Is stainless steel dishwasher safe? The Best Answer

You might wonder if your stainless steel cutlery or mug can be washed in the dishwasher. It depends on the type of item so we will have to discuss this in more detail.


What is a dishwasher?

A dishwasher is a household appliance meant to reduce manual labor while washing crockery, stainless steel plates, glasses, cutlery, and other utensils which are used in cooking. To do manual dishwashing, one needs to scrub and get rid of the oil and residual food particles. In a dishwasher, that job is done by sprayers that spray hot water mixed with dishwashing solutions.

A lot of dishwashers are made out of stainless steel as this material doesn’t corrode and is quite cheap to manufacture.

A dishwasher often does a pre-rinse when the initial mixture of dishwasher detergent and water is sprayed on the utensils. The water is often circulated for optimal usage. After the water which is used for pre-rinse is drained out, then the main wash starts. This process uses fresh dishwasher detergent and water. Once that process is completed, washing the utensils only with hot water starts. This is known as the rinse cycle and after this cycle is complete, the utensils are dried.

What is Stainless Steel?

Stainless steel is an alloy of iron and chromium. Chromium (chemical symbol Cr) has the ability to produce a thin layer of oxide on the outer surface of the stainless steel sheet. It helps in preventing corrosion of the surface and hence stainless steel utensils last for years together.

A minimum of 10.5% of chromium is present in the alloy which is used to manufacture stainless steel. Better quality steel which can prevent corrosion to a further extent contains more than 10.5% of chromium. The alloy also contains manganese (Mn), silicon (Si), and carbon (c). Stainless steel utensils are often coated with nickel to give it that extra shine and protect it from rust further. However, since nickel causes allergies, many companies have stopped using nickel coating.

Is stainless steel dishwasher safe?

Yes, it is perfectly fine to put your stainless steels utensils in the dishwasher and get them thoroughly washed. There are some precautions which you need to take while putting them which we will discuss now.


It is perfectly fine to put your forks, knives, spoons, and vegetable cutting knives in the dishwasher. Always rinse them before putting them inside a dishwasher so that it does not remain in contact with any kind of acidic food particle. While eating the orange pudding, there might be layers of pudding stuck to the spoon. It will erode the steel if left unwashed for a long time.

Always put your silverware in the special basket which is meant for that purpose inside the dishwasher. It will be easy for you to locate the small cutlery items after they are washed, and they will be washed thoroughly too.

Pots and pans

Some experts argue that dishwasher detergents are very harsh and might corrode stainless steel pots and pans. Hence, look for a milder detergent, and do not leave your stainless utensils inside the dishwasher in contact with the dishwasher detergent for long. Just follow the rinse cycles and get them out and they will remain sparkling forever.

However, while buying the pots and pans, it is a good idea to check for the dishwasher safe tag placed by the manufacturer. If you are not sure, it is advisable to hand wash those pots and pans. Some users have complained of the watermarks which are difficult to remove if the pots and pans are washed in a dishwasher.

The solution to this problem will be immediately removing the utensils from the dishwasher after the cleaning cycles are complete. After doing that, wipe them properly before placing them in your kitchen cabinets and racks.

Make sure that you clean the plan and remove pieces of vegetables before you place them in the dishwasher. This will make sure that your dishwasher doesn’t start to smell bad after a while.

Other kitchen utensils

Photo by Ricky Singh on Unsplash

It is perfectly fine to wash stainless steel plates, bowls, and other bigger utensils in a dishwasher. However, smaller items like spatulas, rolling pins, fish slicers, whisks, strainers might be a bit tricky to wash in a dishwasher. Sometimes the dishwasher detergent gets stuck in the handles and starts corroding them. Sometimes there are raw vegetables or meat stuck in the fine mesh or holes of these items.

Hence, it is a better idea to hand wash them using a good quality scrub. This will ensure that any food particles which are stuck in the fine blades or holes of these items are cleaned properly. You can even use a toothbrush to make them sparkling clean. A toothbrush works very well to clean a tea strainer.

Stainless steel travel mug

Example of a dishwasher safe travel mug

Most of the travel mugs have an interior coating of an insulator so that it can keep the hot items hot for 24 hours and cold items cold for the same time length. If you wash them in a dishwasher, there are chances that the insulating material is spoilt and you will have to replace your travel mug faster. It might even discolor the paint or the outing coating that most of these travel mugs use.

However, if you are using a non-insulated travel mug/water bottle that does not have any plastic or paint coating on the exterior, you can safely wash it in a dishwasher if you place it on the top rack.

We have discussed if toys are dishwasher safe here.


Now you know in detail which items you can put in a dishwasher safely, and which ones you should hand wash. We hope your life will a bit more stress-free now. It is always a good idea to rinse the stainless steel utensils with normal water before putting them in a dishwasher.

Do not keep the load soaked with dishwasher detergent for a long time as it might contain harmful chemicals which will erode the enamel of the utensils. Every time you finish the dishwasher cycle, wipe all the stainless steel items with a soft microfiber cloth and put them away. This will prevent the watermarks from spoiling the look of your stainless steel items. 

When you use a dishwasher, you have to check that the items won’t break in the dishwasher. Based on the previous information, you will be able to do this and avoid breaking your favorite items.