10 Surprising Things You Can Clean in the Dishwasher

updated Sep 4, 2019
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If you are lucky enough to have a dishwasher, you may be fortunate in ways you didn’t even know. See, we spend a lot of time talking about the things you shouldn’t put in the dishwasher (anything cast iron, good knives, wood cutting boards … the list goes on). But there are tons of random things — beyond your everyday kitchen dinnerware — that can go in!

It’s true! You can take advantage of your dishwasher and have it tackle some of your spring cleaning, while you relax on the patio with a cocktail.

Here’s what you can clean in there — and where it all should go.

Top Rack

  • Baseball hats: All that head sweat! Set your dishwasher to the least warm temperature setting and be sure to turn off the drying cycle, which can damage the hat. Note: They do sell forms to help hats keep their shape, but it’s not necessary as long as you remove the hat and reshape it for drying.
  • Light switch covers: If you’ve ever taken off your light switch covers to paint, you know how gross these things can get. Once a year, unscrew them all and give them a good cleaning. Just make sure you put the screws in a safe place so you don’t lose them!
  • Hair brush: Use your fingers or a comb to pull out as much left-behind-hair as possible (you don’t want it clogging up the drain). Then, say goodbye to all that dust and fuzz that somehow collected over time.
  • Flip flops: These things can get so filthy by the end of just a single week. Wash away dirt, grime, and who knows what else in a quick cycle.
  • Plastic succulents: It can be near impossible to dust (like, really dust) a fake succulent — especially where the leaves connect. Luckily the dishwasher can hit all those hard-to-get places.
  • Sponges: You may have heard that you can microwave a sponge to sanitize it, but that is actually a fire hazard and not all that effective. A better bet? Putting it in the dishwasher with your regular load of dishes.
  • Plastic toys: Hey, parents! Did you know that plastic toys (that don’t use batteries) can be sanitized in the dishwasher?
  • Silicone oven mitts: Our oven mitts take a beating over time. All things silicone can go in the dishwasher, which means your mitts can get a bath.

Bottom Rack

  • Refrigerator shelves: You could take these out and scrub them by hand, or you could wash them in the dishwasher. Smaller shelves will fit standing up (like your plates) but a bigger shelf might need to lay across the rack.

Utensil Holder

  • Ceramic cabinet hardware: Those knobs that you put your grubby mitts all over day in and day out? They’re probably filthy with germs. And if they have a textured pattern, they might have all sorts of crud in the grooves. Instead of driving yourself crazy, scrubbing them with a toothbrush, just unscrew ’em and pop them in the utensil holder of the dishwasher.

What else do you put in the dishwasher?