Figuring out what can and cannot go in the dishwasher can sometimes throw a wrench in your kitchen cleanup. It's always tempting to simply toss everything in the dishwasher and run it, but you'll get better results and prolong the life of your kitchenware by learning which materials won't fare well in the dishwasher's heat and humidity.
Stainless steel is an alloy formed of iron and chromium,. This alloy creates an inert surface which protects the underlying metal from corrosion.1 Not only does this make your favorite stainless steel cookware dishwasher-safe, it also renders it virtually rust-proof.
Below are some tips on how to clean a variety of common stainless steel kitchen items. Be sure to use a quality detergent like Finish® to get the best results every time.
How to clean stainless steel water bottles in the dishwasher
Nowadays it seems like everyone has a reusable water bottle in their bag, car or at their desk. They help us stay hydrated on the go while also avoiding disposable plastic bottles, which clutter up landfills. If you're shopping for a reusable water bottle you may have wondered, "Are stainless steel water bottles dishwasher-safe?" The answer is yes! Just follow the steps below to ensure a sparkly clean.
1. Check to make sure your stainless steel drink bottle is definitely dishwasher-safe by reading the label. Some drink bottles that are painted or insulated might not be suitable.2
2. Place your stainless steel water bottle in the dishwasher upside down with its lid off.
3. Place any detachable parts (like the lid, straw or filter) in the dishwasher, too.
4. Add a detergent like Finish® Quantum®, which has fewer harsh chemicals than Finish® Deep Clean.
5. Opt for a regular cycle and allow your drink bottle to dry completely before use.
How to clean stainless steel pots and pans in the dishwasher
Even though stainless steel is one of the safest materials to put in the dishwasher, there’s still a few things you should keep in mind in order to avoid ruining your favorite cookware.3
1. Remember to remove any solid scraps from your dirty pots and pans beforehand to keep any food particles from clogging your machine.
2. Check your item for a "dishwasher safe" label. Stainless steel might be dishwasher-safe but aluminum, for example, is not.
3. Consider how you stack your dishwasher—dirty pots and pans should either go on their side, or mess-side-down on the bottom rack.
4. Add detergent like Finish® Quantum® and set your machine on a pots and pans cycle (if possible). If your dishwasher doesn’t have this setting, simply opt for the longest cycle to really blast those baked-on stains.
Be sure to check the manufacturer’s instructions to make sure your stainless steel pans are cleaned with the proper care.
How to clean stainless steel chafing dishes
Chafing dishes are often found at food buffets, in restaurants or at special events. Similar to a bains marie, chafing dishes keep food warm without cooking it further. To clean stainless steel chafing dishes, simply pre-rinse and stack them in a commercial dishwasher. It's unlikely chafing dishes will fit in a standard home dishwasher, but if you're asking about chafing dishes at all, we're betting you have access to a commercial dishwasher. Since chafing dishes are typically used in conjunction with fuel and an open flame, never use flammable cleaning chemicals when washing up. 4
To learn how to get your silverware clean every time you put it in the dishwasher, take a look at our article on How to Clean Cutlery in the Dishwasher.