Can Silver Go in the Dishwasher

In today’s fast-paced world, convenience often takes precedence over tradition. This shift is particularly noticeable in the way we maintain our homes and kitchenware. One common question that arises is whether it’s safe to put silver items in the dishwasher. In this article, we’ll explore the dos and don’ts of cleaning silverware in your dishwasher while considering the impact on both convenience and the longevity of your cherished silver items.

Understanding the Nature of Silver

Before we dive into the dishwasher dilemma, it’s essential to grasp the nature of silver. Silver is a precious metal known for its lustrous appearance, malleability, and conductivity. It’s commonly used in jewelry, tableware, and decorative items. However, silver is also susceptible to tarnish, a natural oxidation process that can dull its shine over time.

The Dishwasher Debate

Can You Put Silver in the Dishwasher?

The answer is both yes and no, depending on various factors. Let’s break it down.

Silverware with No Decorations

Plain silverware, such as simple forks, spoons, and knives, can generally withstand the dishwasher. Here’s why:

  1. Stainless Steel vs. Sterling Silver: Stainless steel silverware is dishwasher safe because it’s highly resistant to corrosion. Sterling silver, on the other hand, is more delicate and should be washed by hand to avoid tarnishing.
  2. Water Temperature: Modern dishwashers often have adjustable temperature settings. Using a lower temperature setting can help protect your silver items from heat damage.

Silverware with Decorations

If your silverware has intricate patterns or decorations, it’s best to avoid the dishwasher. Here’s why:

  1. Abrasive Detergents: Dishwasher detergents can be abrasive, which may harm the delicate engravings or patterns on your silverware.
  2. Harsh Water Jets: The high-pressure water jets in dishwashers can cause friction between items, potentially leading to scratches on your silver.

Proper Care for Silverware

To ensure your silverware stays in optimal condition, follow these guidelines:

Handwashing is Preferred

  1. Use Mild Soap: When handwashing your silverware, use mild, non-abrasive soap and lukewarm water. Avoid harsh chemicals or excessive scrubbing.
  2. Gentle Drying: Pat your silverware dry with a soft cloth immediately after washing to prevent water spots.
  3. Regular Polishing: Periodically polish your silver items with a silver polish cloth to maintain their shine.


In the great “dishwasher vs. silverware” debate, the answer is clear: plain silverware can typically go in the dishwasher, while decorated or valuable silver pieces should be hand-washed to preserve their beauty. By following these guidelines, you can strike a balance between convenience and the longevity of your cherished silver items.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

  1. Q1: Will using a dishwasher ruin my antique silverware?
    • A1: It’s best to handwash antique or valuable silverware to preserve its value and beauty.
  2. Q2: Can I use silverware cleaner in the dishwasher?
    • A2: No, it’s not recommended. Silverware cleaner can be abrasive and may harm your silver items in the dishwasher.
  3. Q3: Are there any dishwasher-safe silverware brands?
    • A3: Some stainless steel silverware brands are dishwasher safe, but always check the manufacturer’s instructions.
  4. Q4: How can I remove tarnish from my silverware?
    • A4: You can remove tarnish by using a silver polish cloth or a specialized silver cleaner.
  5. Q5: Can I wash silver-plated items in the dishwasher?
    • A5: It’s best to handwash silver-plated items to avoid damaging the thin silver layer.

In conclusion, the decision to put silver in the dishwasher depends on the type and value of your silverware. While it might be convenient for everyday items, taking the extra effort to handwash valuable or decorated silverware is the best way to ensure its long-lasting beauty and value.