them.
- Sponge (to disinfect it).
- Bleach (to disinfect the machine).
- Cast iron pan
- Baking soda and Vinegar (to eliminate smell from the dishwasher)
You don’t always have to use elbow grease to clean cookware as the dishwasher is there to relieve you of the efforts.
Put pots and pans in the bottom rack of the dishwasher when the manufacturer says so and run a normal cycle with a dry cycle.
For heavily stained or soiled pot, pour hot water inside to loosen up the residue and use a nylon pad to remove them, then put in the dishwasher for proper cleaning and sanitization. Avoid using harsh detergent or abrasives against the surface of pans and pots.
If you’re dealing with metallic marks or stains, use a cleaner specially formulated for the pan or pot to return it back to it’s glorious state!