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Which 3D printing filament is dishwasher-safe?

Aug 01,2023 | 3D4Create

Not all 3D printed creations are suitable for the dishwasher. The high heat and powerful water jets can damage prints made from inferior filaments. Here is also a discussion on Quora about this topic.

 In this guide, we’ll highlight the best filament options for dishwasher durability.

I. The Risks of Dishwashing 3D Prints

Before discussing filament choices, it’s important to understand the risks of putting 3D printed objects in the dishwasher:

  • High temperatures - Dishwasher interior temperatures often exceed 140°F, which can soften and warp prints made from low-temp filaments.
  • High water pressure - Powerful spray jets apply physical force that can delaminate poorly bonded 3D printed layers.
  • Filament degradation - Prolonged hot water exposure combined with detergents can degrade certain plastics, making them brittle.
  • Water absorption - Porous prints allow water to penetrate layers, leading to swelling and dissolving of bonds.

 

II. ABS – Not Recommended for Dishwashers

ABS (acrylonitrile butadiene styrene) is an affordable and versatile 3D printer filament, but has drawbacks regarding dishwasher safety:

  • Low glass transition temp of 105°C makes ABS prone to warping in dishwasher heat.
  • Layers bond weakly, allowing delamination under high-pressure spray jets.
  • Porous structure of ABS absorbs water that degrades the plastic.

While ABS prints may survive an occasional gentle wash, regular dishwashing will quickly cause deterioration. For long-term durability, ABS is not the best choice.

eSUN ABS+ Filament for 3D Printer 1.75mm 1KG

eSUN ABS+ Filament for 3D Printer 1.75mm 1KG

 

III. PLA – Use Caution When Dishwashing

PLA (polylactic acid) filament is extremely popular for its glossy prints, low toxicity, and biodegradability. However, PLA has limitations with dishwasher use:

  • Glass transition around 150°C means hot water can soften and deform prints.
  • Brittleness of PLA makes it crack easily when subjected to physical stresses.
  • Dishwasher chemicals can interact with PLA and create surface defects.

Under ideal conditions, PLA may withstand occasional gentle dishwashing. But results can be unpredictable, so caution is advised.

eSUN 3D Printer Filament PLA+ 1.75mm 1KG

eSUN 3D Printer Filament PLA+ 1.75mm 1KG

 

IV. PETG – Excellent Dishwasher Safety

PETG (polyethylene terephthalate glycol-modified) is a durable, flexible filament with great dishwasher safety:

  • High glass transition (180°C) keeps PETG stable in dishwasher heat.
  • Modified chemical structure resists water absorption and detergent damage.
  • Strong interlayer bonding prevents delamination under jet spray.
  • Low moisture absorption and chemical inertness.

Providing a watertight print is achieved, PETG maintains mechanical integrity with repeated dishwasher cycles. PETG is widely considered among the best dishwasher-safe 3D printing filaments.

 

V. Nylon – Superb Dishwasher Resistance

Nylon impresses with its strength, durability, and temperature resistance:

  • Glass transition above 200°C makes nylon highly stable in dishwasher conditions.
  • Hydrophobic properties prevent water absorption damage.
  • Excellent interlayer adhesion prevents delamination failures.
  • Withstands chemical exposure from detergents.

The biggest downside is the higher printing temperatures nylon requires. But for unbeatable heat resistance, nylon joins PETG as an ideal dishwasher-safe filament.

Which 3D printing filament is dishwasher-safe?

Printing with nylon filament (photo: UltiMaker)

 

VI. Conclusion: Choose the Best Filament for Dishwasher Safety

Dishwashers introduce harsh conditions like high temperatures, water jets, and caustic detergents that can degrade poorly printed objects. Selecting a suitable 3D printer filament is key to producing durable and reliable dishwasher-safe items.

Of the major filament types, PETG and nylon stand out for their heat resistance, toughness, and chemical inertness during repeated wash cycles. For lightly washed items, modified PLA blends present a lower-cost option. ABS and standard PLA generally have poor dishwasher performance.

Take time to evaluate filament options and print test models to verify dishwasher safety. With the right filament, your custom 3D printed creations can have a permanent place at the dining table and in the kitchen.

 

FAQS

1. Is PLA filament dishwasher-safe?

PLA is one of the most common desktop 3D printing filaments, but it's not inherently dishwasher-safe. The high heat and harsh detergents can distort or degrade untreated PLA over time. When using dishwasher to clean your PLA, you need to be cautious.

2. What about ABS filament? Is it dishwasher-safe?

Like PLA, standard ABS filament on its own is not well suited for the dishwasher. It can become misshapen or cracked when subjected to hot water and strong detergents. Post-processing is needed to improve heat and chemical resistance.

3. Are there any 3D printing filaments that can withstand the dishwasher as-is?

Yes, there are now several filament materials specially engineered to be dishwasher-safe, such as Porcelaine PLA, Copperfill PLA, and nGen. Look for filaments marketed as "dishwasher safe" and always test a sample print before relying on it for dishware.

See Also

Can PLA be used in a dishwasher?

Getting the Best Results: Optimal 3D Printing Temperatures for PLA, ABS, PETG, TPU, Nylon

PLA, ABS, Nylon & PETG Shrinkage & Compensation: Essential Facts

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