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It’s an enormous relief when you save time by cleaning your dirty dishes in the dishwasher, especially if you have a busy schedule. You also save on water, and dishwashers are much better at killing germs. But can you do the same with the freezer drawers, and is it safe to do so? We have consulted with the experts, and here's what they say.
Yes, you can put most freezer drawers in the dishwasher. But make sure that your freezer drawers are dishwasher safe. You can confirm this from your freezer manual. The next step is to take precautionary measures to ensure your drawers remain in good condition by doing the following:
- Allow the freezer drawers to warm up to room temperature.
- Arrange them properly for a thorough clean.
Continue reading to learn more about how to not only wash your freezer drawers in the dishwasher but also learn about other parts from your freezer and fridge that can be washed in the dishwasher and those which cannot.
How Do You Clean Freezer Drawers?
However, despite this being true, always consult your freezer manual to determine whether your drawers are safe for washing in the dishwasher, and then follow the precautions below to prevent any potential damage:
1. Allow The Freezer Drawers To Warm Up To Room Temperature
Your cold freezer drawers can crack or warp because of the sudden change in temperature after you remove them from the freezer and immediately place them in a dishwasher.
That is why, when you remove the drawers, let them sit for a while to allow them to warm up to room temperature.
Since it is recommended to deep-clean your freezer every two to three months, it makes much sense to defrost the freezer with the drawers in it and then remove them after thawing.
This means you not only clean the drawers, but you also get to clean the whole freezer.
To do this, remove all food and drinks and then unplug the appliance from the electrical outlet. Open the doors to allow defrosting, which can take at least 24 hours if the frost is very thick.
However, if you still have time, you can speed up the defrosting process by using a hairdryer. You have to be careful, though, by ensuring the electrical cord does not come into contact with ice or water.
Also, do not bring the nozzle too close to the drawers, shelves, or the inside of the freezer to prevent damage because of the high heat from the hairdryer.
Using a fan can also speed up the defrosting process. Simply place it near your freezer with its doors open, which works by circulating warm air. Lastly, you can place a bowl of steaming water inside the freezer every 15 minutes until it defrosts.
When your drawers reach room temperature, you can put them in the dishwasher, and as they get cleaned, you can give your freezer a thorough wash (if desired).
2. Arrange The Drawers Properly For A Thorough Clean
Being that most dishwashers have their heating elements at the bottom, it is best to place the drawers on the top rack because they are made of plastic.
This is the position recommended for plastics to prevent any potential damage, unless your dishwasher manual provides an alternative or states otherwise.
Also, arrange the drawers neatly without overcrowding them. Otherwise, food may get trapped, preventing a superb cleaning. If they cannot all fit in the top rack, you may have to wash a few at a time until you are done.
How To Effectively Use Your Dishwasher
For proper cleaning, and with your dishwasher manual at hand, the following tips will help you to use your dishwasher correctly:
- Check to make sure the rotating devices and the spinning arms spin freely, and that there is no obstruction in the sprayers or tubes. If they are blocked, your drawers will not get cleaned properly.
- Add powdered dishwasher detergent to the soap container up to the required line.
- Before placing your drawers in the dishwasher, scrape off stuck food. For better results, you can lightly pre-wash or scrub.
- For shinier drawers devoid of water spots or streaks, you can add a dishwasher rinse agent to your dishwasher every month, especially if the water is hard. If your water is soft, you may not need the rinse agent.
- Since most dishwashers drain into the same pipe as the sink, before you run your dishwasher, run your garbage disposal to ensure there’s nothing stuck in the draining pipe. You can also use a strainer to stop debris from blocking the sink drain if you do not have a garbage disposal.
- To make sure hot water runs into your dishwasher, first run the water in the sink until hot water comes out.
- You can use cold water if you prefer to use a detergent that contains enzymes and not phosphate. This is possible in some of the modern dishwasher models.
Are Fridge Shelves Dishwasher Safe?
Yes, just as there are freezer drawers that can be washed in the dishwasher, there are fridge drawers and shelves that are suitable for a wash in the dishwasher.
They are all usually made from the same hard plastic and therefore can only be placed on the top rack to prevent potential damage from the heating element normally found at the bottom of most dishwashers.
You will also need to take the precautionary measures mentioned above before placing them in the dishwasher.
This is a better method than the traditional method. Manually washing with your hands, especially the shelves with vertical bars, makes it difficult to reach every dirty spot.
For best results, don’t forget to follow the tips mentioned above on how to effectively use your dishwasher.
Can You Wash Refrigerator Parts In The Dishwasher?
Definitely yes. As mentioned above, you can save time by washing your refrigerator drawers and shelves in the dishwasher. Just remember to check your refrigerator manual to confirm that they are safe to wash in the dishwasher.
Thereafter carefully observe the precautionary measures mentioned above, and follow the tips on how to use your dishwasher correctly for a thorough cleaning and to prevent any alterations or damage to your refrigerator parts.
What Can't You Wash In A Dishwasher?
It’s important to note that there are specific freezer and fridge drawers and shelves which cannot be washed in a dishwasher. They include:
- Shelves and/or drawers made from weak plastic or glass—they would either break or melt, as they cannot tolerate the extreme heat from the dishwasher.
- Shelves with integrated LED lighting—if your shelves have electrical material or components embedded in them, they would most likely be damaged from the hot water spray.
The only solution for these items is to wash them by hand. They too have to sit for a while to allow them to reach room temperature, and then use a dishcloth dipped in lukewarm water with mild detergent to wash them.
Afterward, rinse in warm water and dry thoroughly with a dry cloth.
Dishwashers are magnificent machines for use in our homes that have simplified our lives. However, it’s good to know which parts from your freezer and or fridge can be washed in the dishwasher and which cannot.
Once you have confirmed the parts that can be washed in a dishwasher, there are precautionary measures to observe to ensure they don’t get altered or damaged.
It’s equally important to fully grasp the tips mentioned in this post on how to correctly use your dishwasher for a thorough, spotless, and shiny clean.
To learn more on how to clean a freezer door seal and how to clean a freezer without turning it off, check out our previous posts: