Are Ceramic Mugs Dishwasher-Safe? (Find Out Now!)

Matthew Mountain
by Matthew Mountain

Ceramic mugs are great for a lot of reasons. One can customize a ceramic mug to make it unique, and often ceramic mugs hold sentimental value. And of course, ceramic mugs make it easy to drink hot liquids like tea and coffee.

But ceramic mugs get dirty just like all other dishes, and this means that a ceramic mug will need to be cleaned eventually. If you have a dishwasher, you may consider popping the mug in and going on your way. But is this a good idea? Let’s find out!

Some ceramic mugs are dishwasher-safe, but others aren’t. You’ll want to pay attention to the kind of glaze the mug employs. If the glaze chips off, then this will make the mug unusable later on. Look for a dishwasher-safe designation on the bottom of your mug. Most commercially manufactured mugs include these nowadays.

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What to Know About Ceramics & Dishwashers

If you put ceramic pottery in the dishwasher, then there’s always the chance that it’s going to get cracked. This is more likely if your dishes are not packed securely in the dishwasher, as something could dislodge and bang into your ceramic item, possibly breaking it.

If a mug is ornate and featuring a lot of edges, it could get damaged a lot more easily in the dishwasher. One must remember that the dishwasher is for dishes—not sculptures.

One must keep an eye out for softer ceramic mugs, as well as for earthenware and some stoneware. These items include less-refined clay, and they’re often fired at a lower temperature too. Therefore, they’re not only more porous but more fragile as well.

When an item is too porous, it’ll absorb water in the dishwasher, and this may later affect eating or drinking. Also, if the temperature is too hot, the item may chip, crack, or break completely. There’s also the chance that dishwasher soap could get inside the ceramic item, and if you’re drinking out of a mug that’s been affected in this way then you’re in for a bad taste.

Keep Glaze in Mind

A mug is usually glazed to make it more decorative, but often the glazer doesn’t pay a lot of mind to future functionality. If your mug is in a hot and humid environment—like the one inside a dishwasher—then its glaze can get worn down quite quickly.

Your mug may only have minor blemishes after this, but in the more likely scenario flakes of glaze will chip off onto food or into drinking water. In this instance, you may be consuming toxic chemicals because you’re consuming the glaze. If you notice chip-like particles in your mug, then it’s best to get a replacement, as it’s likely the glaze has already been compromised.

How to Know if Something Is Dishwasher-Safe

If you want to know if a dish is dishwasher-safe, the easiest thing you can do is check underneath to see if there’s a dishwasher-safe emblem. Most commercially produced ceramics will include some sort of dishwasher-safe designation. If you’re dealing with earthenware or stoneware, it’s likely you’re not going to find a dishwasher-safe label, so play things safe and refrain from using the dishwasher.

Don’t forget about the glaze. Unless you know what specific glaze was used, you’re not going to know how this will be affected in the dishwasher. Decorative pieces tend to be fired on low temperatures, and this is why they can be so colorful. But the downside of this is that these pieces are often not dishwasher-friendly. For this reason, if you see bright colors, keep them out of the dishwasher.

Test to See if a Mug Is Dishwasher-Safe

If you don’t know a mug’s ability to withstand the dishwasher, you can run some tests to determine this. Keep in mind that this is a risky task, because if it fails, you will have a ruined mug—before the dishwasher even has an opportunity to mess it up. If you’re really determined to know if something is dishwasher-safe, you could have it professionally tested, and this will ensure there’s no damage.

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When It’s Better to Wash a Dish by Hand

Washing a dish by hand may be better than using the dishwasher. It will prevent the dish from bumping into other things and getting scratched, and when you’re washing a dish by hand, you also limit how much time the dish is exposed to water.

If you’re dealing with unglazed ceramic mugs, you should stay away from cleaning with soap, as this will affect the taste of liquids. Warm water can be used to clean out the mug, or you can use a baking soda paste. Most individuals don’t use unglazed ceramics anymore, mainly because cleaning is typically ineffective.

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Matthew Mountain
Matthew Mountain

Matt loves everything DIY. He has been learning and practicing different trades since he was a kid, and he's often the first one called when a friend or family member needs a helping hand at home. Matt loves to work with wood and stone, and landscaping is by far his most favorite pastime.

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