Is Melamine Dishwasher Safe? Myths, Tips & Tricks To Remember

melamine dishwasher

All dinnerware is exposed to lots of stress, whether it comes to knives scratching dishes or food left overnight. It takes forever to clean stuff, but luckily, a dishwasher can get the job done in no time. It is not always perfect, but in most cases, you will get your dishes ready to go again. However, there are a few restrictions here and there.

Most dishes can go into your portable dishwasher. Then, there are more expensive items that require cleaning by hand. Whether it comes to a professional knife or some fancy dishes, you probably ask yourself – can they go into the dishwasher? Is melamine dishwasher safe? How do I look after my fragile dishes then? Fortunately, there are specific answers for most of these questions, so there is no guessing involved.

Reasons behind those stains on your melamines

Melamines are fragile – no doubts about it. Melamine in plates requires some extra care. Some of these dishes come with a few instructions on the bottom. Just like your favorite shirts have labels that tell you how to look after them, some melamine dishes come with similar instructions if you turn them around and check the markings on the bottom.

Most of them cannot be used in a microwave, for example. They are fragile and can crack without too much effort. Plus, they get really hot, even if the food is still relatively cold. Some dishes come with no instructions at all – at this point, you have to do your homework. Unfortunately, even if you do find those instructions, they are not always specific in terms of maintenance.

All in all, those problematic stains on melamine are given by the lack of care. Melamines cannot be treated like other dishes due to being prone to stains and cracks. The main reason behind those stains is because certain foods are left there to dry. Whether it comes to sauces or particular staining foods, they dry and leave durable or even permanent marks or melamine plates – tomatoes, blackberries and so on.

A few simple steps can prevent these stains from popping up. Most importantly, make sure you remove those foods before they dry out. Are you done eating? Fine, rinse your dishes, and clean them. You can clean them by hand, but you can also throw them into the dishwasher. Yes, they are dishwasher safe, but they have to be cleaned right away.

Lots of people do not clean and use melamine in the dishwasher for this reason. Such dishes must be cleaned right away. Unless you have some guests and you can fill up the dishwasher, it is not worth running it just for a couple of plates. Therefore, lots of people clean melamine dinnerware by hand straight away, rather than let sauces and stains dry in the dishwasher.

Melamine Plates

Protein buildups on melamine dinnerware

Protein buildups are often overlooked and no one really cares about such issues, but they can and will cause issues in your melamine bowls. In the popular misconception, buildups are referred to as staining. However, these stains are normally caused by the minerals in hard water. The process normally occurs as you use the dishwasher – one of the reasons wherefore some people avoid putting melamine in the dishwasher.

Magnesium and calcium are the most common minerals that can affect melamine. When mixed with protein from all the food leftovers and sauces, these buildups stick to melamine dishware. With time, your dishes will get a cloudy yellow appearance from food. It is essential to identify such problems right away, as they occur. Otherwise, you may end up with permanent stains.


Simple steps to avoid staining melamine tableware

The general idea is simple – melamine is a chemical that will get stained from acidic foods. The issue can be prevented. Even if you actually have guests, take a minute to put your dishes in the sink and rinse it. It may be a bit unusual to start doing dishes between two courses. You do not have to. Make sure the melamine dishes are soaked in water – the general idea is to prevent sauces and food particles from drying on the surface.

Presoaking melamine tableware is just as efficient. You should do it on a regular basis. Not only does it prevent staining, but it also helps maintaining the luster. Rinse everything, then soak dishes for about 15 minutes to ensure there are no leftovers. You can then go on with your regular washing procedure.

When using a dishwasher, you should start it right away. Get the dishes in and run the cycle. It is also important to ensure the appliance works properly. Make sure the levels of chemicals and the temperature are actually suitable for melamine. Luckily, there are no special rules for melamine, so what works for this material will work for most dishes and vice versa.

Already got stains on your melamine dishes?

If you already have stains and you have decided to care too late, you can still get rid of some of them. However, there will be particular stains that can last forever. Oxygen releasing compounds seem to be the best products in commerce. There are lots of them out there – just make sure you get one specifically developed for dishes.

Then, you can also come up with your own cleaning solution. Fill the sink with warm water, get some basic dishwashing granules and throw them in. If you have stained melamine dishes, leave them in there for at least four hours. If you have a tough stain, you can leave dishes in there overnight.

Use a soft pad to clear the stains before washing them properly. Make sure the pad is not abrasive. It should be soft and mild. Otherwise, it will scratch the surface and ruin the luster.

There are a few contraindications when trying to clean stains on melamine. Bleach, metallic scouring pads, steel wool or even those green scrubbing surfaces can damage your dinnerware. The surface will scratch and the luster will be gone.

Frequently asked questions

Dealing with melamine will inevitably raise some question marks if you truly care for it. To lots of people, it is nothing but just another material for their dishes – it comes and goes. To others, maintaining the luster and preventing stains is essential.


Is melamine microwave and dishwasher safe?

No and yes. Melamine is dishwasher safe – just make sure you start the cycle right away. Whether you clean dishes in a dishwasher or by hand, do not let food dry on it or it can cause permanent stains. When it comes to microwaves, melamine can get very hot while food is still quite cold. Some manufacturers mark dishes on the bottom with a crossed microwave, meaning the material is not dishwasher safe.

Not only can it crack, but it can be dangerous. There are some health risks associated with melamine and risk assessment is mandatory. It is toxic and can lead to dangerous affections, so keep it out of your microwave.


Is melamine toxic?

Melamine is toxic when used incorrectly and can lead to kidney stones or even kidney failure. Obviously, every material can get there, including plastic or glass. Just make sure you do not ingest parts and keep it out of the microwave.


Is melamine safer than plastic?

Yes and no. It is safer for yourself and for nature if used correctly, but it can also be dangerous if used incorrectly.


How do you clean melamine dishes?

Whether you do it by hand or in a dishwasher, there is one thing to remember. Melamine can get stained fairly fast, so the number one rule involves clearing all the food and rinsing dishes straight away. Make sure food particles and sauces do not get enough time to dry or they can cause problematic stains.


As a short final conclusion, is melamine safe in the dishwasher? Absolutely. Lots of people clean their melamine tableware in dishwashers and they can take years of everyday uses. Sure, just like all other dishes, they may lose their luster with time or get some scratches from knives and forks, but this is perfectly normal.

What truly matters when cleaning melamine is to get rid of food right away. If food dries on the dishes, it is likely to cause unaesthetic stains, so get them cleaned as soon as you are done eating.

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