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How to Care for Dinnerware

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Washing Dinnerware in a Dishwashing Machine

Washing dinnerware in a dishwashing machine is not always recommended. Some models, especially older ones may jostle dishes and chip them, or the rubberized plastic coating on metal racks may have worn off allowing the metal in the racks to stain pieces.

Suzanne von Drachenfels in her book, "The Art of the Table", gives a complete account of how to use a dishwasher to clean dinnerware. Her recommendations include some of the following:

1. Be sure to load the dishwasher so that no two pieces touch each other - take into account the likely jostling caused by water jets, etc.

2. Check to make sure there are no loose pieces of glass or utensils in the bottom of the dishwasher that might be shot up into the racks. This also means that any small utensils should be secured in the appropriate racks.

3. For dishes with metal decorations, do not use the dry cycle as repeated heatings can weaken the metal and will make it soft, in any case, so that subsequent handling can scratch or mar it. For this reason, too, let metal dishes cool before drying with a lint-free cloth.

4. Sudden changes in temperature can cause cracks in glazing. This cracking is called crazing. When washing "crazed" dinnerware use only warm water and a mild detergent to avoid further crazing.

5. To avoid hard water build-up add water softener, as recommended, to the rinse cycle.

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