Fine china dishes are gorgeous. They are richly designed, easy on the touch and add ambiance and sophistication to every meal, formal as well as informal. What holds people back from using china dishes more often is the hassle involved in cleaning them afterward. Simply put, it is a big pain in the neck. Once upon a time, bone china plates could only be washed by hand, which takes time and leads to breakage, but people were okay with that. But in our hectic, busy lifestyle, who has time to spend an hour nightly washing the dishes? And so the china remains in the cabinet, taken out only on for important events where nothing less will do.
The good news is that china manufacturers have begun recognizing how much the post-use cleanup hassle has hurt their business and have begun making many more dishwasher safe china patterns.. So there is a good chance that your pattern can be used safely in the dishwasher. The question is how to determine whether your pattern is safe or not.
There are three simple things to do first to help you make the determination that your china is dishwasher safe:
- Check the backstamp (or original box and papers).
- Check the company website or call them.
- Check replacement company sites for discontinued patterns.
Check The Backstamp:
Turn over a piece of your china set, preferably the dinner plate (which usually contains the most information). Many patterns, especially more recent ones will say on it “Dishwasher Safe”. Voila, now you know! If it doesn't, don't be discouraged, it still may be dishwasher safe. Continue to the next step.
Contact The Manufacturer.
Begin by visiting the company's website. If the pattern is still active there will be lots of information about ii, including it's dishwasher status. If it is a discontinued pattern, there is still a chance that there may be some information available.
If your internet search leads you nowhere, give the company a call. More often then not they'll be able to help you with active patterns. Discontinued china however, will be more difficult. For help with these patterns, see the next step.
Check Replacement Sites:
Some replacement dishes sites have information on all the older china patterns they carry, including whether or not they're dishwasher safe. The information found there is usually well researched and can be relied on.
What To Do Next:
If all of the above fails, then we enter the guessing game. There are certain general rules as to what will make it through the dishwasher and what won't, but remember these are not always applicable, so tread carefully here.
Patterns with metallic trims, gold or platinum, tend to fare the worst in the dishwasher. They can be completely rubbed off after just a few cycles. Heavily decorated patterns should also avoid the dishwasher, since the design can be easily erased. The rule of thumb is, the less design the pattern has the more likely it is to emerge safely from the dishwasher.
It is important to remember that how you use the dishwasher is crucial. Stack them carefully so that they don't chip or break. Use a mild detergent and avoid lemon-scented products, whose acid will eat at your plates. Lastly, allow the load to cool to room temperature before removing since it is more vulnerable while hot.
Experts agree that china in all circumstances will last longer and look better when washed by hand, even patterns that are certified dishwasher safe by the manufacturer. But don't let it hold you back from enjoying your beautiful china on a regular basis. If using the dishwasher means using your fine china more often then go for it. Your china may not last as long, but the memories you create at your family meals will last forever.