You may be working with or looking to purchase some epoxy resin pieces – and let’s face it, they are gorgeous. Before jumping the gun, one thing you may want to look into is whether or not that plate or tumbler you are about to get is dishwasher safe.
In short, no, epoxy resin should not be put through the dishwasher or used with anything that requires high heat. Epoxy resin can soften or deform with heat and can also be toxic if ingested. A dishwasher will almost certainly permanently ruin your epoxy resin piece.
While this is pretty much the case for epoxy resin, there is a lot more that goes into the safety and usage of epoxy, particularly when used with food-based products. Continue reading to learn more about why not to put epoxy resin in the dishwasher, how to keep epoxy resin products clean, and more on the safety of products using this beautiful component.
Why Not Put Epoxy Resin in the Dishwasher?
While having your epoxy piece become slightly discolored may not be incentive enough to keep you from using it in the dishwasher, there are many other reasons that you should not do so. Here are a few reasons not to put your epoxy creation in the dishwasher, even if you are not concerned with ruining the look.
Epoxy is not (usually) Made to Withstand Heat
How much heat can epoxy withstand? Usually not that much. Normal art epoxy (like you would find in a crafting store) is going to be safe up to about 120°F before it begins to become malformed or discolored. There are some epoxies for special purposes (such as countertops) that boast of high temps, anywhere from 350°F all the way to 500°F.
Even in the case of high-temp epoxy, I still do not suggest using a dishwasher because of the length of time that the heat is applied and the fact that it is water and not just dry heat. So, although it might be frustrating not to be able to toss your tumbler (covered in epoxy resin) into the dishwasher, the heat could damage the product (and potentially your dishwasher).
The Epoxy Could Come Off
If ruining the epoxy still does not concern you, there is another reason to withhold. Epoxy can not only become malformed when enduring heat but can come off whatever it is held to. In the case of a tumbler or plate, the epoxy could actually get stuck on the inside of the dishwasher, in the drainage (an expense no one wants), or even on other things that are in the dishwasher.
Can you imagine opening up your dishwasher to find epoxy resin on your other utensils, dishes, or inside the mechanical workings of the machine? Truly, it would be as disgusting as it would be hazardous. To avoid this, it is safest for you and your possessions to not put epoxy in the dishwasher.
It Can Become Unsafe for Food
When epoxy becomes malleable, it poses a risk to your health- especially if it were to be consumed. If you are eating or drinking from a piece that is covered in epoxy, it needs to be fully cured and without risk of getting into the food. If you put an epoxy plate or cup in the dishwasher and it becomes soft, the food or drink that you subsequently put into this dish may contain trace amounts of epoxy and could pose health concerns.
How Do You Clean Epoxy Resin?
The driving question of whether or not epoxy resin is dishwasher safe really comes back to this deeper-rooted question – how does one go about cleaning an epoxy resin piece? Almost all epoxy pieces can be cleaned with warm water and a variety of soaps and chemicals. You should avoid overly hot water and alcohol, as those can ruin the epoxy and cause it to become tacky or malformed.
When cleaning epoxy, you can treat it similar to a thin plastic or child’s plate. Cool to warm water with a bit of dish soap will do the trick perfectly. Once you have wiped anything off the surface, it is best to dry the epoxy resin immediately. While it is unlikely that the moisture will cause any issues, there is still a chance that water on epoxy could cause it to get cloudy or discolored.
With this, you might be concerned that your piece covered in epoxy resin is not getting fully sanitized. However, if you are to wash the dish in the same manner that you are washing a child’s plate (as described in the example above), then you can rest assured that the diligence should suffice. Whatever you do, just be sure to avoid prolonged exposure to high heat that could cause the epoxy resin to become malformed, come off, or otherwise become unsafe.
Is Epoxy Safe to Eat From?
With epoxy plates, cups, and travel mugs becoming stylish in recent years, wondering if epoxy is a safe surface to eat from is definitely a question that comes to mind. With a chemical plastic, you never want to end up ingesting any of it as it could lead to medical issues.
So are epoxy dishes food-safe? In general, yes, most epoxies are safe to eat from once they are fully cured. You should avoid having the epoxy in direct contact with hot food or drink to minimize any risks of it getting into the food. Cold drinks and cool and warm foods are fine to use. This means you might have to reconsider using your epoxy-covered tumbler for your morning coffee brew (unless the interior is made of metal which is relatively common).
Safety Tips for Eating from Epoxy:
- Do not cut on the epoxy
This is something that many people overlook because epoxy cutting boards and charcuterie boards are very trendy. These items should be used only for displaying and holding items, never cutting on.
When you look more closely at this, it is quite apparent why. Epoxy, though a highly durable material, is not made of natural ingredients that would be safe to consume. On the contrary, if there were even a small sliver of epoxy that slipped into your meat or cheese (or any other type of food), this could become hazardous.
Much less, cutting on an epoxy-based product is not going to be good for the piece itself. As mentioned, yes, epoxy is highly durable. However, it is not designed to have sharp knives pressing into it. So, you could risk damaging the piece you have that is made with epoxy resin.
Still, that beautiful charcuterie board that your loved one got you as a birthday present? It can make the perfect tray for pre-sliced food- ready to be displayed at your next social gathering. Just be sure not to put on the epoxy (or stick the tray in the dishwasher after you are done using it).
- Do not use hot items with it
While a tumbler is fine for hot coffee, this is because it is actually a metal interior that the food is touching, and the epoxy does not get hot. Do not use an epoxy cup or plate for hot items. If you would not immediately put the food in your mouth without fear of burning, do not put it on the plate.
This also means that if you are planning to use an epoxy resin covered charcuterie board or serving tray, for example, the food items sitting on top of it should not be steaming with heat. Instead, opt for cold or room temperature food items on top of your epoxy resin to ensure that it remains food-safe.
- Know the epoxy is safe
While most fully-cured epoxies are safe for food use, this is not true of all of them. Many cheaper epoxies on the market are going to be more risky, and not FDA approved. Before eating off any epoxy item, make sure you know that it is FDA approved so you are not putting yourself at risk.
Along with this, if you are in the market for crafting and selling products that your future customers will potentially eat off of or drink out of, then you need to assure that the epoxy resin you are using is FDA approved. Otherwise, be sure to provide notice to your customers to only eat or drink from the item under recommended conditions.