The irresistible beauty of epoxy art has rendered it the material of choice for contemporary crafts, and kitchenware is not left out. It is not uncommon to find plates, tumblers, spoons, chopping boards, and kitchen countertops covered in epoxy.
Epoxy finishes on utensils no doubt look gorgeous, and perhaps you are among the many looking forward to owning such adorable pieces. But before you buy or set your favorite kitchenware in epoxy, you must question its safety, mainly when cleaning.
Is epoxy dishwasher-safe? Epoxy is not dishwasher-safe and should not be exposed to high heat. The heat from the dishwasher can cause epoxy to warp, melt, and stick to other utensils and dishes. Epoxy is toxic when ingested.
But all hope is not lost. Just because epoxy is not dishwasher-safe doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy your epoxy kitchenware. Read on to find out more about the safety of epoxy in dishwashers and alternative ways of cleaning it to maintain its pleasant aesthetic.
Why Epoxy Is Not Dishwasher-Safe
Generally, dishwasher water is raised to about 120-150°F to clean dishes effectively. However, fully cured epoxy can not handle any temperature above 120°F. If you’re thinking about using epoxy as a binding agent but need something more heat-resistant, check out our article for the best heat-resistant glues instead.
Cured epoxy, when exposed to such high temperatures, becomes flexible but will harden up once again when cooled off. You are unlikely to notice the process.
But letting epoxy soften and then harden up consistently is not a good idea. Sometimes the epoxy does not go back to its initial form and will be permanently distorted or discolored.
You could live with a bit of discoloration and deformity. And for some people, that won’t keep them from tossing their epoxy utensils into the dishwasher.
But there are more valid reasons not to put your epoxy in the dishwasher. These are far more critical than maintaining the stunning appearance of your epoxy dishes and have everything to do with health.
Epoxy lacks high heat tolerance. Regular art epoxy can withstand heat up to 120°F only. Beyond that, it begins to collapse.
For this reason, the exposure of epoxy dishes to very hot food or drinks is highly discouraged. Not unless the interior surface that comes into contact with the food or drink is metal, wood, or another material free from epoxy.
Once you put this dish in the dishwasher, the epoxy could fall apart from whatever material it is held to. If visually unpleasant damage does not concern you, then this should.
Health concerns related to epoxy in the dishwasher include:
- Epoxy is toxic when ingested.
- The epoxy can reattach itself on other vessels or the same utensils but on the inner surface that was once free of epoxy and safe to serve hot meals in. You obviously won’t notice that and how unsafe it has now become.
- The epoxy can line parts of the dishwasher and slowly and secretly move to every other utensil that ever goes in the dishwasher later.
- The epoxy is drained out of the dishwasher into the drainage system, waterways, and the environment. This adversely affects the health of humans, plants, and animals.
Epoxy is toxic when ingested. Even food-safe epoxy pieces are only food-safe when fully cured to a rock-solid as stipulated by the FDA. This way, they have zero chances of getting into the food.
However, cleaning these pieces using a dishwasher puts you in imminent danger of ingesting epoxy later. The intense heat softens it and leaves traces of epoxy anywhere and could be consumed unknowingly.
How To Clean Epoxy Properly
Now the burning question is, if epoxy is not dishwasher-safe, then how do you clean epoxy dishes? You clean epoxy dishes by hand using warm water.
Almost all epoxy pieces can be washed with cool to warm water and mild dish soap. When cleaning your epoxy, try to be gentle. Avoid excessive scrubbing to prevent scuffing and marring of the silky smooth and shiny surface.
After cleaning and thorough rinsing, dry the epoxy piece immediately using a soft clean cloth. Moisture rarely affects epoxy, but if you leave epoxy undried, it could cause it to become dull and cloudy.
Whatever you do, the three things to avoid are hot water, abrasives, and alcohol or acetone. These three can ruin your epoxy, turning it into anything from hazy to complete malformation.
At this point, you must be wondering whether epoxy is even safe to use on dishes at all. Well, the majority of epoxies are food-safe and non-toxic once cured and can be used on dishes.
That said, they are only safe if they are adequately cured and comply with FDA safety requirements. So be sure to follow instructions carefully.
However, epoxy companies manufacture their products differently. And so, not all epoxy qualifies as safe for use on dishes. Checking the product for FDA approval is the surefire way of knowing that you are using food-safe epoxy.
Still, food-safe does not mean that the epoxy is dishwasher-safe. Once it melts, it could fall off, and consuming the microparticles is hazardous. Avoid dishwashers and hot foods on your epoxy dishes at all costs.
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