Why does plastic not dry in the dishwasher?

Some of you will certainly have plastic cans or similar utensils that you like to wash in the dishwasher after use. This is usually not a problem, but you will notice that these items are usually not (yet) dry when you want to empty the dishwasher. In this short article, we therefore want to get to the bottom of why dishes made of plastic do not dry in the dishwasher. In addition, we want to give tips on how you can still get the items dry at the end of the program.

Can plastic dishes be put in the dishwasher at all, and what needs to be taken into account?

Every now and then you hear that plastic dishes can melt or otherwise be damaged in the machine by the hot water. This is not (any longer) the case with newer dishwashers without heating elements. Also, discoloration of the plastic by dyes that escape from food residues due to high temperatures is rather rare nowadays. Nevertheless, it makes sense to wipe coarse food residues and tomato sauce off the plate first and dispose of them before putting the dishes in the dishwasher. This will also help you avoid unpleasant odors in the machine.

Make sure that the plastic dishes are dishwasher safe or dishwasher safe.

The reason why plastic does not dry in the dishwasher

The reason plastic doesn’t dry in the dishwasher is due to the properties of the material. Plastic conducts heat much worse than ceramic or glass and cools down quickly.

The drying process looks like that in the dishwasher all items in the rinse cycle become equally warm. During the drying program, the remaining moisture on the warm surface of the dishes should then evaporate. While e.g. porcelain, glass or even metal can absorb heat well because of their conductivity and the water evaporates so quickly on the warm surface of the dishes, plastic cannot do this because of its poor thermal conductivity. It does not dry properly. In addition, the surface tension of plastic is responsible for the fact that the water droplets still present are larger than in other materials.

How do you still get the plastic dishes dry?

There are several ways to get the still wet plastic dishes dry after the end of the program. Try the following:

  • Leave dishwasher open overnight.
  • Place a drying towel in the top rack of the dishwasher so that it absorbs the residual moisture.
  • Drying with a towel.

With these tips, you’ll get all your dishes cabinet dry, even though normally plastic doesn’t dry in the dishwasher.

Charles M Wilkins

Dishwashers expert with over 10 years of experience. He writes articles and shares his knowledge on many sites. Helps you choose the best (portable, countertop, built-in) dishwashers on this site.

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