Can Plastic Cups Go In The Dishwasher

In today’s fast-paced world, convenience is king. This extends to our kitchenware choices, where plastic cups have become a popular choice for their durability and affordability. But the burning question remains: can plastic cups go in the dishwasher without causing any damage or health concerns? In this article, we will delve into this topic, exploring the do’s and don’ts of cleaning plastic cups in a dishwasher, ensuring you can make informed decisions about your kitchenware maintenance.

Understanding Plastic Types

Before we get into the dishwasher debate, let’s first understand the different types of plastics used to manufacture cups.

Polypropylene (PP)

Polypropylene is a common plastic used in making sturdy, heat-resistant cups. These cups are often marked with the number “5” inside a recycling symbol, indicating their suitability for dishwasher use.

Polyethylene (PE)

Polyethylene cups, marked with the number “1” inside a recycling symbol, are generally safe for the dishwasher. However, they may become brittle over time with frequent dishwasher use.

The Dishwasher Debate

Now that we know about plastic types, let’s dive into the debate about whether plastic cups can safely go into the dishwasher.

Pro-Dishwasher Argument

  1. Time-Saving: Using the dishwasher is undoubtedly convenient and time-saving, especially when you have a pile of dishes to tackle.
  2. Heat Resistance: Many plastic cups, particularly those made from polypropylene, can withstand the dishwasher’s heat and high-pressure jets.
  3. Hygiene: Dishwashers typically reach higher temperatures, which can help kill germs and bacteria.

Anti-Dishwasher Argument

  1. Potential for Warping: Some plastic cups may warp or deform in the dishwasher due to the high heat.
  2. Chemical Concerns: Dishwashing detergents may contain chemicals that can deteriorate certain plastic types over time.
  3. Longevity: Frequent dishwasher use may reduce the lifespan of your plastic cups.

Tips for Dishwasher-Safe Plastic Cup Care

If you’re inclined to use the dishwasher for your plastic cups, follow these guidelines to ensure their longevity:

Check the Label

Always check the bottom of your plastic cups for any dishwasher-safe labels or symbols.

Use the Top Rack

To minimize heat exposure, place your plastic cups on the top rack of the dishwasher.

Avoid High Temperatures

Opt for lower-temperature dishwasher cycles to prevent warping or distortion.

Handwashing: A Safe Alternative

If you want to err on the side of caution or your plastic cups lack dishwasher-safe labels, consider handwashing.


In conclusion, the dishwasher can be a convenient option for cleaning plastic cups, provided you choose the right plastic type and follow the necessary precautions. However, if you’re uncertain about your cups’ suitability for the dishwasher, handwashing remains a safe and reliable alternative.


Can I wash any plastic cup in the dishwasher?

Not all plastic cups are dishwasher-safe. Check for labels or symbols on the cup’s bottom to determine suitability.

How do I prevent my plastic cups from warping in the dishwasher?

Place them on the top rack and use lower-temperature cycles.

Are there any health concerns with using the dishwasher for plastic cups?

Dishwashing detergents can contain chemicals that may affect certain plastic types over time.

Can I wash plastic cups with hot beverages in the dishwasher?

It’s best to avoid it, as hot liquids can increase the chances of warping.

What’s the best way to extend the lifespan of my plastic cups?

Handwashing is a gentler option that can help preserve your cups over time.

In this article, we’ve explored the dishwasher’s suitability for plastic cups, helping you make informed decisions about cleaning your kitchenware. Remember to prioritize safety and longevity when maintaining your plastic cups.

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