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Unusual things you can clean in your dishwasher

Did you know that dishwasher is probably the most under-used appliance in your kitchen? We’ve put together a list about unlikely items you can clean in the dishwasher.


Blue and yellow dishes in dishwasher

What to remember:

  1. The top rack of the dishwasher is cooler for more delicate items.

  2. Anything with a motor or a battery is best cleaned with a cloth.  

  3. Check labels. If special care is required, don’t risk it in the dishwasher.

The dishwasher is designed for cleaning. Water inside is heated up, combined with a detergent, then sprayed at high pressure onto dirty plates and pans to remove all traces of food. The heating element is at the bottom of the machine, and this is where temperatures and cleaning power peak. The generally hotter temperatures in dishwashers mean they kill more bacteria.

The dishwasher can clean many household items.

  • Refrigerator shelves, especially the glass ones, will be shinier for a session in the dishwasher. Plastic shelves and egg holders can go on the top rack.

  • Give dirty potatoes a good clean just before you eat them by putting them on the top rack and whizzing them through a fast rinse cycle with no detergent. They will be partially cooked by the heat, so don’t put them back in the pantry.

  • Canvas shoes and flip-flops can benefit from a turn in the dishwasher. Remove dirt, insoles and laces, put them on the top rack and choose a no or low-heat setting with a little dishwashing detergent rather than the usual dishwasher tablets. Stuff them with newspaper afterwards to help them retain their shape while drying.

  • Give oily pan supports from the hob a thorough de-greasing with a cycle in the bottom of the dishwasher.

  • Scrubbing brushes and dishpans can go in the dishwasher, which will kill bacteria. Remove all debris first. The same applies to plastic combs and hair brushes – get rid of the hair before a turn on the top rack of the dishwasher.

  • Sports gear such as caps and shin guards can be freshened up in the dishwasher. Substitute a couple of drops of dishwashing detergent for dishwasher tablets.

  • Put vacuum attachments – only the plastic variety – on the top rack at a low-heat setting. They may have rubber parts that don’t react well to high temperatures.

  • Grills from the range hood, air vent covers – these can be degreased in the dishwasher. For plastic grills, put them in the top rack and turn the heat down.

  • Kids’ toys can go in, but just those made of plastic and nothing electronic or battery operated. Put toys on the top rack and decrease the temperature. Clean building blocks and small items by putting them in a mesh bag and placing this on the top rack.

Dishwashers have been around longer than you might think as the first patent was issued in 1880. Modern dishwashers relieve the monotony of washing dishes by hand and are good for the environment by using less water. Clean your dishwasher filter every week or second week to avoid the build-up of food particles or blockages. See this article for more details.

Small items such as lids and stoppers can benefit from the dishwasher treatment but may fall through the racks. Put them in a mesh bag first.

The Poll

What’s most important to you when it comes to cleaning?

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Originally published