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Should terra cotta be washed and cleaned in a dishwasher?
Terra cotta should not be washed in the dishwasher because of its porous nature. Strong detergents will be absorbed and can later taint food that is cooked in the pot. Clean with a soft brush and a solution of baking soda and water. To season terra cotta, wash and dry the piece. Fill the pot with water and place it in an oven at the lowest setting (150-200 degrees F.) Leave the oven on for one-half hour and then turn it off. Leave the terra cotta pot in the oven with the door closed until the water returns to room temperature. The pot is now ready to use. PREPARED BY: Angela M. Fraser, Ph.D., Associate Professor/Food Safety Specialist, and Carolyn J. Lackey, Ph.D., R.D., L.D.N., Professor/Food and Nutrition Specialist, North Carolina State University (August 2004)