Aluminum changed color in Dishwasher – Reasons and Precautions

A dishwasher is undoubtedly the easiest way to clean your dishes. However, it has some limitations as well. You cannot wash all dishes in your dishwasher. Dishes like aluminum pans, large kitchen knives, brass, bronze, wood, China with gold leaf, and nonstick cookware don’t do well in dishwashers.

The most common problem reported by homeowners is with washing aluminum dishes. Many users report that aluminum dishes changed color after being put in a dishwasher.

In this article, we will discuss the causes behind aluminum dishes changing color after being washed in a dishwasher and how you can protect your aluminum dishes from fading.

Aluminum changed color in Dishwasher – Reasons and Precautions

Let’s begin our discussion with the reasons

Reasons behind Aluminum Changing Color in Dishwasher

Intense Heat: Dishwashers use intense heat to remove the grease and dirt from your dishes. High-temperature water causes the aluminum coating on dishes to disintegrate, resulting in fading and discoloring.

Corrosive Detergents: Using corrosive detergents in the dishwasher also contributes to color change on aluminum pots and pans. The surface of the aluminum dishes is delicate, and it cannot withstand a harsh detergent. Aluminum reacts with corrosive elements in the dishwasher and starts to fade.

The alkalinity of the detergent can cause white stains on your aluminum dishes. The problem is further aggravated if you have hard water at your home with calcium and magnesium also making their mark on the pans.

Precautions to Avoid Color Fading in Aluminum Dishes

Check for Dishwasher-Safe Symbol

Make sure you only put dishwasher-safe dishes in the dishwasher. A dishwasher-safe logo is embossed at the bottom of the pan or on its handle. If you aren’t sure about an aluminum pan being dishwasher safe, don’t put it in your dishwasher. Moreover, you can check it from the packaging or search on the manufacturer’s website.

Use an Eco-Friendly Detergent

Giving up on harsh and corrosive detergents helps prevent aluminum dishes from going bad. Most detergents mention the types of dishes that you can’t wash in them. An eco-friendly detergent with natural ingredients is way less corrosive than detergents containing phosphates. Moreover, they don’t harm septic systems and our environment as well.

For best dishwasher detergent for septic systems, click here.

Run your Dishwasher on Delicate Wash Cycles

Don’t run your dishwasher on hot water settings when loading aluminum dishes in it. Hot water removes the protective coating on aluminum dishes that leads to fading.

Hand-Wash Aluminum Dishes

Hand washing is the best and safest way to wash aluminum pots and pans. We know it can be very irritating when you have to remove the grime, oil, and leftovers with your hands, but there are tips that you can use to make your work easy. For example, wear dishwashing gloves, use slightly hot water to loosen up the stuck particles, and wash the dishes immediately after using them.

Final Words

You must not wash aluminum dishes in a dishwasher unless they are dishwasher safe. Furthermore, always use low-temperature cycles and eco-friendly detergents for washing aluminum pots and pans in your dishwasher. A little care can go a long way in increasing the life of your valuable dishes.


  • Stephen Powers

    Appliance repair guy from Washington. I am majorly experienced in dishwashers, water filters and refrigerators, AMA on my twitter account.

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