You might think silicone spatulas are dishwasher safe, but it’s not always that simple.
While silicone is known to handle heat well, years of wear and tear from dishwasher cycles can cause damage.
Believe it or not, I once lost three spatulas in one month! You’d think with their flexible material, they’d survive anything.
But one day, they just snapped in two.
Before you put yours in the dishwasher, stick around and I’ll tell you top things to know before putting yours in the wash.
Are silicone spatulas dishwasher safe?
Silicone spatulas are generally dishwasher safe, but there are a few factors to consider.
The high heat of the dishwasher should not damage quality silicone which can withstand temperatures up to 600°F.
However, the harsh detergents and high pressure jets of water can be damaging over time.
Repeated dishwashing is harder on silicone spatulas compared to hand washing.
Understanding Silicone and Its Properties
Silicone is a synthetic material made from silicon, oxygen, and other elements. (1)
It has some really useful properties that make it great to use in kitchen utensils like spatulas.
First, silicone is heat resistant.
It can withstand very high temperatures up to about 500°F without melting or burning.
This makes silicone perfect for use in baking, where you often need to handle hot pans and transfer food directly from the oven.
Silicone is also super flexible.
Spatulas and other utensils made from silicone bend easily without breaking.
The flexibility allows you to scrape every last bit of batter from a bowl or pan.
Finally, silicone is non-stick.
Food doesn’t cling to silicone like it does to metal or plastic.
That makes cooking and cleaning up a breeze.
The Pros and Cons of Silicone Utensils
Silicone utensils have some great advantages but also a few downsides to consider.
On the pro side, silicone is heat resistant, flexible, and non-stick, as discussed earlier.
Silicone utensils are also safe to use on non-stick pans since they won’t scratch the surface.
And they’re dishwasher safe for easy cleaning.
However, silicone can melt if left touching a hot stovetop or oven rack.
It also stains easily, so white silicone spatulas might discolor over time from tomato sauce or turmeric.
Silicone also lacks the heft and durability of metal utensils.
Many cooks opt for a combination, using metal spoons and tongs along with silicone spatulas and scraping tools.
This provides the best of both materials.
Sturdy metal to stir and flip, flexible silicone to mix batter and scrape every last bit from bowls and pans.
Silicone Spatulas: Can You Put Silicone in the Dishwasher?
Silicone spatulas are a popular kitchen tool, but can you safely wash them in the dishwasher?
Many factors determine if a silicone spatula will hold up or deteriorate in the dishwasher.
First, consider the quality and grade of the silicone.
Opt for food-grade silicone that is BPA-free, with no plastic fillers.
Pure, medical-grade silicone is extremely durable and heat resistant.
The cheap silicone found in discount spatulas may warp or crack in the dishwasher’s high heat.
Next, inspect the design.
A seamless, one-piece construction is best.
Seams and crevices can harbor bacteria and food particles, even after washing.
A solid, seam-free silicone spatula has no places for grime to hide.
For extra stability, choose a spatula with an internal stainless steel core.
The steel reinforcement prevents the neck of the spatula from bending or drooping after repeated dishwasher cycles.
Before regularly dishwashing a new silicone spatula, test a small area first.
Place an inconspicuous corner in the dishwasher for a full cycle and check for any cracks in the surface or changes to the color or texture.
This helps identify any weaknesses.
Hand washing is the gentlest cleaning method.
Avoid abrasive scouring pads, instead allowing the hot water and mild detergent to lift away any stuck-on foods.
Thoroughly dry the spatula after each wash.
While quality silicone spatulas can withstand the dishwasher, hand washing extends their lifespan considerably.
With high-grade materials and seamless construction, silicone spatulas can deliver years of dishwasher-safe convenience.
Comparing Silicone with Other Spatula Materials
Silicone spatulas are popular, but how do they compare to rubber, metal, and plastic spatulas? Here’s a breakdown:
- Rubber spatulas are flexible but not heat resistant. At high temps, rubber can melt or retain odors. Silicone has superior heat tolerance up to 600°F.
- Metal spatulas like stainless steel are durable and withstand heat. However, they are rigid, can scratch pans, and food sticks to the surface.
- Silicone is flexible and nonstick. Silicone maintains its shape and won’t hold smells. (2)
- Plastic spatulas are inexpensive but have low melting points. They can warp in high heat and absorb stains and odors.
In terms of hygiene, seamless silicone is better than materials with crevices that can trap bacteria.
Silicone’s nonporous surface prevents buildup.
For eco-friendliness, silicone spatulas are reusable and generally safe for the environment.
Other plastics can leach chemicals with extended use.
On the downside, silicone can stain from foods like turmeric.
It also lacks the heft of metal.
Combining silicone with stainless steel cores improves durability.
For high heat cooking and baking, silicone spatulas beat out most other materials.
Rubber, plastic, and nylon all fail in extreme temperatures that silicone can handle.
Tips for Safely Washing Silicone Spatulas
Silicone spatulas are convenient kitchen tools, but take care when washing them:
- Use mild dish soap and warm water. Avoid harsh detergents that can degrade silicone over time.
- Let soaked, stuck-on foods loosen for a few minutes before scrubbing. Avoid abrasive scouring pads.
- Use a bottle brush to thoroughly clean the inside of jar spatulas. Rinse well to remove any soap residue.
- Inspect for cracks, pits, and tears after each wash. Discard any spatulas showing wear or damage.
- Allow to air dry completely before storing. Silicone can easily trap water inside, leading to mold growth.
- For dishwasher use, place on the top rack only. High heat can warp silicone spatulas over many wash cycles.
- Hand wash delicately etched or embossed spatulas. Dishwashers can smooth out molded designs with prolonged use.
With proper care, inspection, and replacement when worn, silicone spatulas can last for years in any kitchen. Follow these tips to safely maximize the lifespan of this indispensable cooking tool.
Choosing the Best Silicone Spatulas for Your Kitchen
With so many silicone spatula options, how do you choose the right ones? Here are tips:
- Consider sizes. Get a small spatula for jars, a mid-size for bowls and pans, and a large one for big mixes. Varied sizes let you handle any task.
- Look for sturdy edges. Thin, floppy edges won’t scrape dough from bowl sides well. Opt for firm, tapered edges to reach small corners.
- Get heat resistance. Ensure the silicone can withstand at least 500°F for baking and pan flipping needs. Avoid cheap silicone that melts.
- Add staple shapes. A straight spatula, small spoonula, and angled spatula cover most jobs. Add specialty shapes like jar and icing spatulas later.
- Get beveled edges. Angled, sloped edges flex to apply even pressure across pan surfaces for the best non-stick flipping.
- Consider durability. Reinforced necks and stainless steel cores add structure and prevent warping.
- Check safety. Food-grade, BPA-free silicone ensures no chemicals leach into foods.
With high-quality materials, sturdy designs, and a selection of standard plus specialty shapes, you’ll be equipped to handle all your kitchen tasks.
Maintenance Tips for Silicone Utensils and Spatulas
Silicone is durable, but proper care extends its lifespan. Check out these tips below.
- Wash by hand using mild dish soap and warm water. Avoid bleaches, harsh detergents, and scouring pads.
- Use a bottle brush to thoroughly clean inside jar spatulas, silicone straws, whisks, etc.
- Inspect for damage like cracks, pits, and tears after each wash. Discard any compromised items.
- Allow to air dry before storing to prevent trapped moisture and mold growth.
- Avoid high heat from stovetops, burners, and oven racks when hot. Extreme direct heat can damage silicone.
- Dishwasher wash gently, using only the top rack. Avoid high-heat drying cycles.
- Check manufacturer instructions for any specific care recommendations.
With some basic maintenance habits, quality silicone can serve kitchen needs for years.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can I use silicone spatulas with nonstick cookware?
Silicone spatulas are generally safe to use with nonstick cookware.
Their soft, flexible nature helps prevent scratching and damage to the nonstick surfaces.
However, it’s essential to ensure your silicone spatula is in good condition and not damaged, as any exposed metal or rough edges could potentially harm the nonstick coating.
What is food-grade silicone, and why is it important for spatulas?
Food-grade silicone is a high-quality, safe material for kitchen utensils like spatulas.
It is non-toxic and does not leach harmful chemicals into your food.
When choosing a silicone spatula set, look for one made from food-grade silicone to ensure your kitchen tools are safe for cooking and baking.
How do silicone spatulas compare to rubber spatulas?
Silicone spatulas and rubber spatulas are both safe for nonstick cookware, but they have different properties.
Silicone spatulas are known for their heat resistance and durability.
Rubber spatulas, on the other hand, may not be as heat-resistant as silicone but can still be used for various kitchen tasks.
What are the benefits of using a silicone spatula set for baking and cooking?
Silicone spatula sets are versatile and suitable for both baking and cooking.
They are heat-resistant, flexible, and nonstick-friendly.
These spatulas come in various shapes and sizes, making them ideal for a wide range of kitchen tasks, from flipping pancakes to scraping batter from mixing bowls.
In the end, properly hand-washing silicone spatulas is the gentlest way to keep them in good condition.
While cluttering your sink isn’t ideal, replacing broken tools is even less so! Before your next cooking job, be sure to consider these insights on safekeeping your spatulas.
Stay tuned for my next guide where I’ll dish on the best ways to scrub even the most stubborn of messes without a dishwasher.
“How to Hand-Wash Like a Pro” will teach you expert techniques for sparkling dishes every time.
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Hi there! I’m a food enthusiast and journalist, and I have a real passion for food that goes beyond the kitchen. I love my dream job and I’m lucky enough to be able to share my knowledge with readers of several large media outlets. My specialty is writing engaging food-related content, and I take pride in being able to connect with my audience. I’m known for my creativity in the kitchen, and I’m confident that I can be the perfect guide for anyone looking to take their culinary journey to the next level.