And while very few people find peace and solace in deep cleaning, sometimes you’ve just got to do it.
Anyone lucky enough to have a dishwasher knows the time it can save. But did you know it can be used to clean more than just your dishes, pots, and silverware?
From car keys to kid toys, here are over 40 things you may not have known you could wash in the dishwasher (so long as they don’t come with instructions NOT to!):
We thought not.
Those things are filthy AND they have crevices everywhere. Sure, you can drop them in some hot water and dish soap, but if you really want to give them a deep clean, stick them in the dishwasher.
Just be sure to remove keychains and anything else that the heat cycle might melt.
(And, of course, don’t stick your electronic keys in there.)
2. Contact lens cases
Many dishwashers come with a little cage near the silverware that they can be tucked into so the pieces don’t go flying around.
You don’t want to put them in there with really rank dishes or while cleaning pots and pans, but tossing them in with a light load is no big deal.
If they’re thin, however, you probably don’t want the heat cycle.
Now, you’re going to want to make sure you can clean your dishwasher drain if you put really filthy shoes in there. And you definitely want to skip the heat cycle so you don’t melt any adhesives.
But consider this tactic when you’ve been out and about and have a penchant for wearing shoes in the house. There’s no end to what you can track in, posing problems for air quality and pets.
4. Vacuum cleaner attachments
While the machine itself will need to be wiped down, any attachments you have (even brushes) can be run through the dishwasher to remove dust, dirt, bacteria, etc.
There’s no use in cleaning a dirty house with a dirty tool!
5. Car floor mat
The nooks and crannies make it even harder.
But enter the dishwasher!
Put them in there alone since you don’t know what they might be harboring, and always look to make sure the manufacturer hasn’t specifically forbidden it.
6. Glass light fixture coverings
It’s so much easier to just put them in the dishwasher, making sure to use a streak-free detergent.
Some people swear by putting them in the microwave, but that can easily become a serious fire hazard.
You don’t have the same worries with the dishwasher though.
8. Garden tools
Sure, we might wipe them off, but there’s plenty of bacteria in the soil that can get all over your implements.
From spades to shears, small tools can go in the dishwasher – just not with your spoon and forks (that’s just yucky).
9. Plastic hairbrushes and combs
It’s kind of incredible to believe many of us go years before we think about cleaning something we use every day.
And maybe you’re the “it’ll toughen their immune system crowd” when it comes to your kids. That might work when we’re not in the middle of a global pandemic.
But we are. So next time you have some space in the dishwasher put those plastic toys in there.
Again, you might want to skip the heat cycle for delicate plastics or toys with adhesives that could melt in the heat.
11. Ziploc bags
If you let something go rotten in there, it’s probably best to get rid of it, but if there’s more life left, put it in the dishwasher and get a few more uses out of it.
We didn’t want to skip it in case it seems like a great idea to you.
Of course, you have to get them off your car first, so they may be easier to wash where they are.
13. Exhaust fan covers
Before you turn on your heat or A/C – or every couple of months for bathroom exhaust fans – is a good time to take off those covers and give them a deep clean.
You can do this in the sink, but the dishwasher is going to be much easier and faster.
14. Microwave turntables
All that stuck-on muck that you don’t want to think about after your teenagers have nuked one too many convenience store snacks will be a mere memory after a trip through the dishwasher.
15. Refrigerator shelves and bins
And we have to admit that we’ve even used the dishwasher as a drying rack without thinking about it for cleaning too!
16. Silicone oven mitts
Think about how clean all of your kitchen stuff will be when you open that door to see even your oven mitts freshly cleaned and disinfected.
17. Outlet covers
But next time you paint and take them off anyway, consider giving them a run through the dishwasher.
And hopefully, everyone is using a disinfectant on them pretty frequently anyway since they’re such a high-touch surface!
18. Soap dishes
But soap dishes (and pumps) get scummy and need some hot suds every now and then.
The dishwasher makes easy work of it.
19. Toothbrush holders
Spray from toilets spread throughout the bathroom.
Don’t freak out, but do go ahead and throw it in the dishwasher next time you’re cleaning the bathroom.
20. Rubber tub mats
Again, it’s not even something we think about cleaning very often – but we should!
21. Shower poufs
But keep them clean in between – or even extend their life a little – by giving them a hot wash in your dishwasher every couple of weeks.
22. Manicure and pedicure tools
Sure, we could hit them with an antibacterial wipe every now and then, but we don’t ever seem to remember.
What would occur to us, however, is to throw them in with the silverware next time we wash dishes so they can be sanitized.
23. Pacifiers and teething rings
Be sure to double-check the specifics, of course, but usually, pacifiers and teething rings can be thrown on the top rack of the dishwasher for a good de-germing.
24. Pet toys
Not only do slobber and food get all over pet toys, but anything that goes outside really should get at least a wipedown before they come into your home.
25. Pet collars and leashes
Just make sure to wrap it around something so it doesn’t get tangled in the spinning arms.
It’ll get off years of dust without leaving residue.
Just do a little research on the material and paint first so you’re not disappointed.
27. Golf balls
Just make sure to use the silverware basket so they don’t fall through the cracks.
28. Grill grates
Just watch out for steel or cast iron grates – those may rust. Stick to washing your less hefty grates in the dishwasher, giving them a good soapy soak first if you’re dealing with stuck-on food.
29. Flower pots
Just wash these separately – they carry different kinds of dirt and bacteria than your dishes do.
And check your filter before you put your dishes in there for their next trip through.
30. Appliance knobs
Again, gentle cycles that don’t remove paint and skipping the heat dry at the end (to prevent any warping) are a great way to get them clean as a whistle.
31. Baseball caps
Just be sure your detergent doesn’t contain bleach before running it through the warm cycle with heat dry off.
Set the hat out to dry in a place that has good airflow.
32. Trash cans
That’s why the dishwasher can be so helpful.
It’s no fun to scrub those by hand!
33. Window screens
These are so hard to wash by hand because pieces of paper towel, etc. can get left behind.
Not true of the trusty dishwasher!
34. Flip flops and rain boots
But your boots down horizontally and hook your flip flops around the rack so they don’t bounce around.
You may not want to put your pricey Hunter boots in the dishwasher, but anything utilitarian is good to go.
35. Stove grates and oven shelves
They’re hard to get the grime off of and they’re always dirty. Oh, and they’re no fun to let try either.
The dishwasher it is!
36. Sporting gear
But shin guards and the like? Sure!
Get rid of the sweat and the smell – because you know your kid is not going to clean their own.
37. Clothes dryer lint screen
Sure, the lint is relatively easy to peel off, but after it gets stuck in there real good, it’s a lot less easy.
If the sink in your basement is easily accessible (and not the spider sanctuary ours seems to be), then you can always use that.
But the dishwasher just seems to easy when you think about it!
38. Bath toys
Bath toys can stand up to a lot, but just because they’re in a soapy tub doesn’t mean they’re germ-free.
Put them in the dishwasher with the rest of your kiddos’ toys when you get a chance.
39. Plastic hair accessories
But plastic headbands on the top rack and plastic barrettes and clips in the cutlery cage and you’ve got yourself a sanitary set of hair accessories!
Bye-bye stuck on hairspray and goodness only knows what else!
Just because it’s i the shower doesn’t mean it’s clean!
41. Fake, plastic flowers
No more dusty flowers making things look dingy!
But since they’re in the same room as the dishwasher, maybe we’ll remember to stick them in next time!
And, of course, if an item says you shouldn’t put it in the dishwasher, trust that info.