There are many heavy-duty plastic plates, bowls, containers and utensils that are dishwasher safe and can easily withstand the heat of the dishwasher. However, there are also many lighter-weight plastic plates, bowls and utensils that say they are ‘dishwasher safe’ but realistically, won’t be able to withstand the heat of your dishwasher.

Here are a few tips to keep in mind when loading the dishwasher and determining what goes in and what stays out.

  • Yogurt, cream cheese, peanut butter and any other containers with thin plastic walls will not hold up when exposed to dishwasher heat and detergents. If the container cannot hold its shape in hot water or in the microwave, it won’t do well in the dishwasher. These ones, stay out!
  • Place plastic dishes on the top rack, face down, to reduce heat exposure and to prevent the force of the water from flipping containers right-side-up during the cycle.
  • Hand-wash larger containers that won’t fit on the top rack.
  • Don’t let large items cover small items. Avoid stacking items – if they’re too tight together, they will not be cleaned properly.
  • On a preventative note, to minimize staining, spray containers and lids with non-stick cooking spray before filling them with foods such as tomato sauce. This will prevent food from sticking to the containers and staining them.