Hard anodized cookware is rising in popularity, and for good reasons. It is becoming a staple of cookware in more and more homes worldwide. But is it as convenient as it promises?
Is the hard-anodized cookware dishwasher safe?
Unfortunately, the short answer is No; anodized cookware is not dishwasher-safe.
While this may seem cut and dry, the full answer is a little more complicated.
What is Hard Anodized Cookware?
While it is made with other metals, hard anodized cookware is composed entirely of aluminum. The aluminum is specially treated, giving the cookware a non-stick surface.
Hard anodized cookware is exceptional because it is much harder, more scratch-resistant, and more non-stick than most other forms of cookware.
How it’s Made
The process of turning aluminum into hard-anodized aluminum is more simple than you may expect.
The process begins with making a pot or pan from aluminum. Once the cookware is finished, it is dipped into a series of electrochemical baths.
These baths repeatedly oxidize the aluminum, making the surface harder and smoother each time. After many electrochemical baths, the cookware comes out hard and anodized.
The final result is aluminum cookware with a thick crust of hard, smooth, non-stick aluminum.
Is Hard Anodized Cookware Dishwasher Safe?
As previously stated, hard anodized cookware is not dishwasher-safe. However, putting it in the dishwasher once or twice will not ruin it.
Realistically, well-made anodized cookware is dishwasher-safe, but the consequences of getting damage are too great a risk.
If your anodized cookware is flawless and expertly crafted, running it through the dishwasher shouldn’t damage it. The anodized surface is extra tough and scratch-resistant, after all.
While the anodized surface may hold up against the dishwasher, the aluminum core poses a larger risk.
Why You Shouldn’t Put Hard Anodized Cookware in the Dishwasher
The biggest issue with putting anodized cookware in the dishwasher is not that it may get damaged but that it may exacerbate damage already there.
If there is a nick, chip, or scratch on the anodized surface, the aluminum underneath becomes exposed. Not only is that a health risk, but it can lead to further damage.
Cooking on untreated aluminum is hazardous to your health.
Aluminum is common in many day-to-day products like cans and antiperspirants, but cooking on it does have consequences.
Heat, especially in combination with acidic foods, causes the aluminum to leech into the food.
Furthermore, if a damaged piece of cookware goes through the dishwasher, it will only get further damaged in the dishwasher.
The heat and harsh chemicals in the dishwasher will eat away at the exposed aluminum.
After repeated cleaning like this, the anodized surface may start to chip off, leaving more raw aluminum exposed to erosion.
To avoid damaging your cookware, it is best not to put hard anodized cookware in the dishwasher.
How to Clean Hard Anodized Cookware
Like most other cookware, the best way to clean hard anodized cookware is by hand. Keep in mind there are some things to avoid when cleaning hard anodized cookware.
First, never use scratchy or sharp cleaning supplies, like steel wool. Steel wool can discolor the surface of the cookware.
Additionally, do not use harsh cleaning chemicals like chloride-based solutions. Only use light dish soap.
Over time, hard-anodized dishware may discolor anyways. The dishware discolors because the surface is porous enough to trap small particles.
To reverse the discoloration, clean the cookware with a solution of baking soda and water. For tough stains, try soaking the cookware.
Scouring agents are a useful tool to clean burns from the outside of the cookware. Cleaning hard anodized cookware should be a breeze, thanks to its incredible non-stick surface.
The Advantages and Disadvantages of Hard Anodized Cookware
While having to hand wash pots and pans may seem like an obvious drawback to some, there are a few more advantages and disadvantages you should examine before making a decision.
Many chefs swear by using hard anodized cookware. It is a valuable tool in the kitchen and lends itself well to most types of cooking.
The hard surface and non-stick properties of anodized cookware are just a couple of its advantages over other types of cookware.
Easy to Clean
The ultra-tough surface of anodized aluminum cookware is extremely smooth and easy to clean. The non-stick properties of the cookware make it nearly impossible for food to stick.
The toughest stains are brought to their knees with a simple baking soda solution. It can even help to remove staining that accumulates over time.
Hard anodized cookware has some of the best non-stick properties of any cookware. The ultra-smooth surface lets food run right off.
Another fabulous feature of anodized cookware is that it is non-toxic. The process of anodization does not require harsh or poisonous chemicals to coat the surface.
The result of anodization is several layers of thick oxidized aluminum.
Aluminum cookware is famous for promoting fast and even cooking. Using hard-anodized pots and pans will ensure that your food is heated evenly and thoroughly.
The oxidizing process used to make hard anodized metal has the bonus of making the metal extremely resilient. The hard surface is virtually scratch-proof.
Anodized aluminum is 150-180 times harder than stainless steel, depending on the brand.
For every positive, there is a negative, and it is no different when it comes to cookware.
Hard anodized pots and pans have many advantages, but they may also have many disadvantages.
Aside from not being dishwasher-safe, it is also expensive and takes more care to maintain than many other types of cookware.
Not Dishwasher Safe
As covered earlier, hard anodized cookware is not dishwasher-safe. The risk of damaging the pot or pan or worsening existing damage is too great.
Additionally, if the anodized surface cracks, the aluminum below erodes quickly under the harsh chemical and high heat of a dishwasher.
The best way to maintain anodized cookware is by washing it by hand with dish soap and a soft sponge. Avoid using steel wool or rough brushes.
For especially tough stains or discoloration, use a baking soda solution and let it soak.
An unfortunate reality of hard anodized cookware is that it tends to be more expensive than regular non-stick pots and pans.
Anodized cookware is quite expensive; however, it is a good long-term investment. Look for options with extended warranties.
Not Induction Cooktop Compatible
Unless specified, hard anodized cookware is not induction cooktop compatible.
Some brands may offer induction options, but as aluminum is not magnetic, regular pots and pans will not work on induction cooktops.
Not Good for High Heat
Perhaps the most significant disadvantage of anodized pots and pans is that it is not fit for high heat cooking.
Aluminum absorbs heat very quickly and, as a result, can warp or damage under sustained heat. Avoid using anodized cookware on extreme heat or high heat for long periods.
While hard anodized cookware is unfortunately not dishwasher-safe, it does have many other advantages.
High-quality anodized pots and pans are 150-180 times harder than stainless steel and have impressively non-stick surfaces.
While they do have their drawbacks, they can be an upgrade to any kitchen. If you don’t mind handwashing dishes, there is practically no downside to using hard anodized cookware.
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