After making the environmentally conscious decision to shift to reusable water bottles, maintaining them in top shape might be your next concern. However, are aluminum bottles dishwasher safe? How do you wash them? For this article, we're discussing if you can clean aluminum bottles in the dishwasher and what to do to preserve your bottles so you don’t need another one for a long time.
Are Aluminium Bottles Dishwasher Safe?
Aluminum bottles are not dishwasher safe because aluminum reacts to heat and other chemicals, especially dishwashing detergent. Bottles with aluminum usually contain resin, enamel, epoxy, or polymer. When combined, these components don't make aluminum bottles dishwasher safe.
Days after taking your water bottle on a hike or using it at home, it can get dirty, harbor a foul smell, and even host mold. While you may want to clean aluminum bottles in a dishwasher, it's crucial that you understand the risks of doing it.
Why Aluminium Is Not Dishwasher Safe
Aluminum would react to the heat inside the dishwasher, making the metal expand and undergo thermal expansion. While thermal expansion is ideal in cookware to spread heat evenly, this may cause a reaction with the water and chemicals that can darken aluminum bottles.
Anodizing is the process of increasing the thickness of a metal's natural oxide layer. Aluminum bottles that don't contain anodized coating are prone to corrosion when exposed to heat. However, phosphate-based dishwasher detergents can neutralize the anodized coating, causing the metal to react and deteriorate.
Aside from that, these are other reasons why aluminum bottles aren't safe to clean in a dishwasher.
- The narrow interior design of some bottles means the soap or cleaning solution won't hit all interior surfaces. Besides, the rubber gaskets in the bottle caps may become dull and degrade quickly due to the dishwasher's heat.
- A dishwasher can heat water up to 140 degrees Fahrenheit. This temperature is necessary for ensuring proper washing as the heat can melt detergent completely. However, the mixture of hot water and harsh dishwashing liquid inside a dishwasher can leave cloudy stains on the bottle that are difficult to remove.
- Strong jets of water and harsh soap can cause discoloration and deterioration in designs. If an aluminum bottle isn't pre-treated for a dishwasher, this cleaning method can cause nicks and stains.
- You may also notice white spots on the bottle due to alkalinity.
- Flimsy bottles can easily move around during the wash cycle, affecting nearby items. When aluminum makes contact with other elements in an electrically conducted environment, an electrolytic reaction attacks aluminum, which then causes corrosion.
A study on detecting migration of aluminum to food from drink containers and camping cookware supports the European Food Safety Authority's assessment that 1-7 mg per kg body weight is the tolerable aluminum weekly level for all weight groups.
That means that exposure to aluminum is inevitable. This chemical element is common in household items, medicines, and even food. However, aluminum toxicity still depends on the food contact material.
While the element is highly abundant in the environment, aluminum toxicity happens when a person breathes or digests high levels of aluminum. The good thing is that the body naturally excretes environmental aluminum within 24 hours.
Best Way to Clean Aluminium Bottles
Dishwashers are convenient for different kinds of dishes and utensils. However, aluminum isn't generally safe to clean in a dishwasher. It's ideal to handwash aluminum bottles instead of using a dishwasher, as it only takes a few minutes and basic household materials to clean an aluminum drinking bottle.
- If you're washing dishes every day, warm, soapy water can do the trick. Pour hot water into the bottle and place a few drops of liquid dish detergent. Put the cap back and give it a good shake.
- Use a pH-neutral dishwashing soap. Dishwashing detergents contain the highly alkaline compound sodium carbonate, which can darken aluminum bottles.
- For thorough cleaning, combine 3 tablespoons of lemon juice or white distilled water for each quart of water. The acids from lemon juice and white vinegar are excellent for dissolving mineral deposits, grime, and grease.
- Pour the cleaning solution into the bottle, shake and leave it for around 10 minutes.
- Get steel wool, dish sponge, or bottle brush. Soak it in warm water, then scrub the inside of the bottle.
- If you don't want to use soap, you can mix 2 tablespoons of baking soda with warm water. Paste this to a bottle brush and gently scrub the bottle's interior.
- Discard the cleaning solution and rinse the inside thoroughly. Make sure there is no soap residue.
- Dry the bottle upside down and leave the cap off to prevent trapping moisture.
- Remember that bacteria thrive in moist environments, so you can also use a dish or paper towel to dry the bottle right away.
We can't see it, yet reusable water bottles can house a lot of germs. A damp place or object invites mold growth. Thus, be sure to clean your aluminum bottles properly so you can have a safe, clean vessel for drinking water.
How Can I Know If My Bottle is Dishwasher Safe?
Look for the dishwasher safe symbol on the bottom, handle, or side of your drinking bottle. The symbol may differ depending on your location or the brand, although it's usually a plate on a rack or an object getting drenched with water drops.
What Bottle Materials Are Dishwasher Safe?
The most dishwasher-safe materials for water bottles include stainless steel, copper, plastic, glass, stoneware, ceramics, and porcelain. These materials can withstand up to 160 degrees Fahrenheit of heat without reacting to other chemicals. This makes them efficient in killing bacteria and cleaning bottles.
How Can I Choose the Best Reusable Water Bottle?
The best way to choose a reusable drinking bottle is to consider the material. Choose a component that's BPA-free, vacuum-insulated, and resilient, much like our stainless steel water bottles. You can also pick a wide-mouth bottle, which is easier to clean.
The dishwasher's heat and chemical reaction to cleaning detergent can damage aluminum bottles. While aluminum bottles are not dishwasher safe, you can still clean them by hand using soap and water. However, to save you time cleaning, you may opt for dishwasher-friendly and BPA-free materials, including stainless water bottles.