Can I Put Cast Iron In Dishwasher

In the realm of culinary craftsmanship, cast iron cookware has etched its name as a timeless favorite. Its durability, even heat distribution, and the ability to impart a unique flavor to dishes have made it a staple in kitchens around the world. But, like any treasured possession, it deserves the utmost care and attention. One common question that arises among cast iron enthusiasts is, “Can I put cast iron in the dishwasher?” In this comprehensive guide, we will delve into the intricacies of cast iron care and debunk the myths surrounding its dishwasher compatibility.

The Cast Iron Conundrum

Myth vs. Reality

Before we dive into the nitty-gritty of dishwasher use, let’s debunk a prevalent myth: cast iron and dishwashers are incompatible. This notion has left many wondering whether they should risk their cherished cast iron skillets in the unforgiving confines of a dishwasher. The truth is, with proper precautions, cast iron can coexist with dishwashers.

Cast Iron Basics

To understand why cast iron and dishwashers have been at odds in the past, we must first grasp the fundamentals of cast iron maintenance. Cast iron cookware should be seasoned regularly, which involves applying a thin layer of oil and heating it until it polymerizes into a protective layer. This seasoning not only prevents rust but also provides that coveted non-stick surface.

Dishwasher Dos and Don’ts

The Dos

  1. Pre-rinse: After cooking, it’s advisable to give your cast iron a gentle pre-rinse with warm water. Use a soft brush or cloth to remove any food remnants.
  2. Mild Detergent: Contrary to popular belief, a mild detergent can be used occasionally. Ensure it’s free from harsh chemicals and fragrances.
  3. Low Heat: If you choose to use the dishwasher, opt for a gentle cycle with minimal heat to avoid damaging the seasoning.

The Don’ts

  1. Harsh Scrubbing: Avoid abrasive scrubbers or steel wool, as they can strip away the seasoning.
  2. Soaking: Never leave cast iron to soak in water, as this can lead to rust.
  3. High Heat: Steer clear of high-temperature dishwasher cycles, as they can harm the seasoning and cause warping.

A Balancing Act

Hand Wash vs. Dishwasher

The debate over hand-washing versus using a dishwasher for cast iron cookware often comes down to personal preference. While some purists insist on hand-washing to maintain the seasoning’s integrity, others opt for the convenience of a dishwasher. Here’s the secret to finding the right balance: occasional dishwasher use is acceptable if you follow the dos and don’ts mentioned earlier.

Restoring Cast Iron Glory

Rescuing Rusty Cast Iron

If you ever encounter rust on your cast iron, don’t despair. Rust can be remedied with some elbow grease. Simply scrub the affected area with a gentle abrasive and re-season the cookware to restore its former glory.


In the grand debate of whether you can put cast iron in the dishwasher, the verdict is clear. With proper care and adherence to a few simple guidelines, cast iron cookware can indeed coexist with dishwashers. While hand-washing remains the gold standard for purists, the convenience of a dishwasher is not entirely off-limits. Just remember the cardinal rules: pre-rinse, use a mild detergent sparingly, and avoid harsh heat and scrubbing.

Your cast iron treasures deserve the utmost care, and with these insights, you can enjoy the best of both worlds. So, go ahead and savor those delectable meals prepared in your trusty cast iron cookware, knowing that you can keep them pristine without sacrificing your precious time.

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