Almost 40 Everyday Things You Can Wash in the Dishwasher
My normally mild-mannered friend recently had an apoplectic fit when his dishwasher broke.
“Aren’t you being just a little dramatic about this?” I asked him. “You live alone and you rarely cook. Really, how many dishes are you going to have hand wash until your next paycheck when you can pay for a new dishwasher?”
My friend, who is a professional organizer who works with hoarders, rolled his eyes at me. “What you call a dishwasher, I call a multi-purpose cleaning apparatus.”
He then proceeded to school me on the fact that an Energy Star rated dishwasher can be used to speed clean a variety of household objects with just four gallons of water per load — less water than hand washing each item! Who knew?
Here are some of the things he washes in the dishwasher instead of by hand. (See also: The 5 Best Dishwashers)
Legos, Frisbees, and action figures can be washed on the top rack. Put small toys into a mesh lingerie bag to keep them from falling to the bottom of the dishwasher and melting on the heating element.
Your Dog’s Gear
In addition to the dog dish, dog toys, nylon collars, leashes, and harnesses are all good candidates for the dishwasher. (Don’t wash leather or rhinestones). Thoroughly and immediately dry metal hardware to prevent rust.
If you’ve ever wrecked a favorite baseball cap by warping it in the regular washing machine, then you’ll recognize the genius of washing your sports head gear in the dishwasher using a cap washer instead.
Other Sporting Gear
In addition to your caps, you can also wash athletic gear like shin guards and padding in the dishwasher on the top rack. When washing athletic gear, do not use detergent and remember not to use the dry cycle.
Wash your mouth guard in the silverware compartment.
Personal Hygiene Tools and Supplies
Many people regularly wash their toothbrushes in the dishwasher to kill bacteria.
Actually, as long as they are made of plastic, you can also wash brushes, combs, and make-up applicators in the dishwasher, too. Just remove all the hair from the brush first for obvious reasons.
Flip-flops, garden clogs, rain boots, and galoshes can all be washed in the dishwasher. Remove any liners first. Really dirty rubber shoes can be pre-rinsed in the shower. (Do this while you are waiting for the water to heat up to save water). Crocs, however, should only be hand washed in cold water.
Assorted Household Vents and Covers
Electrical outlet covers and switch plates are often shockingly filthy. Wash these on the top rack along with plastic fan blades and grilles.
Your dishwasher will do a handy job of cleaning all the hard to reach corners of your vent covers and (small) window screens, provided that they fit. Ditto your refrigerator shelves and drawers.
Tools can be washed in the dishwasher (as long as they don’t have wooden handles). Just make sure to thoroughly and immediately dry your tools to prevent rust. Garden tools or pots that have come in contact with chemicals should not be washed with dishes! Do an extra rinse cycle to avoid cross contamination. (See also: How to Clean Your Dishwasher)
Cabinet Knobs and Pulls
Intricate knobs from your kitchen or bathroom can be quickly cleaned in the silverware basket. By the way, anything made of brass should never see the inside of a dishwasher.
A dishwasher is a great way to sterilize glass jars before canning. However, regardless of what random people on the internet tell you, you cannot use your dishwasher to process your preserves! The water does not get hot enough to destroy microorganisms.
Clean your cleaning supplies. Along with keeping your kitchen sponges stink-free, scrub brushes, the dustpan, vacuum attachments, and other housekeeping tools can be refreshed by a run through the dishwasher.
Wash small waste paper baskets and compost bins in the dishwasher.
Although my friend has never steamed a fish in his dishwasher, he does admit to running a load of potatoes and yams during the holidays. “It’s the real secret behind my latkes.”
What weird things have you washed in the dishwasher?