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How to Choose a Non-toxic Dishwasher

How to Choose a Non-toxic Dishwasher

UPDATED 11/1/17

We go to a LOT of trouble to use only the safest dishes and dishwashing detergents for our family.  So it stands to reason that we should be careful not to load them up with chemicals as they're running through the cleaning cycle.

How in the world do you know if you have a non-toxic dishwasher?  Let's take a walk down the aisles of the home appliance store to find out!

The Most Common Dishwasher Tub Materials

We honestly had a minor panic attack when we first started our research on plastic dishwasher tubs.  It just seemed like they would surely be made of a dangerous plastic, you know?

Well, we were pleasantly surprised to learn that most plastic dishwasher tubs are actually made from reinforced polypropylene.  This means that a compound like calcium carbonate or fiber has been added to make it stronger and more heat resistant.  We regularly recommend polypropylene because it has never required the addition of BPA, BPS, lead, or phthalates.  It won't rust, is generally durable, and we'd consider it on the safer side as far as plastics go. Keep in mind though that plastic tubs are more likely to stain, absorb smells over time, and eventually break down under repeated exposure to heat and harsh detergents.

The next most common material is stainless steel.  This would definitely be our first choice because it's more durable, naturally bacteria resistant, holds on to fewer odors, won't crack or melt, and typically reduces the noise level during a wash cycle.  The only downside with stainless steel tubs is that they're more expensive.

How to Choose Non-toxic Dishwasher Racks

Something to be aware of is that even stainless steel dishwashers may have PVC (#3) coated wire racks. PVC (vinyl) is a toxic plastic used in flooring, electric wire casing, inflatable pools/toys, bath toys, baby teethers, Christmas trees, and electronics. It's often made with cancer-causing and endocrine disrupting chemicals like phthalates, dioxins and lead.

We were relieved to find out that many dishwashers now come with nylon coated racks.  PVC coated racks, though commonly used in the past, are usually only found in low-end dishwasher models.  Nylon is considered safer, doesn't chip or scratch as easily, and is more durable than PVC in general because it resists heat and harsh detergents.

What About Spray Arms and Silverware Trays?

Most silverware trays and spray arms are also made from polypropylene plastic without a coating, and we're comfortable with that.

Stainless Steel Dishwashers with Non-PVC Racks

There are quite a few non-toxic dishwasher options out there, so we've rounded up a few to get you started.

Be sure to let us know if we've missed any that you've confirmed with the manufacturer!

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