Can You Put Pottery in the Dishwasher?

May 22, 2022
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Putting Pottery in the Dishwasher Has Many Negative Consequences

Making a pottery piece can be a lot of work. You never want to see all of that craftsmanship and dedication go to waste. So, you must take all of the necessary steps to preserve your functional work of art with proper maintenance.

A pottery kiln with pottery pieces prior to firing

This includes learning how to safely clean your pottery without damaging the piece or your kitchen appliances. After you use your handmade piece for a meal, you may find yourself wondering whether or not you can place it in the dishwasher with the rest of your dinnerware.

We’ve done a copious amount of research on this topic to ensure that you take the proper steps when it comes to cleaning your pottery.

So, can you put pottery in the dishwasher? Read on to find out if they are dishwasher safe, what will happen if they are not, and how to safely maintain their clean shine.

Is Pottery Dishwasher Safe?

The quick answer is no. You will want to avoid putting your pottery into the dishwasher. There are very few cases where your pottery would survive the process, and you would likely lose a lot of your hard work.

Under no circumstances should you place pottery in the dishwasher

This fact is especially true for painted pieces. To retain the color of the paint, the pottery sits at a lower temperature in the kiln, so it will likely not hold up when it enters the dishwasher. Even materials that claim to be dishwasher safe will lose this feature when they are hand-painted due to high temperature.

Is Stoneware Dishwasher Safe?

Of all the types of pottery, stoneware pottery is among the most durable. Yet, you should even avoid putting most types of stoneware in the dishwasher. While it is technically dishwasher safe, it should not have moisture on its surface for as long as a dishwasher cycle would require. A quick hand-wash of your stoneware dish is a much better option.

Earthenware, especially, should never enter the dishwasher. Earthenware dishes and pieces are far too soft, and the creation process involves much less heat than other pottery forms.

Can You Put Clay Pottery in the Dishwasher?

Generally, it is best not to put clay pottery in the dishwasher.

Most materials for pottery are a derivative of clay, such as ceramics, stoneware clay, and earthenware. Some of these materials claim to be dishwasher safe, but a simple poor ceramic glaze or coat of bright paint can easily change that.

Glazed pottery pieces - gently clean by hand - don’t put them in the dishwasher

Any soft clay, such as earthenware or any soft handmade ceramics, are a certain no-go as far as putting it in the dishwasher, regardless of the glaze.

Can You Put Unglazed Pottery in the Dishwasher?

You should not put unglazed pottery in the dishwasher, as it will significantly damage the piece.

Not only can its porous nature lead to a few chips and breaks in the structure, but it will cause the pottery to absorb the dishwasher detergent.

The chemicals in the harsh detergent will cause the material of the pottery to lose its quality over time, and the build-up of these chemicals in the substance of the piece will also make it unsafe for you to eat or drink from.

If you do accidentally put unglazed pottery in the dishwasher and it managed to survive the wash, then just be aware that the damage may not be all that visible.

What Happens if You Put Pottery in the Dishwasher?

Putting pottery in the dishwasher without absolute certainty that it can safely go in the appliance can yield less than ideal results. Even if your pottery is deemed to be food safe, it shouldn't be put in the dishwasher.

Firstly, the water, high heat, and harsh chemicals could easily ruin all of the hard work that you or another potter put into the piece. Small chips, cracks, and significant breaks are expected consequences of putting soft or porous pottery into the dishwasher.

Sometimes, the damage is not so visible. Chemicals from the paint, the glaze, or the clay pot or container itself can leak, making the pottery unsafe to eat or drink from, especially if it takes consistent trips through the dishwasher.

Leaded glazes are a particularly bad choice for the dishwasher. Lead can seep out and affect other dinnerware and drinkware - creating a signficant health hazard.This obviously makes glazed pottery a poor choice to put through the warm water cycle of your dishwaser.

Beyond the damage to the piece itself, many people do not realize that a dishwasher is a fragile appliance. Placing an improper dish in the machine can cause a lot of damage to it.

If your pottery breaks in the dishwasher, then even the tiniest pieces of it can clog the filter or damage it.

To avoid all of this, simply opt for a trustworthy hand wash.

How To Safely Wash Pottery

The first step to cleaning your pottery after using it is first to make sure that it is not dirtier than it needs to be.

So, even when you are not regularly using the pottery, be sure to use a clean and gentle dusting cloth to wipe down the piece of pottery. This step will keep it in the best possible condition before you put it to use and need to clean off any remnants of food.

Then, when it comes time to wash it, consider the following tips:

  • Use a gentle dish soap rather than a harsh one that could infiltrate the porous material
  • Remove any rings or bracelets that could cause small scratches to the surface
  • Ditch the sponges or scrubbers of any kind, especially metal
  • Use your own clean hands (or an extremely soft cloth) and the warm soapy water to remove the dirt and grime from the pottery
  • Perform the washing quickly to avoid soaking the material in water for too long

If you abide by these tips, then your pottery should stay in excellent condition without running the risk of damaging it or the dishwasher.

Tips from Howcast on How to Safely Clean Pottery and Porcelain

Is There Any Type of Pottery that Can Go in the Dishwasher?

A few types of pieces can normally survive a trip through the dishwasher. Under most circumstances, hard ceramics (like ceramic mugs) and porcelain pottery should have no issue going through the dishwasher. This changes, of course, when the two materials are hand-painted.

High-fire and mid-fire stoneware that does not have a coat of brightly colored paint on it also claims to be dishwasher safe.

Kaolin clay pieces may or may not be able to go through the dishwasher safely. It is best to avoid this, though, as the research on kaolin pottery is not quite definitive.

The safety of pottery in the dishwasher comes down to the glaze and the paint. If you know that a piece of pottery has a proper glaze and not an underglaze, no vibrant paints, and a viable clay, then you should be good to go ahead and wash it.

If you find yourself questioning whether or not your piece can take a safe trip through the dishwasher, then it is best to hand wash it. Just because the material can go through the dishwasher safely does not mean that excessive use of the appliance over time will not cause the pottery to erode and lose quality.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is Stoneware Microwave Safe?

As always, check with the stoneware brand manufacturing company to be 100% sure, but stoneware is generally microwave safe. It is actually fired at extremely high temperatures during its creation and is therefore usually able to endure the high temperatures from oven and microwave cooking.

What are the Different Types of Pottery?

The most common forms of pottery are earthenware, porcelain, and stoneware. Earthenware is the most fragile while Stoneware is highly durable. Porcelain has an elegant, beautiful look and is frequently used as fine china.

Is Glazed Pottery Dishwasher Safe?

No. While glazed pottery may survive a few trips to the dishwasher without incident, there is a high likelihood that the glaze will eventually break down leading to the pottery being damaged. You should hand wash glazed pottery even if it is labeled as dishwasher safe.

Frank Salvatore

Hey there - I'm Frank Salvatore. I created this site as a comprehensive kitchen resource. You'll find everything you need to know about everything in your kitchen. From appliances to utensils and layout - it is covered on this site!

About Me
Frank Salvatore
I created this site as a comprehensive kitchen resource. You'll find everything you need to know about everything in your kitchen. From appliances to utensils and layout - it is covered on this site!
Learn More About Me
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