What Can You Put in a Dishwasher to Clean It

In today’s fast-paced world, the dishwasher has become an indispensable appliance in most households. It not only saves time but also ensures that your dishes come out sparkling clean. However, have you ever wondered what items you can safely put in your dishwasher to clean it? In this article, we will explore the do’s and don’ts of dishwasher cleaning, ensuring that you get the most out of this kitchen workhorse.

The dishwasher is undoubtedly a kitchen marvel, but it’s important to know which items are safe to put in it and how to maintain this appliance. Let’s dive into the world of dishwasher care and cleanliness.

Dishwasher Basics

Before we discuss what items can go into the dishwasher, let’s understand some basics. A dishwasher uses hot water and detergent to clean your dishes. It has a built-in filter to catch food particles and debris, and some models even have a heating element to aid in drying.

What to Put in the Dishwasher

3.1 Plates, Glasses, and Utensils

The dishwasher is a champion at cleaning plates, glasses, and utensils. These items are typically made from materials like glass, ceramic, or stainless steel, which can withstand the dishwasher’s high temperatures and strong detergents.

3.2 Pots and Pans

Most modern pots and pans with a non-stick coating can go in the dishwasher. However, it’s advisable to check the manufacturer’s instructions, as excessive dishwasher use might reduce the lifespan of your cookware.

3.3 Dishwasher-Safe Plastics

Many plastics are now labeled as “dishwasher safe.” These plastics are designed to withstand the heat and water pressure of a dishwasher cycle without warping or deteriorating. Always check for this label before loading plastic items.

What to Avoid Putting in the Dishwasher

4.1 Cast Iron Cookware

Cast iron cookware, like skillets and Dutch ovens, should never go in the dishwasher. The high heat and moisture can damage the seasoning on the cast iron, leading to rust.

4.2 Wooden Items

Wooden cutting boards, spoons, and utensils are a no-go in the dishwasher. The water and heat can cause the wood to swell, crack, or warp. Hand wash these items instead.

4.3 Delicate Crystal and China

Delicate crystal and fine china should always be hand-washed. The dishwasher’s strong jets of water and high heat can easily chip or crack these precious items.

How to Clean the Dishwasher Itself

To ensure your dishwasher keeps performing at its best, you need to clean it periodically.

5.1 Cleaning the Filter

Start by cleaning the dishwasher’s filter. Remove it and rinse away any food particles. A clogged filter can affect the dishwasher’s performance.

5.2 Removing Mineral Deposits

If your area has hard water, mineral deposits can build up in your dishwasher. Run an empty cycle with vinegar or a dishwasher cleaner to remove these deposits.

Maintaining Your Dishwasher

To extend the life of your dishwasher, follow these maintenance tips:

  • Check and clean the spray arms regularly.
  • Inspect and clean the door gasket to prevent leaks.
  • Ensure the dishwasher is level to avoid wobbling during operation.

Common Dishwasher Problems and Solutions

Sometimes, your dishwasher may face issues. Here are some common problems and their solutions:

  • Dishes Not Getting Clean: Check the spray arms for clogs and ensure you’re using the right detergent.
  • Dishwasher Not Draining: Clean the filter and check for clogs in the drain hose.
  • Dishwasher Leaking: Inspect the door gasket for damage and ensure it’s properly sealed.


Your dishwasher can be your kitchen’s best friend, but it needs a little care too. By knowing what to put in it, how to clean it, and how to maintain it, you can ensure that your dishwasher keeps running efficiently, leaving you with spotlessly clean dishes after every wash.


  1. Can I put stainless steel pots and pans in the dishwasher?
    • Yes, most stainless steel cookware is dishwasher safe. However, refer to the manufacturer’s instructions for specific guidelines.
  2. Why shouldn’t I put wooden items in the dishwasher?
    • Wooden items can absorb water and heat, causing them to warp or crack. Hand washing is the best way to preserve them.
  3. How often should I clean my dishwasher?
    • It’s a good practice to clean the dishwasher’s filter and run a cleaning cycle every month to maintain its performance.
  4. What can I do to prevent mineral deposits in my dishwasher?
    • Using a water softener, if possible, can help reduce mineral deposits. Regularly running a cleaning cycle with vinegar or a dishwasher cleaner also helps.
  5. Is it normal for my dishwasher to make noise during operation?
    • Some noise is normal, but loud or unusual noises may indicate an issue. Check for loose items or damaged parts if you hear unusual sounds.
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