Can Stainless Steel Bowls Go In The Dishwasher? They Discolor?

Image of a woman putting stainless steel bowl in a dishwasher

It’s well known that stainless steel is an incredibly durable substance, but certain manufacturers advise against putting their wares in the dishwasher. So, can stainless steel bowls go in the dishwasher?

Yes, stainless bowls can go in the dishwasher. They are durable enough to be washed in the dishwasher. However, harsh detergents or sharp metals can damage the protective surface of stainless steel. Moreover, certain detergents or metals can turn the stainless steel blue because of its reactivity.

Having said that, let’s find out if stainless steel bowls and other kitchenware can safely withstand the dishwasher and other helpful information.

Can You Really Put Stainless Steel Bowls In The Dishwasher?

This is one of the most common questions regarding stainless steel and the dishwasher, not only because of the material but also because of the bowl’s shape.

If we put the bowl in the dishwasher, is it even going to get clean?

The entire purpose of stainless steel is to be easy to clean and resistant to rust and other corrosion. Sounds pretty safe.

The problem is stainless steel comes in varying quality, and even the best stainless steel doesn’t like being in the humid environment of the dishwasher for an extended period of time.

But as far as this material goes, bowls are the most durable items, and you don’t have to worry about them.

They should last you for decades to come.

Later on, we’ll talk about other common problems with stainless steel and dishwashers besides humidity so that you can be prepared for them.

As for the shape, you’ll give your bowl the best chance at being cleaned by facing the dirty side toward the jets, so usually pointing them downward.

Are Stainless Steel Pots And Pans Okay In The Dishwasher?

The majority of experts and experienced homeowners have come to the consensus that you can absolutely put your stainless steel pots and pans in the dishwasher just like your bowls and utensils.

The only thing you have to be specifically careful with regarding pots and pans is that they are sensitive.

If you put them too close to other dishes that are rough, like utensils, you might end up scratching the surface of the pots and pans.

A useful tip when placing them in the dishwasher is to put them on the bottom rack, messy side down, and away from the silverware holder for the most effective cleaning and least risk of scratches.

Recommended Further Reading:

Are KitchenAid Stainless Steel Bowls Dishwasher-Safe?

When in doubt, you should always refer to the manufacturer’s manual or website to find out if they are dishwasher safe.

It’s likely they will have the answer for you because dishwashers are such a common appliance.

To make the search quick for you, we can tell you that most KitchenAid wares are dishwasher safe.

Since 2018 KitchenAid has focused on making dishwasher-safe attachments and bowls.

However, it’s recommended that you wash the mixing bowl by hand every now and then to spare them from too much humidity or any harsh detergents you may have.

That will ensure your KitchenAid bowl lasts even longer. Hopefully, you’ll even be able to pass it down to someone else!

Why Does Stainless Steel Discolor In The Dishwasher?

Discoloration can happen, but it’s not usually the fault of your stainless steel items.

If this material has any fault, it’s its reactivity with chemicals.

The usual culprit is the detergent you use.

Some detergents have chemicals that react negatively with the stainless steel in the dishwasher, causing them to change color.

If you notice your steel is changing color to a blue hue, try switching your detergent.

Surfactants are another culprit. If you’ve never used a surfactant, it’s something you use while rinsing your dishes to “thin out” the water, allowing it to rinse dishes without leaving water deposits.

It usually goes into the second compartment we see in dishwashers, next to the detergent compartment.

The second common culprit is actually other dishes.

Stainless steel is typically an alloy made with a combination of chromium and iron.

It’s this chromium layer on top that makes the steel corrosion-resistant.

But if the stainless steel is washed with copper, chrome-steel, or silver-plated dishes at the same time, they’ll react with each other and cause discolored spots.

Science is fascinating, isn’t it?

Related Further Reading:

Other Problems To Watch Out For

For the best effect on your stainless steel, be sure to first scrub off the leftover food.

“But isn’t that the dishwasher’s job?” we ask.

Well, yes, but leaving food on your stainless steel will eat away at the polish, not just making your steel dull but ultimately making it weaker.

It also makes it harder for the dishwasher to clean thoroughly.

Also, be careful not to use something that’s really abrasive, like steel wool or particularly rough detergents.

You’ll scratch the surface and protective chromium layer.

If you are experiencing rust, it’s likely the rust is on your sharp utensils, right?

The reason for this is knives, forks, etc., are made with hard steel so that they stay sharp, but this hard steel isn’t as effective in preventing corrosion as stainless steel.

We also touched on humidity earlier.

Humidity and stainless steel don’t mix well because humidity can cause the steel to corrode.

Metals corrode much more easily in humid conditions because the water-filled air gets attracted to the oxygen and electrons in the metal.

Typically, the stainless steel’s protective chromium layer is enough to prevent rust.

Chromium is a transition metal on the periodic table, which means it’s not primarily reactive and kind of ignores the water in the air.

Still, scratches on the surface caused by abrasive detergents, materials, and dishes, would make the chromium’s job a little tougher.

How to Prevent Stainless Steel From Turning Blue

Making sure you prevent the stainless steel from discoloring really comes down to three things you need to do:

  1. Wash off salt and foods with high acidity before putting them in the dishwasher.
  2. Wash stainless steel items separately to prevent reactions.
  3. Don’t use the strongest washing detergent available on the market.

If your dishes still get blue spots, you can try soaking them in pure vinegar for ten minutes, followed by thoroughly rinsing and drying them.

That should help restore your dishes to their original color.

Interesting Further Reading:

One Last Thing…

On the whole, stainless steel is one of the best materials to have your kitchen supplies made out of.

You can drop it, and it will stay in one piece, put it in the oven, and it won’t melt, and cake it with the stickiest dough known to man, and you just have to soak it.

But while very reliable, stainless steel is not invincible.

If you want to take care of your stainless steel equipment and dishes, you must remember to rinse and wash gently, wash them separately from other reactive metals, and be willing to wash them by hand routinely.

Finally, remember that all dishwashers and detergents are different. Some are going to be more powerful than others.


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