In the process, you spun up a Moscow Mule (or 5) and as you start to clean up the disaster formerly known as your kitchen, BOOM, the questions hits you: are copper mugs dishwasher safe? This can be a little confusing (especially after a bunch of cocktails 😉 because many manufacturers include care instructions stating their copper mugs are in fact dishwasher safe but others say they are not.
What is one to do?
As a general rule of thumb: keep it simple and always hand wash and dry your copper mugs.
However, there’s a little nuance here and it ultimately comes down to the type of mugs you own so let us break it down…
- Stainless steel, copper plated mugs are the ones you typically see in bars, restaurants and big box stores. They’re silver inside and plated with copper on the outside. This copper coating is thin and over time, it weakens and becomes prone to chipping or peeling off. The reality is its inevitable copper plated mugs will weaken but placing them in a dishwasher and exposing them to the harsh chemicals found in today’s dishwasher soaps will fast forward this “weathering” process. To extend their life and preserve the “look”, wash and dry your copper mugs by hand.
- Unlined copper mugs do not have a food safe lacquer coating and that’s by design. Most people purchase unlined mugs because they’re going for the Ayurvedic health benefits of drinking from copper vessels and/or they like the vintage look they yield as they naturally tarnish over time (frequent contact with liquids accelerates the process). We believe these are the only copper mugs that are technically dishwasher safe though we’d recommend hand washing too.
- 100% solid copper mugs with a food safe lacquer coating should never be placed into a dishwasher. Just like their copper plated cousins, the chemicals will wreak havoc on the sensitive metal. Moreover, the hot water-chemical combo will remove the coating and kick the tarnishing process into high gear, sometimes after a single washing. Because pure copper mugs are more expensive than stainless steel ones, hand wash your copper cups so they last longer. Yes, its an extra step and not as easy as tossing them into the dishwasher but it literally takes 30 seconds and doing so will allow them to retain their beautiful appearance for years and you’ll maximize your copper mug investment.
You already know the drill: if you maintain a bar at home, you probably have lots of cocktail and glassware that’s not suitable for the dishwasher. Keep it simple and don’t put your copper mugs into the dishwasher…wash them yourself as you would fine wine glasses, which are exceptionally delicate and are washed by hand on the day they are used. Mule cups are no different and it’s better to be meticulous and take the additional time to care for the mugs instead of having to ultimately replace them.
Treat yourself…pick up a set of copper mugs for your home, NOW!