Can polymer clay go in the dishwasher?

Polymer clay has become a popular choice for crafting a wide range of items, including jewelry, sculptures, and decorative pieces. However, when it comes to cleaning and maintenance, questions may arise about whether polymer clay creations can safely be placed in the dishwasher. In this article, we’ll delve into the considerations surrounding the use of dishwashers for polymer clay items and provide insights into the potential impact on their appearance and longevity.

1. The Nature of Polymer Clay

Not Designed for Dishwashers:

Heat sensitivity and composition:

Polymer clay is a heat-sensitive material that is primarily cured through baking at specific temperatures. Dishwashers operate at high temperatures during their cleaning cycles, which can exceed the temperatures at which polymer clay was originally cured. Placing polymer clay creations in the dishwasher may expose them to excessive heat, potentially leading to distortion, softening, or even melting of the clay.

2. Surface Effects

Texture and Surface Alterations:

Impact on aesthetics:

The aggressive washing action and high water pressure in dishwashers can lead to friction and abrasion against the surfaces of polymer clay items. This can result in changes to the texture, finish, and appearance of the clay, including the potential for scratches, scuffs, or wear on intricate designs or details.

3. Metal Components

Risk to Metal Findings:

Compatibility with other materials:

Polymer clay creations often incorporate metal findings, such as earring hooks or necklace clasps. The high heat and moisture present in dishwashers can cause metal components to corrode, tarnish, or lose their luster. This not only affects the aesthetics of the piece but can also compromise the structural integrity of the jewelry.

4. Cleaning Alternatives

Gentle Hand Cleaning:

Preserving the clay’s condition:

For cleaning polymer clay creations, it is recommended to opt for gentle hand cleaning methods using mild soap, water, and a soft cloth. Avoid using abrasive materials or harsh chemicals that could damage the clay’s surface. Taking the time to clean items carefully by hand helps preserve their appearance and ensures their longevity.


While dishwashers offer convenience for cleaning various items, they are not suitable for polymer clay creations. The heat sensitivity, potential surface alterations, and risk to metal components make dishwashers an unsuitable cleaning method for polymer clay. Instead, crafters should opt for gentle hand cleaning techniques to maintain the appearance and integrity of their polymer clay items. By choosing appropriate cleaning methods, individuals can enjoy their beautifully crafted polymer clay creations for years to come.

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