How To Tell If Your Tupperware Is Dishwasher Safe

While Tupperware is a name brand, it is often used as a catch-all term to refer to any type of plastic food storage container, no matter the actual brand name. While many people prefer glass food storage containers over plastic for their environmental and health benefits, these containers will always be popular for their durability, making them more financially viable and easy to transport (via Purple Turtle).

Taking proper care of your plastic containers is essential to ensure they last a long time, though. According to Microwave Meal Prep, they can last 10 years or more if properly maintained, cleaned, and stored. Putting plastic in the dishwasher is very commonly advised against, but newer materials are made to withstand the heat and moisture of the dishwasher; however, not all. Running your Tupperware through the washing cycle if it isn't dishwasher safe can be disastrous, warping and melting the fabric until it's unusable. Luckily, there's a quick way to tell if your plastic containers are dishwasher safe or not.

What does dishwasher safe mean?

Theoretically, the easiest way to tell if your Tupperware is dishwasher safe is if the packaging or product is specifically marketed as such. However, plastic containers tend to get very easily mixed and matched around, and unless it's brand new, it can be hard to determine. Plus, Whirlpool notes that dishwasher safe is not a universal term. Instead, it's something each manufacturer determines for themselves, assuming the product can survive high temperatures and moisture, as well as the chemicals from dish detergent.

Ceramic dishes and glass kitchenware are usually much easier to determine since these materials are treated during and after production to make sure they can withstand the conditions of the appliance (via Kangovou). Plastic, though, is a matter of construction, including the material used to make it, as well as its hardness, flexibility, etc. Some plastics even contain chemicals that can be heated and extracted during the wash process, making it potentially dangerous to your health to guess wrong.

Determining dishwasher safety

As noted earlier, the easiest way to tell if your Tupperware is dishwasher safe is by explicitly looking to see if it's marketed that way. If you've already tossed the original packaging, Cascade says most products, plastic food containers included, will indicate on the bottom if they're dishwasher safe, either with wording or symbols. The symbols can vary, but they will usually resemble plates or dishwashers. Similarly, most plastic containers will indicate if they're safe to wash in the appliance.

Another way to tell if a container is dishwasher safe is by what kind of plastic it is made of. According to Kangovou, you should not put any plastic made with chemicals like BPA in the dishwasher since the heat will expand the material and extract the chemicals to the surface, inevitably getting into your food. Finally, a more subjective way of determining if your Tupperware can be put into the dishwasher is by feeling it — thin, flexible, elastic plastics are almost certain to melt or warp. In contrast, sturdier, unyielding containers are more likely to survive the washing cycle.