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The core question is "What Ingress Protection (IP) rating is required for an item to be dishwasher safe?" Is the answer different for residential versus commercial dishwashers? Is the practical residential answer different than the regulated answer (e.g., for food prep or medical settings). Does the use of dishwashing detergent invalidate the rating in practice?

Note, IP ratings are not cumulative from IPX6 (jets) or less to IPX7 (immersion) or more, so an item might technically need a dual rating, but I've rarely seen that in my very limited research. Are both needed?

The difficulty of performing some tests appears to vary (e.g., 1 meter immersion is pretty simple compared to water jet set at a specific flow rate, angle, and turning rate). Might this lead to some certifications not being sought?

My most immediate interest is shopping for a cooking thermometer, but it seems applicable to a variety of other equipment like small speakers (picnic disaster) and phones (baby vomit) and keyboards. I know at least some hospital/medical keyboards are specified as IP66 or IP67 and also washable and dishwasher safe (and presumably "coffee-safe" and "Coke-safe"). Some flexible membrane keyboards are described similarly but are not rated.

Simple queries such as "What IP rating is dishwasher safe" or "Is IP66 dishwasher safe" were not directly fruitful. Several manufactures describe some of their products as dishwasher safe that are rated variously at IP66 or IP67 or IP57 (but not other comparably rated products even from the same manufacturer).

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    $\begingroup$ As the term "dish water safe" is commonly used, it has more to do with the material's ability to handle the heat of a dishwasher without changing shape. That is because most of what goes into dishwashers are in fact dishes. The sealing of a solid object does not apply. I have seen very few electronics that I would even consider putting in a dishwasher, and even those typically say to make sure that they are thoroughly dry before using, I.e. keyboards. $\endgroup$
    – hazzey
    Commented Sep 10, 2016 at 13:27
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    $\begingroup$ Sadly, it's not going to be a 1-to-1 mapping with the IP rating system, but I imagine there is some test procedure out there. In the US, the NSF ( nsf.org ) does most of the standards for commercial and home use food service items, so I would start by looking through their standards and test procedures. $\endgroup$
    – Ethan48
    Commented Sep 10, 2016 at 13:59
  • $\begingroup$ Some NEMA ratings take more environmental factors into account. I didn't see anything during a quick perusal of NSF.org (per @Ethan48). Several manufacturers/vendors do advertise IP-ratings and "dishwasher safe" (e.g., thermometers and keyboards). $\endgroup$
    – BillR
    Commented Sep 12, 2016 at 12:15

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What you've found is, pretty much, a good guide to the situation.

IP ratings are not designed to measure whether something is dishwasher safe or not. That's not their purpose. And so they just don't map onto whether or not something is dishwasher-safe or not. That is to say, something might be IP66K and not be dishwasher-safe; something else that is IP55 might be dishwasher-safe.

So I can see how one might expect "what IP-rating is dishwasher-safe?" to be meaningful question - but it's not. It's a different kind of rating.

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  • $\begingroup$ Is there an applicable standard other than the manufacturer/vendor simply claiming "dishwasher safe" with perhaps "top shelf only"? NEMA appears to have some ratings that might me applicable. $\endgroup$
    – BillR
    Commented Sep 10, 2016 at 9:07
  • $\begingroup$ [Sorry, full comment] I can think of 4 factors that make a dishwasher vary from the test: 1. Duration (say vaguely 10 minutes each for 2 wash and 2 rinse cycles versus repeated dousing). 2. Heat and pressure of jetted water. 3. Presence and duration of steam (heat and miniscule droplets) during the wash/rinse cycles but especially while drying. 4. Detergent (versus fresh water). Would limiting the cycle to rinse with no detergent and either energy saver drying (low heat; short duration) or no heat make the standard more applicable? $\endgroup$
    – BillR
    Commented Sep 10, 2016 at 9:09

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