Can Tupperware Go In The Dishwasher?

By Cory White
Can Tupperware Go In The Dishwasher?

Have you ever wondered if your Tupperware is dishwasher-safe? The answer is yes! Most Tupperware can go in the dishwasher, but it’s important to check the label for instructions first. Some Tupperware containers are safe to clean in the dishwasher, while others may warp or become damaged.

In this article, I will tackle understanding your Tupperware labels, potential benefits, risks, and considerations when cleaning Tupperware using this popular kitchen appliance. Let’s get started!

Understanding Tupperware Labels

First and foremost in handling Tupperware appropriately is understanding the labels. These labels offer important information about the safe use and maintenance of your Tupperware items. Specific symbols are used to describe the dishwasher’s safety status.

  • The dishwasher-safe symbol usually resembles a square box with some vertical lines resembling water droplets. If your Tupperware displays this symbol, it means you can freely use the dishwasher without fearing any damage.
  • If you find a symbol resembling a hand washing a dish, it signifies that the item is not dishwasher-safe and should be hand-washed instead.
  • Sometimes, there may be a symbol that looks like a glass and a fork, which indicates that the container is safe for food use.

Tupperware and Dishwashers: A History

Having identified the importance of Tupperware labels, let’s now delve into how and when Tupperware became dishwasher safe, giving us a brief history.

Until the late 1970s, dishwashers were not as common in households, and the majority of Tupperware was designed for handwashing only. However, as dishwashers grew popular, Tupperware recognized the need to produce products that could withstand the heat and rigorous washing cycles of these machines.

The company began researching and introducing dishwasher-safe Tupperware in the 1980s. The move was necessitated by the growing demand for ease and convenience in the kitchen and the overall lifestyle changes. Tupperware responded by incorporating heat-resistant plastics in manufacturing. Such materials could endure the high temperatures of the dishwasher without melting or warping, marking a significant evolution in the production of Tupperware.

Plastic Placement in Dishwashers

empty dishwasher

Now that we have gathered some historical insights into Tupperware, let’s talk about an important practice when washing them in a dishwasher – their placement. Although many Tupperware pieces are dishwasher safe, where you put them in the dishwasher matters.

  • The top rack of the dishwasher is the place to put your Tupperware. This area is further away from the heat source, which helps prevent the plastic from warping or melting.
  •  Placing Tupperware on the bottom rack exposes it to intense heat and high-pressure water jets, which could severely damage the containers.
  • The cutlery basket is also an ideal place for lids as it secures them and prevents them from being tossed around during the wash cycle.

The BPA Concern

bpa-free plastic

Shifting our focus to a health-related aspect of Tupperware – let’s discuss BPA or Bisphenol A. This chemical is often used in the production of plastics, including some Tupperware products.

Research indicates that BPA is a cause for concern, as it may have detrimental effects on the brain and prostate gland of fetuses, infants, and children. Moreover, it has the potential to impact children’s behavior.

Exposure to high temperatures, like those in a dishwasher, can cause containers made with BPA to break down, potentially releasing this chemical into your food.

Most Tupperware products today are BPA-free. However, some older versions of Tupperware might still contain this substance.

For reassurance about what you’re using, look for products labeled ‘BPA-free’. It’s always a good idea to examine your current plastic containers for any signs of damage, like cracks or cloudiness, which could indicate a breakdown in the plastic and a likelihood of BPA leakage if present.

Identifying Dishwasher Safe Containers

After understanding the BPA concern, a question arises: how can we identify if a Tupperware container is safe for dishwasher use?

  • Check for any label or symbol on your Tupperware that indicates it is dishwasher safe. This typically looks like a box with vertical lines representing water droplets.
  • Don’t assume that if one Tupperware product is dishwasher safe, all are. Products even from the same brand can differ depending on the model and makeup of the plastic.
  • If you still have the package or product pamphlet, look for any information about washing methods there.
  • When in doubt, reach out! Most companies have customer service lines or websites where you can ask about specific models of Tupperware.

The Downside to Dishwashing Tupperware

While the convenience of popping your Tupperware in the dishwasher may seem appealing, there are a few downsides you should be aware of.

Plastic Warping

Over time, the heat and detergent in the dishwasher can cause the plastic to warp, which may lead to a less secure fit of the lid and potentially spills.


Constant dishwasher use could cause your Tupperware to discolor or develop a cloudy appearance, particularly if you’re using harsh detergents.

Soapy Taste or Odor

Some Tupperware items might retain a soapy taste or odor after dishwasher use. Rinse them thoroughly to avoid this.

Faster Degradation

Even dishwasher-safe Tupperware might not hold up if it’s going through the dishwasher daily. The intense heat and water pressure may cause it to degrade faster.

Other Common Tupperware Queries

reusable plastic containers
reusable plastic containers

Having looked at dishwashing considerations, let’s tackle a couple of other common Tupperware queries, namely, whether Tupperware is safe for freezer and microwave use.

Freezer Safe 

Most Tupperware containers are safe for freezer use. Look for a symbol that looks like a snowflake or the term ‘freezer safe’ printed on the container.

Microwave Safe

Similar to dishwashing, not all Tupperware containers are safe for use in a microwave. A microwave-safe symbol, usually a set of wavy lines, indicates that you can use that container in the microwave. Always remove the lid before microwaving to prevent the build-up of pressure.

Alternatives to Tupperware

If you’re reconsidering Tupperware due to all the considerations and possible downsides of dishwasher use, don’t worry—there are plenty of alternatives on the market.

  1. Rubbermaid is one such alternative. Known for its durability, many Rubbermaid containers are dishwasher-safe. They also have a variety of products designed to handle high heat and resist stains and odors.
  2. Snapware offers a range of both glass and plastic food storage containers, all of which are dishwasher safe. Glass containers are also sturdy and generally longer-lasting than plastic.
  3. Other brands worth considering for dishwasher-safe containers include Glasslock, Pyrex, and Lock & Lock.


In conclusion, understanding your Tupperware—from deciphering its labels to knowing its history and how to place it in a dishwasher—can significantly affect its longevity and effectiveness. Paying attention to dishwasher safety markings, correct placement in the dishwasher, and potential BPA presence can help you maintain the quality of your Tupperware or any other plastic container.

Leave a Comment