Which items should never go in a dishwasher?

As any white goods merchant will tell you, few appliances receive more frustrating complaints than dishwashers. Owners often do not know how to use them, such as poorly stacking their contents, using too much or poor-quality detergent, or letting detritus clog their outlet filters.

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Correctly used, dishwashers are a tremendous help in two ways: they make lighter work of an unpopular job and are much safer from the hygiene point of view, using temperatures and detergent strengths more effective than those in a murky washing up bowl.

Hygiene standards

Dishwasher designers abide by stringent international standards, such as Regulation (EC) No 853/2004 Annex III and ANSI 372. These set the amount of time certain temperatures should be sustained to kill bacteria. Commercial machines, such as the Sammic X-80 X-TRA dishwasher, should reach 82°C for 15 minutes. The disinfectant qualities of the detergents are a belt and braces fall-back to guarantee this.

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As with other commercial washers, the Samsung Sammic X-80 dishwasher needs to work faster than its domestic cousins. Domestic machines only need to reach 60.5°C, but to sustain this temperature for longer.

Because of the rigorous detergents and temperatures, some items are best not put in dishwashers at all.

Items to avoid

– Wood does not like high temperatures and caustic detergents, which can warp or affect the colour and surface finish. Cutting boards made of glued sections often come apart.

– Sharp chef’s blades can have their edges dulled, especially if they rattle around with other implements. They can also cut through dishwasher trays and baskets.

– Any glued rather than riveted cutlery handles are likely to come loose at dishwasher temperatures. The same applies to many pan handles.

– Detergents can bleach and erode the surface of antique or hand painted china. Vibration and temperature changes can cause them to crack or open flaws in their glazing.

– Cast iron and copper pans are prone to chemical attack and discolouration. Aluminium can also be affected. Steel, coated or enamelled pans are safer.

– Crystalware should not be risked in a dishwasher, as the temperatures and agitation are likely to crack or chip them, or leave their surfaces dulled.

– Good dishwashers will cope with roasting trays and cheese grates; however, remember that success depends on arranging them so the water jets get good access.

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