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Surprising Uses for Your Dishwasher

22 unexpected items you can put in the dishwasher and 13 things you shouldn't. Plus, how to cook salmon in the dishwasher (seriously).

By Sarah Stebbins
Toy lizardTom Schierlitz

Things You Thought Could Go in the Dishwasher But Really Shouldn't

Cast-iron, enameled-cast-iron, and copper pots and pans are on the never list. Why? Cast iron rusts; enameled cast iron chips; copper dents.

Formal dishes and nice flatware can get worn with repeated washings. Rule of thumb: If it’s something you would cry over harming or losing, don’t put it in. (If you do put sterling silver in the dishwasher, use about a tablespoon of detergent and don’t mix it with stainless-steel flatware; a chemical reaction between the metals can discolor the silver.)

Wooden spoons can warp and crack. If you don’t mind replacing them frequently, throw them in; otherwise wash them in the sink.

Good kitchen knives and steak knives aren’t cheap. Why risk dulling their blades?

Crystal glasses are especially vulnerable. Food particles can etch them; heat can cause cracks. After hand washing (it’s usually safer than using the china/crystal setting), dry with a cloth that hasn’t been laundered with fabric softener, which can leave a film.

Insulated mugs and containers feature vacuum seals, which can be destroyed if water seeps in.

Brass items should never see the inside of a dishwasher. Hot water can remove the natural protective layer that forms on brass.

Wooden cutting boards can swell and contract, leaving them teetery and essentially useless on a counter. Most bamboo boards are susceptible, too. But we found one that uses a heat-resistant adhesive, making it dishwasher-safe: Totally Bamboo GreenLite collection, $11.50 to $40, totallybamboo.com
 
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