Although narrow-necked bottles can be upcycled for a number of DIY projects, you should never clean them in the dishwasher. It’s virtually impossible for the machine’s spray to get inside the teeny-tiny opening. Instead, put a little warm water in the bottle, then add a squirt of dish soap and a spoonful of uncooked rice. Shake the bottle and the rice “scrubbers” will remove gunk from the sides and bottom.
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Hand-Painted Glass and China
Neither the delicate hand-painted designs on the heirloom china your grandmother gave you as a wedding gift nor the gold filigree on your special-occasion dessert glasses can withstand the heat and harsh detergent of a dishwasher. To keep these cherished, delicate pieces looking great, wash them by hand in gentle dishwashing liquid, then dry them off with a dish towel.
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Wooden utensils can crack and warp in the dishwasher because the prolonged exposure to water and detergent dries out the wood grain. To clean your wooden spoons or cutting board, simply sprinkle a little baking soda on the surface and scrub lightly to remove stuck-on food residue.
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Uncoated Cast-Iron Cookware
After a run through the dishwasher, your cast-iron skillet will likely be coated in residue or marred by corrosion. Uncoated cast iron is prone to “flash rust,” corrosion that occurs rapidly during the dishwasher’s drying or cool-down cycle. Wash your cast-iron pots and pans by hand, and dry them immediately afterward with a dish towel to prevent rust.
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Graters and Garlic Presses
The tiny holes in graters and garlic presses trap bits of finely chopped food that your dishwasher simply can’t remove. To clean these utensils, wash them or soak them right after use. Keep a dish brush handy to scrub food particles out of the holes in the grater.
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Recycled Plastic Food Containers
Tubs that hold cottage cheese or spreadable margarine are great for storing leftovers, but they turn into a twisted plastic mess in the dishwasher. The thin plastic simply can’t withstand high temperatures. If you want to reuse these containers, wash them by hand and let them dry on the dish rack.
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Copper Pans and Utensils
With its superior heat conduction, copper is a favorite of accomplished kitchen chefs. But this high-end material deserves some TLC that your dishwasher can’t provide. Wash copper pots and pans by hand to keep them from becoming dull and discolored. To remove the occasional tarnish, spread a little ketchup on the copper surface and let it sit for 15 minutes before wiping off and washing.
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Your stunning crystal champagne flutes contain lead oxide, which gives them clarity and brilliance. Unfortunately, the alkali in dishwasher detergent can leave them dull, hazed, or permanently etched. Always wash crystal stemware by hand, and for a super-clear appearance, gently rub with a soft dishrag dipped in vinegar.
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Collapsible rubber food containers make storage a snap, but harsh dishwasher detergent will dull and degrade them over time. This also holds true for those rubber gaskets found on blender jars and food processor bowls. Hand-wash all rubber to keep it in pristine shape.
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Nonstick Pans and Skillets
To make your nonstick cookware last longer, take the time to wash each item by hand. Harsh dishwasher detergents find their way into the tiniest nicks, degrading the underlying metal and shortening the life of your pans and skillets. Also take care to use only non-scratch spatulas and spoons while cooking to protect the surface of the cookware.
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If you want to recycle a glass food jar, remove the adhesive label before putting it in the dishwasher. The sticky substance can clog your machine’s drain, reducing its cleaning ability and potentially requiring a technician to fix the problem. Keep a bottle of nail polish remover handy to take off stubborn labels.
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Stand Mixer Paddle and Whisks
Don’t risk putting your mixer’s paddle, whisk, or dough hook in the dishwasher, unless the owner’s manual says the items are “dishwasher safe.” Many mixer accessories have a coating that can degrade with repeated contact with detergent.
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Save Your Stuff
To sum up: Stop ruining your cookware and utensils by putting them in the dishwasher. True, you'll need to spend a little more time hand washing dishes but you'll save your money in the long-run.
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