The topic of “dishwasher safe” has suffered much debate. Why? Because many plastics label themselves as such, yet think about it: If we don’t recommend heating plastic in the microwave, should we be heating it in the dishwasher?
Dishwashers, for efficiency purposes, use extremely hot water—your dishes wouldn’t come out so clean if they didn’t. And if the water in the dishwasher is heated to high temperatures, isn’t it feasible that leaching of chemicals in plastic could occur?
We believe that yes, this is definitely something to think about!
Not only is the water temperature a concern, but many people also use the “heated dry” option, which dries your dishes at a high temperature so they’re spotless. No matter how you look at it, the heat factor is a huge issue.
Now for the flip side: The controversy falls on whether or not we should be concerned since there’s no food in the container during the process. Some researchers suggest that the breakdown of the plastic creates a potential risk for contamination to your food when the containers are used. Others think it’s not a problem.
To be on the safe side, wash all plastic by hand!
Now, if you make the switch to glass containers, you can use your dishwasher all you want! And if you purchase a few new, BPA-free containers for dry snacks for the kids to carry in the car, you can designate these to NOT go in the microwave or dishwasher. It’s not such a big commitment to wash just a few plastic items daily; if you mostly use glass for cooking and eating, the dishwasher can still be your friend (and you may love opening the dishwasher and not having all that tipped-over plastic sitting in there full of water!).
While there isn’t concrete evidence at this point that plastic and the dishwasher must be enemies, we recommend—as always—the path of playing it safe. After all, if you knew that by washing a few plastic dishes you could potentially reduce your family’s risk for cancer, wouldn’t you make the change?