Is My China Dishwasher Safe?

Signs that your china is NOT dishwasher safe:

  1. If it has a silver/platinum or gold trim, then it is generally not dishwasher safe, no matter how old.
  2. If it’s older than 1970: not dishwasher safe, no matter what.
  3. If it’s from the 1970s until the mid-1990s and even if it states dishwasher safe on the china (!) it is also NOT dishwasher safe !

The reason for this paradox is that up until the mid-1980s dishwashers relied on hot water to clean items. This has changed over the last 25 years, switching from simple, but really hot water, to mere warm, but chemically rich, cocktails because that is claimed to be more environment-friendly than heating water.

While the older ‘dishwasher-safe’ glazes were made heat-resistant to cope with dishwasher, they are not hardened against the caustic (alkaline) solutions used nowadays. Such a set would very quickly develop ‘clouding’ of the glaze, similar to what many people know as ‘glass corrosion’ on glassware.

Even trying to clean such a set with a modern dishwasher by omitting powders, tablets, salt, additional detergents, glass protectors, fresheners for a cycle or two simply won’t work as the average dishwasher internals are so heavily contaminated by the traces of these ‘helpers’ that the set may still be damaged.

So... what do you think? Please leave me a comment.

One Comment:

  • Vale: This is very helpful information! I think most people would look for the dishwasher safe label on the more modern china and assume it’s ok to use, when, as you mentioned, it’s not! Thanks for posting this :)

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