Why You Can Put Aluminum Cookware in Your Dishwasher

Alex Mcil author
Alex Mcil

There are times when people rely on automation to settle the mundane parts of life such as washing dishes and cookware. Most people know that there are some types of materials such as copper that are unsuitable for the dishwasher and cast iron that are unsuitable for the dishwasher but thankfully, not aluminum. As compared to non-dishwasher safe metals, aluminum is much stronger and more durable, hence does not corrode easily with the dishwasher’s water pressure or solution used to clean. 

Studies prove aluminum is safe for cooking and washing

Aluminum is one of the cheapest metals available out there, it is around 35% cheaper than cooper for example. Not only that, but it is also extremely versatile, and also considered one of the more durable metals on the market. Aluminum is also known to be free of toxins as the products that are made with aluminum are typically BPA-free. So, when washing it in a dishwasher, aluminum does not react with its environment so easily.

Even when you are cooking, there are times when it seems that aluminum is not as clean as other alternatives, but that is not completely true. In fact, not only is aluminum the converse, but they are also dishwasher safe which should spell relief to some people. If you are unsure whether it is okay to put your cookware in the dishwasher, simply check the base of the pot or pan, it should be there in writing that it is dishwasher safe.

Quick answer

Yes, it is safe to place aluminum in the dishwasher. However, you have to make sure to apply the right settings and confirm that the cookware has been cleared for dishwashers by the manufacturer.

A dishwasher will remove toxins

Getting dishwasher-safe pots and pans is very important, especially when you are concerned about cleanliness. This is because dishwashers can remove toxins better as compared to handwashing them on your own, they also eliminate dangerous pathogens such as e coli and salmonella. It’s worth noting that for items like coffee makers that aren’t dishwasher safe, there are vinegar-free alternatives to clean them effectively. The dishwasher utilizes a special type of formula liquid in their machine by which manufacturers swear by its power to remove dirt and grime, this formula contains sodium stearate and other compounds like potassium. You do not have to do any pre-washing on your part to remove the stains, you can simply just let the dishwasher wash it off. 

Best setting for cleaning aluminum cookware

For aluminum pots and pans, it is recommended to use more delicate settings compared to the ones that power wash, we recommend keeping the water temperature around 50°C. This is because aluminum can easily get discolored and the finish can be tarnished by too powerful jets of spray. If you’re concerned about maintaining the exterior of your pans, you might want to learn about the process of cleaning the outside of the pan to keep them looking their best. When that happens, the aluminum pots and pans become scratched as well which is not the safest thing for cookware.

Using powerful settings on your dishwasher will shorten the lifespan of your aluminum pots and pans, avoid going over 70°C. With more wear and tear, old aluminum pans start to form scratches and this would be unsafe because unhealthy chemicals could be released from them, these chemicals can cause serious neurological issues if you consume them for extended periods. This normally happens three to five years after using the aluminum cookware due to prolonged use. When that happens, you should consider recycling your aluminum pan safely at your nearest recycling center. Otherwise, you can also reuse your old aluminum pans for other functions like a candle holder or storage, for example.

Things you should consider not putting in the dishwasher

While a dishwasher is a handy machine to have around, there are many items that you should avoid putting in it as they could damage your cookware and utensils.

Sharp or hollow-handed knives are utensils that you should avoid placing in the dishwasher. The constant pressure from the water spraying could dull your blades which makes them unusable faster. The heat from the machine could also cause the handles to melt which means that there will be nothing to hold up the blade. So, if you want to avoid spending more on knives, do not place them in the dishwasher.

Nonstick pots, pans, and cast iron are another group of cookware that you do not want to place into the dishwasher. This cookware is specially coated with a non-stick finish, like pans that have a Teflon coating. Putting it in the dishwasher to be ravaged by the high heat and pressure of the water will only continue to tear away at it. This will ruin the surface of your pot and pan which will also make it more prone to rusting. Once that happens, you will have to toss it out which means more added cost.

You should avoid placing aesthetic handmade plates and antiques into the dishwasher too. The obvious reason is that these are objects that are delicate and should be treated with better care, unlike the indiscriminate cleaning that a dishwasher engages in. Similarly, if you have a glass top stove, you might want to know about easy ways to clean a cloudy glass top stove to maintain its appearance without risking damage. Plus the powerful jets could also cause certain designs to chip off which will ruin your plate especially if it is precious to you. Not to mention, these fragile items could easily knock into other cookware and get broken into pieces in the machine. So, unless you want to lose something important, do not place these items in the machine.

Some aluminum pots and pans that do not have the dishwasher safe label should not be placed into dishwashers as the heat and pressure can dull the finishes. It might also end up staining the other cookware in the machine, ceramics are very susceptible to staining for example. This could be toxic so only use the dishwasher for dishwasher safe aluminum. If you are unsure, be sure to check with the manufacturer first.

Insulated pitches or drinkware like insulated mugs should not be placed in the dishwasher. It might seem tempting to place one small cup with the huge load in the dishwasher but we advise against that. The heat from the machine might ruin the vacuum seal rendering it useless. It might no longer be able to work as well, or it could crack the mugs as well which is extremely dangerous if the shards were to go around the machine. The machine could be damaged from that or your other cookware could sustain scratches which would not be good for cookware that cannot be scratched. Just for a moment’s convenience might cost you a whole new set of kitchenware. So, avoid placing insulated drinkware into the machine and use the faucet instead.

Not every metal or detergent goes in the dishwasher

Dishwashers are a very nifty thing to own as they can cut down cleaning time and effort by more than half, and most importantly gives your cookware a more thorough clean. They’re an essential part of any house deep cleaning routine, helping to maintain a hygienic kitchen environment. However, it is important that you know which items can and cannot be put into the dishwasher, lest they get damaged. Generally, aluminum pots and pans can also be placed into the machine, but be sure to double-check that it is labeled dishwasher safe.

“Contrary to popular belief, there actually are limited harmful effects on your aluminum cookware from dishwasher use. While it may cause some discoloration due to the dishwasher detergent, this discoloration has no impact on the cookware’s function or safety. Just be aware, the original shine of the cookware may fade over time. No need to let that influence your decision, though- convenience often outweighs aesthetics.”

Jackson Ryder, Materials Engineer




9 thoughts on “Why You Can Put Aluminum Cookware in Your Dishwasher”

  1. Avatar
    Harold Rutherford

    Having once lodged a copper skillet in the dishwasher with less than desirable outcomes, it’s comforting to know my aluminum pots and pans can endure the test!

  2. Avatar
    Pricilla Ingleston

    Too much reliance on automation can strip the joy away from cooking. Sure, aluminum can withstand dishwasher’s water pressure or solution, but nothing replaces the satisfaction of a hand-washed pot. Kitchens are meant for cooking and sometimes, a little elbow grease doesn’t hurt anyone.

  3. I absolutely second your thoughts, Pricilla. Nothing can replace the washing experience by hand; it’s not just about cleanliness, but about a deep connection to the art of cooking.

  4. Avatar
    Bartholomew Lindgren

    I’ve been cooking with aluminum pans for more than four decades and I have always hand-washed them to maintain their quality. The dishwasher’s high temperature and harsh detergents can potentially degrade the metal over time.

  5. Avatar
    Bertram Northgate

    Bartholomew Lindgren, I can absolutely relate to your practices. As an engineer, I can confirm that harsh detergents and high temperatures could indeed affect the integrity of aluminum over time, especially if it’s a cheaper or thinner quality. However, I’ve found that using less abrasive detergents and running the dishwasher on a slightly cooler setting has allowed me to wash my aluminum pans without damaging them.

  6. As someone who’s spent most of her life around professional kitchens, I’ve found that proper care of aluminium pans extends beyond just using gentle detergents or cooler settings. It can include occasional hand washing, immediately drying after each wash to avoid water spots or streaks which can be precursors to corrosion. Furthermore, cookware shouldn’t be left soaking for too long – this preserves the longevity of the material.

  7. I agree with your comment, Gloria. Taking that extra step for maintenance can surely enhance the life of your cookware. I’ve seen it firsthand when I meticulously maintained some components of machinery: they outlived their standard life expectancy remarkably. We typically underestimate the importance of immediate drying and not leaving it soaking for extended periods, but these steps are indeed crucial for longevity.

  8. The resilience of aluminum to withstand high pressure and temperature in the dishwasher does not directly correlate to its non-corrosive nature. We must remember that corrosion for aluminum generally occurs due to oxidation; which the detergents in dishwasher often facilitate. Durable it may be, but aluminum cookware can still corrode if washed frequently in the dishwasher, especially if low-quality aluminum is used in manufacturing them.

  9. While I agree that dishwasher detergents can cause corrosion, in my experience quality does play a major role – higher-grade aluminum cookware has withstood my dishwasher abuse for years without a hint of oxidation.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *