Will Plastic Melt in Dishwasher

Mastering the Art of Dishwasher Care: Will Plastic Melt in Dishwasher?

In our pursuit of efficient and convenient kitchen chores, dishwashers have emerged as indispensable appliances. They promise to alleviate the drudgery of manual dishwashing, but concerns about their compatibility with various materials, especially plastic, often loom large. The question that frequently surfaces is: will plastic melt in the dishwasher? In this comprehensive guide, we, as experts in the field, will delve into this conundrum and provide you with the ultimate insights on how to ensure the longevity of your plastic kitchenware without compromising their integrity.

Understanding the Plastic Conundrum

Plastic – a ubiquitous material in our modern lives – comes in various forms, each with its own set of properties. To grasp whether plastic will melt in the dishwasher, it’s crucial to distinguish between different types of plastic. The key factor at play is the melting point of the plastic, which can vary significantly.

Melting Points of Common Plastics

  1. Polypropylene (PP):
    • Melting Point: 320°F (160°C)
  2. Polyethylene (PE):
    • Melting Point: 266-280°F (130-138°C)
  3. Polystyrene (PS):
    • Melting Point: 212-464°F (100-240°C)
  4. Polyvinyl Chloride (PVC):
    • Melting Point: 212-500°F (100-260°C)
  5. Polyethylene Terephthalate (PET):
    • Melting Point: 482-500°F (250-260°C)

These varying melting points have significant implications for dishwasher safety.

The Dishwasher’s Role

Dishwashers are designed to make our lives easier by automating the dishwashing process. They utilize water temperatures that can range from 120°F to 160°F (49°C to 71°C) during the wash cycle, and this is where the compatibility issue arises.

Which Plastics Are Dishwasher-Safe?

Now, let’s demystify the myth: not all plastics are dishwasher-safe. In fact, only certain types can withstand the heat and agitation inside the dishwasher.

Dishwasher-Safe Plastics

  1. Polypropylene (PP): This plastic has a high melting point and can generally endure the dishwasher’s high temperatures without warping or melting. Most microwave-safe plastic containers are made from PP.
  2. Polyethylene (PE): Like PP, PE can withstand dishwasher heat. It’s commonly used in food storage containers.
  3. Polystyrene (PS): While it has a lower melting point compared to PP and PE, PS is often used in disposable cutlery and plates, making it dishwasher-safe for occasional use.
  4. Polyvinyl Chloride (PVC): PVC can handle dishwasher temperatures but should be used sparingly for kitchenware, as it’s not the most environmentally friendly choice.

Avoid These Plastics in the Dishwasher

  1. Polyethylene Terephthalate (PET): PET plastics have a high risk of warping and deforming in the dishwasher due to their lower melting point. Avoid putting PET bottles or containers in the dishwasher.

Tips for Dishwashing Plastic Safely

To ensure your plastic items remain intact in the dishwasher, follow these guidelines:

  1. Use the Top Rack: Always place plastic items on the top rack of the dishwasher, as it is typically exposed to lower temperatures.
  2. Use Mild Detergents: Opt for mild, non-abrasive detergents to reduce the chances of chemical reactions that can damage plastic.
  3. Lower Temperature Settings: If your dishwasher allows it, choose lower-temperature wash cycles to be extra cautious.
  4. Avoid Overcrowding: Give your plastic items some space to breathe. Overcrowding can lead to inadequate cleaning and potential warping.
  5. Handwashing: When in doubt, handwashing is always the safest bet for your precious plastic possessions.


In conclusion, the fate of plastic in the dishwasher largely depends on the type of plastic and the dishwasher’s settings. While some plastics are dishwasher-safe and can withstand the heat, others are not so fortunate. To maintain the integrity of your plastic kitchenware, it’s essential to understand the type of plastic you’re dealing with and take the necessary precautions.

By adhering to our expert advice and knowing the limits of your plastic items, you can confidently navigate the dishwasher dilemma and ensure your plastic remains in pristine condition. So, the next time you ask, “Will plastic melt in the dishwasher?” remember that knowledge is your ally in preserving your kitchen essentials.

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