Can You Put Stainless Steel in the Dishwasher

Stainless steel is a popular material for kitchen utensils and appliances due to its durability, sleek appearance, and resistance to corrosion. When it comes to cleaning stainless steel items, many people wonder if it is safe to put them in the dishwasher. In this article, we will explore whether or not stainless steel can be safely cleaned in the dishwasher, the advantages and potential risks involved, and provide tips for proper care and maintenance.

Can Stainless Steel Be Put in the Dishwasher?

The answer to whether stainless steel can be put in the dishwasher depends on various factors. One way to determine if an item is dishwasher-safe is by checking for a dishwasher-safe label provided by the manufacturer. This label ensures that the stainless steel item is designed to withstand the dishwasher’s cleaning process without being damaged.

However, not all stainless steel items come with a dishwasher-safe label. In such cases, it is essential to consider other factors before deciding whether to put them in the dishwasher or opt for handwashing instead.

Factors to Consider

  1. Quality of stainless steel: Stainless steel items vary in quality and composition. Higher-quality stainless steel, such as 18/10 stainless steel, is more resistant to corrosion and can generally withstand dishwasher cleaning better than lower-quality stainless steel.
  2. Design and construction: The design and construction of the stainless steel item also play a role in its dishwasher compatibility. Items with intricate details, non-removable parts, or delicate finishes may be more prone to damage in the dishwasher.
  3. Manufacturer’s instructions: Always refer to the manufacturer’s instructions or website for specific guidance on whether the stainless steel item is dishwasher-safe. They may provide recommendations or precautions based on the item’s design and materials.

Advantages of Putting Stainless Steel in the Dishwasher

Putting stainless steel items in the dishwasher offers several advantages that make it a convenient choice for many.

  1. Convenience: Dishwashers provide a hands-free approach to cleaning dishes, including stainless steel utensils and cookware. It saves time and effort, particularly when dealing with a large number of items or after a busy meal preparation.
  2. Time-saving: Dishwashers typically have specialized cycles and high-temperature washes that can effectively remove food residues and stains from stainless steel items. This saves time compared to handwashing, where scrubbing and rinsing may be required.
  3. Hygiene: Dishwashers use high-temperature water and detergents to sanitize and clean dishes, reducing the risk of bacterial contamination. This is especially beneficial for stainless steel items used for food preparation.

Potential Risks of Putting Stainless Steel in the Dishwasher

While putting stainless steel in the dishwasher may offer convenience, there are potential risks to consider.

  1. Scratching and damage: Stainless steel items can get scratched or damaged if they come into contact with other hard materials or if they move around excessively during the dishwasher cycle. Utensils with sharp edges or rough bases should be handled with care.
  2. Discoloration and rusting: Certain dishwasher detergents and rinsing agents may contain chlorides or phosphates that can cause discoloration or rusting of stainless steel. Prolonged exposure to high heat or harsh cleaning agents can also affect the appearance of the stainless steel.
  3. Loss of shine: Over time, frequent dishwasher use may lead to a dulling of the stainless steel’s shine. While this does not affect the item’s functionality, some people prefer to maintain the glossy appearance of their stainless steel items.

Proper Care and Maintenance of Stainless Steel Utensils

To ensure the longevity and optimal performance of stainless steel utensils, it’s essential to follow proper care and maintenance practices.

  1. Handwashing vs. dishwasher: If in doubt about the dishwasher safety of a stainless steel item, it is generally safer to handwash it. Use warm water, a mild dishwashing detergent, and a non-abrasive sponge or cloth to gently clean the item. Rinse thoroughly and dry with a soft towel to prevent water spots.
  2. Tips for safe dishwasher use:
    • Load stainless steel items securely to prevent movement and potential damage during the dishwasher cycle.
    • Avoid overcrowding the dishwasher, as it can hinder proper cleaning and increase the risk of items colliding.
    • Use the dishwasher’s designated compartments for detergent and rinse aid, following the manufacturer’s recommendations for optimal results.
    • Select a gentle or delicate cycle when possible, and avoid high-temperature washes if the item’s manufacturer advises against it.

Can I put stainless steel pots and pans in the dishwasher?

Putting stainless steel pots and pans in the dishwasher is generally not recommended. The harsh dishwasher cycles and abrasive detergents can damage the surface and affect the cookware’s performance. It is best to handwash them to maintain their quality.

Will stainless steel flatware rust in the dishwasher?

While stainless steel is resistant to rust, certain conditions in the dishwasher, such as exposure to chloride-based detergents or prolonged contact with food residues, can cause discoloration or rusting. To prevent this, it is advisable to rinse off food particles and promptly remove flatware from the dishwasher after the cycle.

Can I put stainless steel water bottles in the dishwasher?

It depends on the manufacturer’s instructions and the design of the water bottle. Some stainless steel water bottles are dishwasher-safe, while others may have components like seals or coatings that are not suitable for dishwasher use. Always check the manufacturer’s guidelines for the specific water bottle you have.

Are all stainless steel appliances dishwasher-safe?

Not all stainless steel appliances are dishwasher-safe. Manufacturers provide guidelines on whether their appliances can be cleaned in the dishwasher. It is important to refer to the appliance’s user manual or contact the manufacturer for specific instructions.

How can I remove rust from stainless steel utensils?

To remove rust from stainless steel utensils, create a paste using baking soda and water. Apply the paste to the rusted area and gently scrub with a soft cloth or non-abrasive sponge. Rinse thoroughly and dry the utensil. For stubborn rust stains, you can also use a stainless steel cleaner or vinegar.


In conclusion, whether stainless steel can be put in the dishwasher depends on various factors such as the item’s quality, design, and manufacturer’s instructions. While the dishwasher offers convenience and time-saving benefits, there are potential risks such as scratching, discoloration, and loss of shine. It’s important to weigh these factors and consider proper care and maintenance practices to ensure the longevity of stainless steel utensils.

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