Can You Wash Sterling Flatware in a Dishwasher?

Sterling silver flatware is beautiful but the time required to wash and dry each piece by hand may discourage everyday use.

Considerations

Silver flatware requires special careSilver flatware requires special care
You may wash it in the dishwasher if you follow certain precautions.

Use of an automatic dishwasher may cause a reaction between the copper alloys used in the production of sterling silver and the water, leaving brown spots on the silver. Do not wash brand new sterling silver in the dishwasher. After the flatware has been washed by hand multiple times, the copper has worn off and the silver is dishwasher safe. Also, never wash sterling silver in the same dishwasher basket as stainless steel as the two metals may damage each other.

Warnings

Do not allow sterling silver flatware to come into contact with dry dishwashing detergent. Silverware with hollow handles may come apart due to the heat and detergent in the dishwasher. Lastly, electrolytic dishwashing agents should not be used for silver with an oxidized finish.

Procedure

To wash flatware in a dishwasher, be sure to employ the automatic rinse dispenser or a solid rinse agent along with the detergent. The rinsing agent keeps drops and spots from forming on the silver. Remove the silverware immediately following the final rinse cycle and dry by hand.