Can Porcelain Go In The Dishwasher?

By Cory White
Can Porcelain Go In The Dishwasher?

Are you unsure whether your delicate porcelain dishes can withstand the dishwasher’s cleaning power? Do not fret because the good news is that most modern porcelain can survive the dishwasher. However, it’s crucial to adhere to manufacturer instructions and be aware of potential risks associated with dishwashing your porcelain.

In this article, I will tackle if it’s safe to put porcelain in the dishwasher, understand the different kinds of porcelain, analyze the benefits and risks involved, and general porcelain care. Let’s get started!

Understanding Porcelain

Understanding porcelain and its characteristics sets the basis for knowing how to care for it. Porcelain, a form of strong yet elegant ceramic, is manufactured by heating materials, typically including clay in the form of kaolinite, to high temperatures. Known for its allure and strength, porcelain has found its place in our households in various forms.

  • Fine China, one of the best versions of porcelain, is known for its whiteness, translucence, and high strength.
  • Hard-paste porcelain, another popular type, originated in China and is defined by its exceptional durability.
  • Bone China is a porcelain variant rich in bone ash, giving it a unique, milky white color and excellent toughness.

Characteristics Making Porcelain Dishwasher Safe

Certain characteristics of porcelain contribute to its dishwasher safety, primarily related to its construction, glazing, and detailing.

The prime characteristic of dishwasher-proof porcelain is its sturdy construction. Porcelain molded and fired at high kiln temperatures tends to resist the heat and water pressure inside the dishwasher better than its softer and less heat-resistant counterparts.

Non-metallic glazing is another feature to look for when determining if your porcelain is dishwasher safe. Porcelain plates with metallic accents or trims might look stunning, but they are usually not suitable for dishwasher cleaning as the intensive heat and detergents may cause the metal to discolor or peel off.

The lack of hand-painted details is another essential factor. Porcelain pieces featuring hand-painted designs or accents often require gentler cleaning methods, as the dishwasher could cause these delicate designs to fade over time.

Manufacturer’s Instructions and Guidelines

Heeding the manufacturer’s instructions and guidelines is paramount for maintaining the longevity and luster of your porcelain pieces. Guidelines are devised to understand the specific composition and making of each porcelain type, and hence, provide the safest and most effective way to clean them.

Most often, these instructions are present on the packaging of your porcelain items. Always check and retain this information for future reference, so you don’t forget what’s safe for your porcelain.

Sometimes, instructions are directly printed on the porcelain items as well, usually at the bottom, or on the manufacturer’s website.

Risks Associated with Dishwashing Porcelain

hand-painted porcelain

While porcelain is a robust material, using a dishwasher for cleaning brings certain risks that every porcelain owner should be aware of, particularly concerning the specific elements incorporated within the piece.

Metallic Trim

If your porcelain has gold, silver, or any other metallic accents, they are at risk of getting tarnished due to the intense heat and detergents. The metal might also flake or peel off, losing its attractive appearance.

Hand-Painted Details

These beautiful features might suffer from fading or even chipping, as repeated dishwasher cycles can be brutal on these delicate details.

Delicate Porcelain

Delicate pieces or those with intricate design patterns may not withstand the heat and water pressure exerted by the dishwasher. The stress of a dishwasher cycle might result in hairline cracks or even cause pieces to shatter.

Special Cases: Christmas Plates, Antique Items

antique porcelain

Special porcelain pieces like Christmas plates and antiques often form a distinct category with unique care requirements, mainly due to their decorative elements and sentimental or monetary value.

• Christmas Plates: These festive porcelain dishes often feature intricate designs and hand-painted or metallic details to capture the holiday spirit. Since these details may not be dishwasher-friendly, it’s usually best to hand wash these plates to preserve their vibrant colors and patterns.

• Antique Items: Porcelain antiques are typically delicate and valuable. They might not be able to withstand the rigors of a dishwasher cycle without risk of damage or degradation. Also, antiques might have hidden cracks or weaknesses that might worsen on getting exposed to intense heat and water pressure.

Porcelain Care: Beyond the Dishwasher

handling porcelain

Protecting your porcelain extends beyond the dishwasher. Proper handling, storage, and cleaning practices significantly contribute to preserving your precious porcelain pieces.


Always treat your porcelain with care. Rough handling can lead to chipping or cracking, especially along the edges and delicate areas. Use both hands to hold larger pieces and avoid stacking too many items at once.


Be attentive when storing your porcelain. For items not used daily, ensure they are stored in a safe place free of moisture. Place softer materials between the plate stack to prevent scratches and other damage.


While dishwashers can be convenient, gentle hand washing often yields better results for porcelain items, especially those with fragile or intricate features. Use a soft cloth or sponge with warm water and mild detergent. Always avoid abrasive cleaning tools and materials.

Popular Questions: Microwave and Oven Use

A couple of popular questions often arise when dealing with porcelain items – Can they be used in a microwave or conventional oven? The answers for both largely depend on specific product details and manufacturer’s guidelines.

Microwave Use

Most porcelain products, unless specified otherwise by the manufacturer, are microwave-safe as they do not contain water-absorbing pores or any metallic attributes. However, if a porcelain piece has any metal adornments or if the manufacturer’s instructions clearly state not to use it in the microwave, adhere to this advice.

Oven Use

The rule for oven use is similar. Porcelain’s excellent heat resistance generally makes it safe for oven use. But again, always refer to the manufacturer’s instructions. Porcelain with metallic trims should never be placed in an oven as the metal can get heated and spark.


To wrap it all up, safe maintenance of porcelain pieces isn’t a one-size-fits-all rule, considering the variety and specifications of porcelain types available. Even when taking your porcelain beyond the dishwasher, it’s vital to practice careful handling, proper storage, and prudent cleaning. Remember, the elegance and durability of your porcelain is a legacy you’re maintaining — one that narrates stories of many shared meals and moments, worthy of the best care to go on creating more.

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