Can Fine China Be Washed in the Dishwasher

Fine china is often cherished for its delicate beauty and timeless elegance. Whether it’s a family heirloom or a set of expensive dinnerware, taking care of your fine china is of utmost importance. One common question that arises is whether fine china can be safely washed in the dishwasher. In this article, we’ll explore this topic thoroughly, discussing the do’s and don’ts of cleaning fine china, and providing you with valuable insights to keep your cherished tableware in pristine condition.

The Beauty of Fine China

Fine china, also known as porcelain or bone china, is renowned for its exquisite craftsmanship and artistic designs. Its translucent appearance and delicate patterns make it a favorite choice for special occasions and formal dining. However, this fragility also raises concerns about its care and maintenance.

Understanding Fine China

Before diving into the dishwasher debate, it’s essential to understand what fine china is made of. Fine china is primarily composed of clay and minerals, fired at high temperatures to achieve its unique characteristics. The addition of bone ash gives it extra strength and translucency, setting it apart from regular ceramics.

The Dishwasher Dilemma

The Pros

  1. Convenience: Using a dishwasher is undoubtedly convenient, saving you time and effort compared to handwashing each piece individually.
  2. Water Temperature: Dishwashers typically use high water temperatures, which can effectively remove stains and kill bacteria.
  3. Consistency: Dishwashers provide consistent and thorough cleaning for all your tableware.

The Cons

  1. High Temperatures: While high water temperatures can be advantageous, they can also be detrimental to fine china. Extreme heat can cause delicate patterns to fade or even lead to cracking and chipping.
  2. Abrasive Detergents: Some dishwasher detergents contain harsh chemicals that may damage the glaze and finish of fine china.
  3. Physical Stress: The turbulence inside a dishwasher can subject your fine china to physical stress, leading to breakage.

The Safe Approach

To maintain the beauty and longevity of your fine china, it’s best to err on the side of caution. Here are some guidelines to follow:


Handwashing is the safest method for cleaning fine china:

  • Use warm water and a mild, non-abrasive dish soap.
  • Gently wash each piece with a soft sponge or cloth.
  • Rinse thoroughly to remove all soap residue.
  • Dry with a soft, lint-free towel to prevent water spots.

Occasional Dishwasher Use

If you must use the dishwasher occasionally, follow these precautions:

  • Use the delicate cycle with cool water.
  • Place fine china pieces at a distance from each other to avoid collisions.
  • Use a dishwasher detergent specifically designed for fine china.


Proper storage is as crucial as cleaning:

  • Store fine china in a cabinet with padded shelves or a felt-lined drawer.
  • Separate each piece with soft cloth or paper to prevent scratching.
  • Avoid stacking heavy items on top.


In the debate of whether fine china can be washed in the dishwasher, the answer is yes, but with caution. While the convenience of a dishwasher is tempting, the fragility of fine china necessitates special care. Handwashing remains the best method for preserving its beauty and integrity.

Remember, each piece of fine china carries a piece of history and sentimentality. By following the right cleaning and storage practices, you can ensure that your fine china continues to shine for generations to come.


  1. Can I use regular dishwasher detergent for fine china?
    • It’s best to use a dishwasher detergent designed specifically for fine china to avoid potential damage.
  2. How often should I handwash my fine china?
    • Handwashing after each use is ideal, but if you choose to use the dishwasher, limit it to occasional cleaning.
  3. Is it safe to use the dishwasher’s heated dry cycle?
    • We recommend avoiding the heated dry cycle to prevent exposing your fine china to excessive heat.
  4. Can I put gold-trimmed fine china in the dishwasher?
    • Gold trim is particularly delicate and may be damaged in the dishwasher. Handwashing is safer for such pieces.
  5. What should I do if my fine china develops cracks or chips?
    • If you notice any damage, discontinue dishwasher use immediately and consult a professional for repairs.
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