Thinking about getting a nice set of copper mugs for your Moscow mule? You better not go into the purchase thinking you can simply place the mugs in the dishwasher, they should be hand washed to ensure they hold up over time. Keeping your copper mugs clean is important not only for looks but also for your safety.
Some mugs may state they are safe for use in the dishwasher but the vast majority of copper mugs are lined with nickel or in some cases stainless steel. The lining keeps the copper from leaching out into your beverage but it is also somewhat delicate and if washed in a dishwasher frequently can be compromised.
Dishwashers can be pretty abrasive on delicate dishes and cups and over time the lining can crack, chip, or even flake off resulting in a lining that is not sealed. Once the lining is compromised then the heavy metals from the copper can enter your drinks and the nickel lining can also flake off even more possible leaving small particles in your drinks as well.
As a big fan of the home bar I have a number of cups and accessories that never go into the dishwasher. I have some wine glasses that are very delicate and always get hand washed – usually the day after they are used – and these copper Moscow Mule cups are no different.
Even if you were to use them only on occasion I would still advise giving them a hand wash every time. Because each mug can cost between $15-$30 or so I’d rather take the extra time to care for the ones I already own than damage them and have to replace them down the road.
If you do have a set of copper mugs with no lining then you are probably ok to place them in the dishwasher but these types of mugs are harder to find in stores due to the questionable nature of their health effects. You can read more about this in this article: Are Copper Mugs Safe To Drink From?
If you do go with handwashing then I’d also recommend reading the following page on maintaining your copper. It’s all about keeping your copper mugs from tarnishing.