Dishwashers have made our lives so much easier and save us not only time but money. But there are many questions when it comes to what exactly we can put in the dishwasher. This is where that dishwasher safe symbol comes into play.
But just what is the symbol for dishwasher safe? There are a couple of common symbols. In this article, we will look at those. And we’ll look at some other questions people have when it comes to what exactly dishwasher safe means.
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Dishwasher Safe – What Does It Mean?
Let’s start with the symbols themselves. Within the manufacturing world, no set symbol is required to be placed on any type of kitchenware item. On top of that, every company that manufactures kitchenware will have its own standards and processes to decide whether a specific product is dishwasher safe.
This will depend on their methods as well as the materials used in the construction of the product. That being said, there are some features that you can look for when it comes to dishwasher safety seals.
The two most common dishwasher safety signs are “dishwasher safe, top rack only” and “dishwasher safe”. When it comes to the top rack only, the dirty dishes with this symbol can be placed in the dishwasher as long as they are on the top rack.
This is because they are as far as they can be from the heating element. This means they are more delicate items and need to be washed with cooler water than the dishes below.
When the household item is dishwasher safe, typically this means that the manufacturer has used some type of treatment process. This will allow the item to withstand extremely hot water and harsh soaps for an extended time during the dishwasher cycle.
This technique will vary depending on the manufacturer as well as the material, but the end goal is to ensure that the heat of the dishwasher doesn’t damage the products.
What Does The Dishwasher Safe Symbols Look Like? And How Do They Do It?
As we said, there is no definitive symbol that is universally accepted as meaning dishwasher safe. This may be because the treatment of things like plastic items, glass products, or other kitchenware items may require different levels of care during wash time. But three symbols tend to appear on a majority of kitchenware items.
The first is a dishwasher rack with dishes inside it that has water spraying on them. You may also find another symbol that is a wine glass that has water drops all over it. And then the third most common symbol is a single dish housed within a dishwasher rack with water drops falling toward it.
But how do they make these household items dishwasher safe? It really depends on the core material used in the construction of the product. For instance, if you’re looking at something labeled dishwasher safe glass, it is most likely tempered.
This is a process that helps toughen glass. Anything that is used in a kitchen typically has this process done when it’s made of glass and is heat-strengthened as opposed to tempered. Often this doubles the resilience of the standard glass, making it able to withstand the higher temperatures present during dishwasher wash cycles.
There are also, especially in kitchenware, dishwasher-safe ceramics. These are sent through a process that is very much like the one done to glass. Once the material is cooled, a glaze is placed over the top of the ceramics, which helps strengthen them.
Though many ceramics can be placed in a dishwasher, you need to ensure that they have the dishwasher safe symbol. The only other way you can ensure that your ceramic dishes are dishwasher safe is to do your research or even contact the manufacturer.
The last major category when it comes to dishwasher-safe products is plastic containers. There are many types of plastic. And this has a direct effect on whether the product will be dishwasher safe or not. For those plastic food containers that are crafted with materials that melt at high temperatures, it is not suggested to put them in the dishwasher.
If you find yourself asking if this container is safe to place in my dishwasher, the first thing you need to do is look for the icon. Even if you find it, it may be best to stick with placing these types of kitchenware on the top rack. This will make sure it is as far away from the heating element as possible.
Dishwasher Tips: Don’t Put These Things In Them
Because of the inconsistent use of dishwasher-safe icons, you may find yourself questioning what exactly you can put in your dishwasher. So here are a few dishwasher tips when it comes to what should never be placed in the dishwasher.
There are multiple reasons why putting sharp knives in the dishwasher can be dangerous. The first, of course, is your own safety, as you may accidentally reach in and poke yourself well. Another is that the knife’s sharpness can be dulled depending on which dishwasher programs you choose. This is due to the high-powered water pressure.
Kitchenware with burnt-on stains
No matter what, burnt-on stains can be challenging to get rid of. If you think that because of the water pressure and your dishwasher’s capability that it will be able to do a better job, then you might be surprised. Frequently, these stains will actually get pushed further into your kitchenware. It might just be easier to find yourself a good detergent and do it the old-fashioned way.
This, of course, depends on the gold-colored dishes and how they were treated. But for the most part, the high-pressure water that is pushed out can take away some of the luster of the gold color.
Graters are designed with multiple little holes in them. Because of this, putting them in a dishwasher may leave them with little bits of cheese stuck in them. No matter if you have a quality dishwasher or not, it’s just easier and more effective if you use your hands to clean any type of grater.
Cast iron anything
Cast iron pots and pans are designed to be rust-resistant. However, because of the harshness of dishwasher detergent, if you place a cast-iron anything with the rest of a load of dishes, you may find that the chemical compounds change. This could lead to the pots or pans rusting, so it’s just better to wash these by hand as well.
If you’re looking for your copper cookware to last a while, you want to refrain from putting it in the dishwasher. This is because the copper is treated with a special coating to help expand its life span. The coating used could potentially be damaged by the heavy wash cycles of the dishwasher very easily.
Wooden cutting boards and utensils
Typically, any type of wooden kitchenware is coated to ensure longevity. Much like with the copper cookware, any wooden cutting boards and utensils will find that coating damaged when placed in a dishwasher. This could potentially lead to the rotting of the wood.
It’s always nice to have hand-painted ceramics for special occasions. However, the paint used in this process is liquid. And because of the high-pressure water that is shot from the dishwasher arms, it could potentially melt away the paint. That’s why most of these types of kitchenware products suggest hand wash only.
That being said, when you do find kitchenware items that you can place in the dishwasher, you want to follow a few steps. The first thing is to make sure you look at minimum temperatures. Some products will have placed on their labels. This is particularly important when it comes to plastic products.
Also, to ensure that your dirty dishes can get as clean as possible, you want to make sure you leave some space between dishes. This will ensure that the water can use its full force to get rid of any crusted-on food. On top of that, if you’re dealing with glass, you may want to check and look for the bottle’s symbol to ensure it is dishwasher safe.
What Do Dishwasher Safe Symbols Look Like?
There is no definitive dishwasher safe icon that is universal. But you may find one of three symbols present more often than not. One will be a dishwasher during a cycle with two dishes in a dishwasher rack. The other is a wine glass with water drops all over it. And the third is a single dish that is sitting in a rack with water drops falling toward it.
How Can You Tell If An Item Is Dishwasher Safe?
The only way to know for sure is to check for a dishwasher-safe symbol. If one is not present, you can always do some research online or contact the producer of the kitchenware item.
What Does The Dishwasher Safe Symbol Mean?
Dishwasher safe means that the product has been put through processes that allow it to stand up to the high temperatures present during the dishwasher cycle.
How To Tell If Your Pots and Pans Are Dishwasher Safe
Depending on the material used in the construction of your pots and pans, it should be pretty easy to tell if the dishwasher is safe. For instance, if you use Teflon, non-stick, copper, or even cast iron, all of these materials are better suited to hand washing than being put through dishwasher cycles. Like with any other kitchenware item, you can always check the boxes or do a little digging around online to find if it’s safe to place them in the dishwasher.
Understanding what you can and can’t put into a dishwasher will help your kitchenware items last longer, as well as ensure you are getting the cleanest dishes possible.
Founder of homeappliancegeek.com, avid cook, and lover of Asian food.
Signature dishes include Thai Red Curry, Chicken Saag, Bibimbap and Sushi.
Massive clean freak; a habit baked-in after spending 9 years in the catering industry.
The one appliance he couldn’t live without? Easily the dishwasher (total relationship saver!).