20 Surprising Things You Can Clean in Your Dishwasher

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Along with a microwave oven, a dishwasher is the other great time-saving appliance to have in your kitchen. Load up the racks and utensil basket with dirty dishes, glassware, mugs, and silverware, add dishwasher detergent, hit the start button, and go enjoy your life while the appliance cleans up. Depending on the model, you can even select how thorough you want the dishware cleaned while avoiding an overuse of water; select a setting to actually sanitize the dishware; and allow the appliance to dry the contents using its heating element so the plates, bowls, cups, forks, spoons, knives, etc. can go directly from the dishwasher to the cabinet shelves or drawers, ready for the next mealtime. In fact, dishwashers are so convenient, you may even be tempted to load them up with something other than dishware.

What else can I wash in my dishwasher besides dishes?

Wait a minute. Can a dishwasher actually be used to clean items other than the traditional plates, glassware, coffee mugs, and silverware? Of course! Here’s a list of 20 surprising things you can put in your dishwasher right now:

  1. Toothbrushes – Set these right in the utensil basket with the bristles facing upward and, if available, select the “Sanitize” setting to make sure you’re killing any lingering germs.
  2. Toothbrush holders – We’re all familiar with the unsightly residue that collects at the bottom of these holders. Remove the top, if applicable, and set them upside down on the dishwasher’s upper or lower rack for a thorough cleaning.
  3. Soap dishes – Since we’re talking about bathroom items, setting a soap dish in between the dishwasher rack tines the next time you run a wash cycle is a quick way to remove stubborn soap scum.
  4. Mouthguards – Another item that you use in your mouth regularly, so you’ll want to make sure you sanitize it often. Securing the mouthguard in the utensil basket is a convenient way to do this.
  5. Manicure/pedicure tools – Nail clippers and files should be sanitized frequently as well. These metal objects can be placed in the utensil basket right alongside the silverware.
  6. Plastic hair brushes – As long as the hair brush or comb is made of plastic or nylon, you can safely clean it in a dishwasher. This is not recommended if the brush’s handle is made of wood since the water will cause the wood to warp and crack. Also, these items should be placed on the upper dishrack to keep them further away from the heating element (to prevent the plastic from melting).
  7. Scrub brushes – Why stop with hair brushes? Scrub brushes collect a lot of dirt and debris with use, so it’s a good idea to run them through a dishwasher wash cycle from time-to-time.
  8. Dust pans – While we’re on the subject of cleaning items, a metal or plastic dust pan can fit quite nicely on a lower dishrack next to a pot or pan.
  9. Small trash cans – Since these items are comparable to the size of a cooking pot, there’s no reason not to set them upside down on the lower dishrack and give them a good cleaning now and then.
  10. Vacuum attachments – The small brushes and nozzles used on your vacuum are going to get dirty, too. They can often fit quite easily over the dishrack tines.
  11. Plastic toys – Small bath toys, or ones without electronics or metal prone to corrosion, can be cleaned/sanitized in the dishwasher as well. As with the hair brushes, place these items on the upper dishrack only.
  12. Car cupholders – Many car cupholders can be easily detached and placed on a dishrack or in the utensil basket for a thorough cleaning.
  13. Kitchen sponges – If there is anything you use in the kitchen that can benefit from sanitizing, it’s one of these!
  14. Plastic food storage containers – This one is kind of obvious, but many plastic containers are not only microwave safe, but dishwasher safe as well. While we’re on the subject of kitchen items that can be cleaned in a dishwasher…
  15. Microwave glass trays – Yep, get that turntable tray as sparkling clean as your other glassware by simply placing it alongside your plates in the lower dishrack.
  16. Grease filters – Whether found in a range vent hood or on the bottom of a microwave/hood combo, grease filters can be easily cleaned in a dishwasher to improve their filtration ability and extend their life.
  17. Cooktop and oven control knobs – These items are frequently being coated with grease, oils, and spaghetti sauce when a cooktop is in use. Since they’re relatively easy to remove, why not set them in the utensil basket and run them through a dishwasher wash cycle to help keep them looking like new?
  18. Silicone oven mitts – While they’re not a traditional clothing item, there’s nothing wrong with cleaning them in the dishwasher from time-to-time. But only if the mitts are silicone-based; cloth mitts should be washed normally in a washing machine.
  19. Flipflops – Speaking of clothing items, you wouldn’t want to clean most footwear in a dishwasher, but cheap flip-flops? Sure. Just make sure the straps don’t interfere with the spinning wash arms.
  20. Golf balls – Hey, who wants to play with grimy balls? Place these in the utensil basket (sometime referred to as a “silverware caddy”!) to secure them during the wash cycle.

Use common sense when loading your dishwasher

Since dishracks and baskets are designed to secure standard dishware and utensils during dishwasher operation, you’ll want to be careful when cleaning non-traditional items. Any item that could slip through a dishrack or interfere with a wash arm should be secured in the basket. You may also need to place any smaller or unwieldly items in a mesh bag that will allow the water and detergent to reach the items while preventing them from falling into the drain filter and pump components.

Find the right dishwasher parts with Repair Clinic

Since your dishwasher is such a handy appliance to clean dishware and so much more, you’ll want to make sure you keep it in peak operating condition. Repair Clinic stocks all the parts you need to repair or maintain the appliance, including drain hoses, water inlet valves, drain pumps, spray arms, dishracks, rack rollers, heating elements, and much more. Just type the full model number of your dishwasher into the Repair Clinic website search bar to reveal a complete list of appliance parts compatible with your appliance. You can use the part category and part title filters to refine that list to identify the specific part you want. Repair Clinic carries parts for all the top brand dishwashers including Bosch, KitchenAid dishwasher parts, Kenmore, Maytag, Samsung, GE, Frigidaire, LG, and Whirlpool, but you’ll want to make sure you’re purchasing the exact part that fits your model.

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