Art resin (epoxy) is used for a lot of beautiful artwork, including dishware. Tumblers, cups, serving, plates, and plates, they can use epoxy to seal up and protect the beautiful artwork they display. But, is it dishwasher safe?
Most art resin and epoxy have a maximum temperature it can withstand before it starts to soften. This is often lower than the heat of a dishwasher at various points in its cycle, which means that dishes made with art resin epoxy are not dishwasher safe and could be damaged if washed this way.
Once epoxy is fully dried and cured, it is generally food safe. Be sure to check the specifications of the specific art resin you’re buying to see that it has been approved by the FDA. The problem is that washing your dishes in the dishwasher could compromise their food safety.
It’s really important to understand how art resin and epoxy work before you start washing it, let alone putting it on objects that touch the food and drinks you consume everyday. Let’s dive into the specifics of how to keep your epoxied pieces in a safe temperature zone so that you don’t run into any mishaps.
Why Art Resin Epoxy Pieces are Not Dishwasher Safe
Most art resin and epoxy begins to soften at temperatures above 120 degrees Fahrenheit. Most dishwashers use water that is between 120-150 degrees Fahrenheit in order to properly clean and sanitize your dishes. This means that your epoxy dishware will be affected by the heat of your dishwasher.
GE states that dishwasher water should be between 120 and 150 degrees to function properly and effectively clean your dishes (source).
When working with resin, you’ll notice that it’s a liquid that slowly dries and becomes hard. It’s “cured” at this point. But, once the temperatures rise to a certain level, the curing starts to be impacted. That temperature is 120 degrees Fahrenheit for most resins (source).
If you live in a hot area or accidentally left your art in a patch of sun, you’ll probably have noticed that it can take as much as a few days for a piece of resin art to dry. It may not have been 120 degrees, but it was warm enough that it impacted the curing time of the resin.
You Might Not Notice Issues with Your Resin Art from the Dishwasher
People have run experiments, like the one you can see in the YouTube video below, showing that their resin art survived a trip in the dishwasher just fine.
What’s the deal? Dishwashers undoubtedly reach temperatures above the maximum levels that resin can withstand. Is there a reason why some resin art comes out unscathed?
Art resin and epoxy solidify again once they cool off (source). Unless unloading your dishwasher is your favorite activity and you’re eagerly waiting beside it until it finishes so that you can pull your dishes out when they’re steaming hot, it’s likely that your dishes have cooled off a bit before you get around to dealing with them.
This is probably enough time for your resin art to harden and cure again.
The reason why you don’t notice the softening and the rehardening is because, while your dishwasher is hot, it’s probably not hot enough to cause actual damage to your art. The resin isn’t falling off.
So, if your resin will simply soften and reharden, what’s the big deal? Let’s talk about some potential problems.
Why You Don’t Want to Put Your Resin Art in the Dishwasher
Putting your resin art in the dishwasher isn’t just a matter of protecting your art. It could potentially be a matter of safety.
For the purposes of cups, tumblers, and other dishware, you want to use epoxy that has been approved by the FDA. ArtResin is a great choice for this (source). If you choose a brand other than ArtResin, make sure that they have been deemed as food safe by the FDA.
Here’s the thing: ArtResin and other brands that have been approved by the FDA are only food safe when they’re cured. You don’t want to be ingesting these products in their un-cured forms.
When you’re running your dishwasher and it gets above 120 degrees, your resin will suddenly be softened and won’t be considered cured anymore. This means it’s no longer food safe.
I don’t know about you, but I don’t want something that isn’t safe for ingestion in my dishwasher exposed to all of my dishes. That’s not something I want to mess around with.
Health aside, it’s hard to say what the impact of putting your resin art into the dishwasher over and over again will do. It’s hard to believe that letting the resin soften and reharden repeatedly is a great idea for the longevity of your art.
For the sake of your health and your art, put your resin dishware to the side and wash it by hand.
Unless all of your cabinets are full of resin dishware, hand washing a few items won’t be a burden. It will be worth it to potentially protect your health and your art.
The Best Epoxy Resin for Art Projects
My top choice of epoxy resin is by the brand ArtResin. Their product has been certified to be non-toxic when used as directed and food safe when cured. It also prevents yellowing, which is a common problem with other epoxies.
ArtResin was designed with artists in mind, as the name implies. This is important because it can be easy to get mixed up in epoxies that were designed for floors, countertops, or other construction projects. ArtResin is made for artists.
Something that’s important about ArtResin is that it doesn’t produce VOCs or fumes. This is a huge issue for artists and many of them have spoken out about the harm they’ve experienced by using toxic resins without taking the proper precautions. Watch the video to learn about some great safety measures you can take.
Whether you’re using ArtResin or another brand, it’s critical to follow the product’s instructions and be cautious while you’re using it. ArtResin is safer than other brands, but that doesn’t mean you should let down your guard completely. As with everything, just be smart.
The verdict is that you shouldn’t put your resin art in the dishwasher. Even if you don’t notice an issue as you unload your dishware, you don’t know what was going on in there during your dishwasher’s hottest cycle. Handwashing the few pieces of resin dishware you own is a small sacrifice to make sure that you’re protecting your health and preserving your art.
Go forth and create great art!