Resin, a hard synthetic material produced by polymerization, is commonly used to make various products such as dishware, cups, and it can also serve as an effective sealant for wooden items.
If you have some items made from resin in your kitchen, you may be wondering:
Is resin dishwasher-safe? No, resin is not dishwasher-safe. Resin cannot handle the high heat of the water in your dishwasher and can end up melting and even leaving particles all over your dishes and dishwasher.
In this article, we’ll talk all about the properties of resin and why it’s a bad idea to put it in the dishwasher will all of your other dishes.
Is Resin Dishwasher Safe?
The short answer is: no, resin is not dishwasher-safe.
Epoxy resin, also called polyester resin or polyepoxide, is a two-part liquid plastic that you mix with hardener and catalyze to create a strong, rigid material. Resin can be used in many different applications such as jewelry making, woodworking, and even constructing the outer hulls of boats.
Since it is a highly waterproof and durable material, many people are surprised that it is not dishwasher-safe.
This is because even when the resin is completely cured, it can still soften when met with high temperatures. As you know, your dishwasher uses pretty intense heat – 120-150°F – to effectively wash and sanitize your dishes.
When working with resin, you’ll notice that it will take a few days to become completely ‘cured’ – meaning the resin hardens and becomes waterproof. However, this cured state can be ‘reversed’ in a sense when it is exposed to heat. This usually happens around 120°F.
If you live in a warm climate and have seen plastic melt under extreme heat, then this problem is probably no stranger to you.
Since dishwashers can reach temperatures that are higher than the resin’s melting temperature, some resin art pieces can become soft and disfigured in the dishwasher.
Sometimes, this effect isn’t too noticeable, especially if you wait a few hours for the dishwasher to cool off before unloading it. This time actually allows the resin to harden again, so you wouldn’t notice any structural issues with the resin piece. In these instances, you’ll probably notice the discoloration more than the disfiguration.
While having your epoxy piece discolored may not be enough to prevent you from putting it in the dishwasher, there are a few other reasons not to do so.
First, resin can melt and drip. When subjected to intense heat, epoxy can melt and become stuck to various components of the dishwasher and your other utensils. Not only would you have to replace all of your dishes and utensils, but this can also cause various issues with the machine and even cause a lot of money to repair.
Secondly, when the resin becomes malleable, it can cause issues if it gets into the food that you consume. This is because when the resin is structurally damaged, traces of the resin would get into whatever food or drink they’re holding. The resin would no longer be food-safe and can be a hazard to your health.
How Do You Clean Epoxy Resin?
Although resin pieces are not dishwasher-safe, it doesn’t mean they are difficult to keep clean. Generally, most of the time, resin pieces can be washed effectively with warm water and a little bit of dish soap.
Some new models of dishwashers have settings to help you handle delicate glassware and china. These settings usually use lower heat to protect the items. This can be safe for some durable resins.
Just to be safe, you should check the machine’s guidebook to understand the water and air temperature used in each setting. If it gets hotter than 120°F, the resin won’t be able to survive the cycle. However, if it uses a lower temperature, you can safely wash the resin piece in the dishwasher.
Still, handwashing is the easiest and safest option to clean your resin dishwares. You can wash resin pieces like how you would wash delicate pieces of plastic.
You should avoid using abrasive sponges or brushes while cleaning your resin items because they will damage them. You should only use soft sponges that won’t scratch the surface of the resin, but can still be effective at removing grease and dirt.
After washing, you should dry the resin right away using a microfiber towel to remove any remaining moisture from the surface. If you leave the water to evaporate on its own, the resin can become foggy and discolored.
Since resin is waterproof when cured, you don’t have to worry too much about sanitary issues since this material is very easy to keep clean. If you treat it right, you’ll have a beautiful and dependable piece of dishware that can stay durable for years.
Is Resin Food Safe?
A very important consideration when it comes to using and washing your resin dishware is to protect your health. After all, you don’t want to consume traces of resin when you are eating and drinking from your beautiful dishware.
Although most resin dishwares are safe to eat once they are fully cured, it is still important to understand the characteristics of resin so that you don’t accidentally damage your dishes or use them incorrectly.
If you are making your own cups or dishware from resin, it’s best to opt for a food-safe option that is approved by the FDA. Then, you can use your resin items to handle food and drinks once the resin is completely cured.
Note that curing time isn’t the same as drying time. The resin can be dry to the touch, but it doesn’t mean that the chemicals are completely settled, and you may still smell some chemical odors from the resin. If it’s not completely cured, you should never eat or drink off of it.
The curing time is usually 48 hours to a week; you can check the curing time on the label of the resin you are using.
As mentioned, the curing process can be reversed as well, so if you put your resin dishes in the dishwasher and the resin becomes softer, it means that the resin isn’t completely cured, and it’s not food safe anymore.
Since resin is sensitive, you should follow the tips below to ensure that your resin dishes and your health are protected.
1. Don’t Cut On Resin Materials
Although resin is a highly durable material, this doesn’t mean it is completely resistant to scraping and cutting.
It means that if you have a resin plate or charcuterie board, it’s best to keep the knives out of the way. If you cut things directly on the resin board, you’ll see clear scratches and marks on the resin surface. Even more dangerous, the tiny resin pieces can get into your food and damage your health if you are consuming them.
If you have a resin plate, it’s best to use it for cold cuts and finger food and not to handle food that you’ll have to cut on the plate itself.
2. Don’t Use Resin Dishes To Handle Hot Food And Drinks
Hot coffee, tea, and hot-off-the-oven pizza are all around the dangerous level of heat that can affect the structural integrity of resin. You don’t want your resin cup to become soft and melt on your morning coffee, would you?
Resin is not made to handle boiling water or extreme heat, so if your resin is directly touching hot things, you bet that the resin won’t be able to handle the heat, and it is not safe for you to drink or eat hot things off of a resin piece.
That said, some tumblers have an outer layer of resin and an inner layer of heat-resistant metal. In these instances, the resin isn’t directly touching the hot liquid, so it’s usually safe to use these tumblers to handle hot liquids.
3. Avoid The Microwave
By the same logic, resin is not safe to use in the microwave. The microwave is designed to heat up your food, so sometimes, you just want to pop a plate directly inside and let the microwave do its job.
However, since resin can melt when it is exposed to high temperatures, you’ll open the microwave door to find a melted mess that you will have to clean up.
When you want to microwave something, a resin plate or cup isn’t the right thing to handle this. You will need to opt for glass, ceramic, or any microwave-safe container to get the job done.
4. Avoid Using Resin Cups To Handle Alcohol Or Soft Drinks
Heat isn’t the only thing that can damage resin.
Alcohol and soft drinks are often known for their stripping abilities, so for a chemical compound like resin, you can also witness some negative effects when you use resin cups to handle strong alcohol or soft drinks.
At the very least, you will see some discoloration happening with your resin dishware, or the resin can become dull.
Although there’s a chance that you won’t see any visible damage to your resin items, it’s better to be safe than sorry. You should avoid using resin cups to handle alcohol or soft drinks.
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