Many North American households consider the dishwasher an essential appliance, saving both time and water. Modern dishwashers are also more durable and powerful than ever. However, they can cause damage to delicate dishes as well as tougher food stains.

You might also be tempted to put things in the dishwasher, which could cause damage to the appliance. Before you start your next cycle of washing, make sure to read the following list of “don’ts”.

No food-covered dishes. It might seem counterintuitive, but the dishwasher is not a garbage disposal. Although food bits may be broken down a bit by the water jets they can clog your drain line and might require a visit from a plumber.

To avoid this, make sure you clean your dishes before putting them into the dishwasher. Sauces and other condiments are okay if they liquefy and drain down the drain. However, you should not use fat or grease as these can solidify in the drain.

No wood. To keep your wooden spoons, cutting boards, and other kitchenware in great shape, you should wash and dry them quickly. Wood can warp, crack and swell when it is placed in the dishwasher.

No metallic or fine dinnerware. You’ll need to wash delicate china and silver by hand, as they can accidentally bounce around in the dishwasher. It’s important to avoid dish-ware with metallic trim or finishes. Dishwashers can permanently dull dishes.

No cast iron. Cast iron skillets must be washed and cleaned with care. Cast iron skillets can be ruined by putting them in the dishwasher.

Although it may seem difficult to get through your dishwasher, and find half of the items you put there cannot be washed again, the worst part is realizing that your drain line is blocked from all the dishes you have sent through the dishwasher. Reduce your headaches by half and get them out of the dishwasher.