If you are wondering whether you can put your baking trays in the dishwasher safely, the answer is a rousing “it depends.” There are lots of different kinds of baking trays.
Some of them are just fine in the dishwasher, while others really should be washed by hand.
Remember that while no one really likes scrubbing trays full of baked-on food, hand-washing baking trays or any other dishes is almost always safe.
So if you have any doubts, you should take the safer route and wash them yourself. Or better yet have your spouse or kids do it for you!
Keep reading though since we are going to take a look at what you can and can’t put in your dishwasher safely…
What Can You Put in a Dishwasher
Anodized aluminum baking trays are okay in the dishwasher. The protective layer of oxide shields the aluminum from the chemicals in dishwasher detergent.
Glass bakeware and most silicone bakeware (see manufacturer’s instructions) are also fine in the dishwasher.
If you are lucky enough to have stainless steel baking trays, you can also put them in the dishwasher.
What NOT to Put in Your Dishwasher
Any baking tray loaded with grease and gunk should be scraped and rinsed before it goes into the dishwasher – assuming that it is dishwasher-safe.
Modern dishwashers are marvels of efficiency, but sometimes they are no match for huge globs of grease.
You don’t want to ruin your dishwasher, and you probably don’t want to end up elbow-deep in cold greasy water trying to unclog the trap.
Also, out of sheer practicality, you should think twice about putting any baking tray in the dishwasher if it’s large enough to block the spray to the upper rack.
If it’s big enough to present a problem, wash it in the sink. You want all of your dishes to get clean, after all, not just the baking tray.
Baking sheets that shouldn’t go into the dishwasher include regular (non-anodized) aluminum trays and trays that are coated with a non-stick finish.
Neither of these should be considered dishwasher-safe.
Regular aluminum baking trays will darken, rust, and pit if they are regularly washed in the dishwasher.
Dishwashers use very hot water and strong detergents to get dishes sparkling clean with little effort on your part.
They are great at what they do, but the heat and chemicals are not so great for regular aluminum pots, pans, and baking trays.
The same goes for baking trays with Teflon non-stick or a ceramic coating. The heat and detergent from the dishwasher will weaken the coatings.
This means that your expensive bakeware won’t last nearly as long.
Also, at least in the case of Teflon, the coating is likely to flake off into your baked goods.
Nobody wants that to happen!
Copper baking trays also should not go into the dishwasher.
The lovely, shiny finish will dull quickly when it is exposed to dishwasher detergent. They will look much better when you wash and dry them by hand.
But the truth is that a single trip through the dishwasher is not likely to do lasting damage – although it might darken the aluminum baking pan.
How to Properly Care for Your Baking Trays
I’m guessing that if you’re reading this article, you probably want to keep your baking trays in good condition.
High-quality cookware and bakeware is an investment and you want to keep these kitchen items in good working order for years to come.
Here are some helpful tips to ensure your bakeware lasts a lifetime…
Use tin foil or parchment paper between the food and the baking sheet.
The foil keeps food from burning onto the baking tray, and it also minimizes the amount of cleanup that you’ll have to do.
When there is less gunk baked onto your tray, it’s easier to clean.
Less scrubbing and less harsh detergent are healthy for your baking tray.
Use wooden or silicone utensils to remove food from the baking tray. Metal utensils, including most tableware, can scratch or dent the surface of the baking sheet.
Nobody wants that to happen, and it’s easy to avoid.
Always make sure that the baking tray is completely cool before you try to clean it.
Immersing a hot baking tray into cold or even warm water is a temperature shock, and this can cause your baking sheet to warp or twist.
This is something that can’t be fixed, and it pretty much renders the baking tray useless.
Clean your baking tray with spray-on oven cleaner at least twice a year – more often if you are a frequent baker.
No matter how often or well you wash your baking sheet, you’re not going to be able to get everything off.
Cleaning it with oven cleaner removes all the leftover baked-on gunk, and keeping your baking trays as clean as possible extends their working life.