Can You Put Tupperware in the Dishwasher?

As more people opt for a healthier diet in 2022, meal prep is gaining popularity, and consequently, food storage containers are expected to be used more frequently in refrigerators.

When it’s time to clean up and get back to your routine, you may wonder if it’s safe to put your Tupperware in the dishwasher, especially if you don’t like handwashing and have a pile of plastic containers to wash.

If your plastic container bears a label indicating that it is safe for dishwashers, then you can put it in the dishwasher without any worries. However, to avoid any damage caused by heat, make sure to place it on the top rack of your dishwasher and dry it manually.

Although it may be practical to put your food storage containers in the dishwasher, especially if they are labeled as dishwasher-safe, there are some specific details to keep in mind when dealing with plastic materials.

How Can You Tell if a Plastic Container Is Dishwasher Safe?

Typically, the bottom of plastic food storage containers displays symbols and other markings that indicate their suitability for dishwasher use, which eliminates any uncertainty about how to effectively sanitize your container.

The easiest way to identify if a container is safe to put in the dishwasher is by looking for a written message that says “Dishwasher Safe”. However, deciphering the images that indicate dishwasher compatibility can be more challenging, but they typically feature dishes or glasses being washed with water.

When the water component is depicted as lines above the dishes, it indicates that the container must be positioned solely on the top shelf, whereas if the water appears as droplets on the dishes, then it is safe to place the container on either the top or bottom shelf.

Other designations that are helpful for using your plastic containers include:

Microwave safe

When storing leftovers in plastic containers and planning to reheat them, it is crucial to check for the “Microwave Safe” label or a symbol with squiggly lines either inside a microwave or above a dish.

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If your Tupperware is damaged or worn out, it’s recommended to replace it with a new one instead of using it in the microwave.

Freezer safe

Ensure that your container is suitable for long-term food storage in the freezer by checking for a label or symbol indicating “Freezer Safe” or a snowflake, as many containers are not designed for this purpose.

Why Can It Be Bad to Put Plastic in the Dishwasher?

Although there is a dishwasher safe symbol on the bottom of your Tupperware, it is common advice to avoid putting plastic in the dishwasher.

The reason for the advice not to put Tupperware in the dishwasher is based on logic, but it is somewhat outdated. In the past, many plastic containers were made with a harmful chemical called BPA that could seep into food after being heated in the dishwasher.

Although the aforementioned substance is no longer permitted, there are additional aspects to contemplate prior to putting your plastic items in the dishwasher.

Initially, it is crucial to acknowledge that the dishwasher safe symbol on your plastic container solely implies that the container can resist warping, despite its presence.

Nevertheless, this does not imply that the Tupperware is entirely resistant to high temperatures as plastic can liquefy when subjected to excessive heat.

The dishwasher’s heating element, situated at the base of the machine, can attain temperatures ranging from 130 to 170 degrees Fahrenheit.

The melting point of plastic varies depending on its fabrication, but typically it will melt when subjected to temperatures of 100 degrees Fahrenheit or higher.

Plastic containers are typically labeled as dishwasher safe on the top rack only to avoid melting due to exposure to the heating element.

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Additionally, plastic containers may not undergo as thorough cleaning and drying in the dishwasher compared to manual washing.

Plastic is a highly absorbent material that has the tendency to retain any substance it comes in contact with, resulting in discoloration and staining.

If the Tupperware container gets flipped during the dishwasher cycle, its lighter weight compared to other dishes may prevent the inside from being properly cleaned.

Generally, washing and drying your plastic tupperware by hand is the most effective method while reducing the possibility of heat damage.

Although plastic containers labeled as “dishwasher safe” can be safely washed in the dishwasher, it is recommended to avoid using the dishwasher repeatedly for these containers to prevent heat damage.

Where Do Plastic Containers Go In the Dishwasher?

It is recommended to put plastic containers on the top rack of the dishwasher to prevent melting, and placing them face-down will ensure proper rinsing of any food particles that may have been absorbed, causing staining.

It is safe to put all non-plastic dishware, pots, and pans on the lower shelf of the dishwasher as it can act as a protective layer between the heating element and any plastic items that may fall down.

As long as they are loaded correctly, plastic containers can be effectively cleaned in the dishwasher, but drying them completely during a regular dishwasher cycle can be challenging.

Make sure to dry your plastic container by hand after washing it in the dishwasher before storing or using.

Which Tupperware Containers Are Best? 

In the past, Tupperware was a well-known brand for plastic food storage containers rather than a generic term.

The brand Tupperware has become so well-known that many people now use it as a generic term for food storage containers, regardless of the actual brand.

Currently, there are various brands on the market – here are a few of the most favored by those who purchase food storage containers.

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Tupperware

Despite being a classic, this original brand of plastic food storage still creates new and inventive products to cater to particular requirements, including vented lids for microwaving, sets for traveling, and designs for different seasons.

Although Tupperware is known for its high-quality products, it may be a pricier option. However, if you’re seeking a durable food storage container that can be adequately cleaned and maintained, Tupperware could be an excellent choice.

Rubbermaid

Rubbermaid provides a cost-effective alternative with various sizes and sets of plastic containers. Although it may discolor and lacks durability like other plasticware, it remains a favored choice.

If you tend to dispose of your plastic containers after leaving them in the fridge for too long, or if you often bring food to loved ones and don’t want to be concerned about getting back a costly container, then Rubbermaid could be a suitable choice.

Snapware

Snapware is a convenient option for storing food as it has a locking feature that securely seals the container and prevents leaks. Additionally, it can be easily stacked and has a durable structure that may offer long-term value. If you are someone who prefers an organized pantry or tends to handle containers roughly, Snapware would be an excellent choice.

Today, there are numerous plastic food storage containers to choose from, each with its advantages and disadvantages, and the most suitable option for you will vary based on your requirements.

Think about your needs in terms of durability, ease of use, and creativity.

Regardless of your choice for meeting your meal prep and food storage requirements, it is crucial to be attentive while cleaning it to prevent any harm and maintain its quality.

You can also check this video about “Can You Put Tupperware in the Dishwasher?”

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