Do you need help with the dishwasher-safe symbols? Don’t worry; we can help you understand them.
Even though it’s easy to put all the dishes in the dishwasher, only some things can go in there. Some items need to be washed by hand. How can you figure out which items are dishwasher-safe and which need hand-washing?
The items listed below are safe to put in the dishwasher.
- Ceramic plates, bowls, and mugs
- Stainless steel
- Cutting boards made of plastic and wood composite
- Metal utensils
- Measuring cups
- Measuring spoons
- Kitchen shears
You can double-check if an item is dishwasher safe by looking for a symbol on the bottom of it. You might have seen these symbols before, especially on plastic containers or cups. They’re not the little numbers with arrows – those are recycling characters.
What do dishwasher-safe symbols mean?
The symbols showing if something is dishwasher safe can differ depending on the brand or product. They often show two circles, one big and one small, that look like plates. These plates are getting wet with either water droplets or diagonal lines.
This symbol means that the item can go in the dishwasher. Sometimes, if you look carefully, the sign might show that it should only go in the top rack (especially if it’s soft plastic), but we’ll discuss that later.
What does dishwasher safe even mean?
Usually, items that are safe to put in the dishwasher have been made or processed in a way that helps them handle higher temperatures and the special detergents used in dishwashers.
Dishwasher-safe glass: When they make glass, they slowly cool it down in an annealing process. This helps to make it stronger by reducing weak spots. Glass dishes can also be tempered, which is a chemical process that makes them even more rigid. Most of the dishwasher-safe glass you’ll find has been tempered, which makes it four to five times stronger than annealed glass. This kind of glass can handle being washed in the dishwasher and microwaved.
Dishwasher-safe ceramics: Ceramics are made by slowly cooling them down to avoid any flaws, and then they’re coated with a glaze to protect the surface. The strength of ceramics depends on the type of glaze they have. Not all ceramics can go in the dishwasher, so it’s best to check if they have a dishwasher-safe symbol before assuming they’re safe to put in. If they don’t have a logo, check with the manufacturer online or wash them by hand to be safe.
There is more than one way to make plastic safe for the dishwasher, but it depends on the kind of plastic used. Different plastics have different melting points. It’s best to put most plastics on the top rack of the dishwasher, where it’s less hot than the bottom rack. If the plastic has a low melting point, it could get damaged or warped by the high heat of the dishwasher.
What does the dishwasher symbol look like?
There isn’t one symbol that officially tells you if something is safe to wash in the dishwasher. Instead, different abstract pictures of dishes and lines show you if putting them in is okay. Here are some symbols you might see on plates and what they mean.
Dishwasher safe symbols
Other common Symbols
This symbol of a chalice and fork means that serving and eating food from the item is safe. Not all dishes will have this symbol, but it’s generally assumed that it’s safe for food if it’s a dish. If you see this symbol, you can eat the dish without worry. However, this symbol often needs to be clarified with the dishwasher-safe sign, which is different.
It’s not a good idea to assume that all plastic items are safe to put in the microwave. To be sure, check for a symbol that looks like wavy lines inside a box or square, as this means it’s safe to use in the microwave.
Maximum & Minimum Temperature
Knowing how hot or cold our dishes can handle without getting ruined is essential. For instance, plastic containers are meant to be put in the freezer briefly, as they can break and become fragile. This could cause leaks in the future, which we want to avoid.
Safe to store in a Freezer
If you spot this symbol, you can safely store your dish or container in the freezer without any worries—no need to wonder if it’s safe.
Hey, do you remember this symbol we talked about earlier? It has nothing to do with dishwashers but tells you the item can be recycled. The number “01” means that the item is made of PET or PETE plastic. This type of plastic is often used for single-use bottled drinks because it’s cheap to make, light, and easy to recycle.
The recycling symbols have numbers ranging from 01 to 07, and each number represents a different type of plastic, such as polystyrene, polypropylene, and polyvinyl chloride.
How can you tell if an item is dishwasher safe?
If you find a dishwasher-safe symbol on your dish or container, putting it in the dishwasher is okay. If the sign has water droplets or diagonal lines throughout, it can go on either the top or bottom rack.
However, if the symbol only shows the water droplets or diagonal lines on the top half of the dishes, it should only be placed on the top rack. This is because the bottom of the dishwasher is hotter than the top, which could damage plastic items. Some symbols may even indicate the maximum temperature the thing can handle.
What not to put in the dishwasher
- Knives with sharp edges or mandolines
- Wooden items, such as cutting boards, spoons, and utensils
- Cast iron cookware
- Nonstick pots and pans
- Aluminium cookware
- Copper cookware
- Fancy plates like fine china, crystal, or hand-painted plates
- Electric kettles
- Travel mugs
- Parts and components of pressure cookers or air fryers
- Any pieces of kitchen appliances that are electric or have connections
Dishwashers can harm certain items, such as knives and wooden utensils, by dulling blades or warping the wood. Also, dish soap or detergent in the dishwasher can damage nonstick pots and pans, corrode aluminium, and discolour copper.
Delicate items, like hand-painted or fragile ones, are likelier to break or chip in the dishwasher. Don’t worry; we’ve got you covered in understanding dishwasher-safe symbols and other information about dishwashers.
We can even teach you how to clean your dishwasher’s filter when to use specific cycles, and how to eliminate odours with a monthly dose of Cascade Dishwasher Cleaner.
Remember, a clean dishwasher means cleaner dishes!