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Homekeeping · Cleaning · 19 Things You Never Have To Clean By Hand Again
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19 Things You Never Have To Clean By Hand Again

It's called a dishwasher for good reason, but that doesn't mean it can't clean other things too!

It’s hard enough to stay on top of large-scale cleaning tasks like vacuuming and mopping without considering all of the smaller items around the house that need to be cleaned too! It’s discouraging, to say the least, to feel as though there simply aren’t enough hours in the day to do it all.

But there’s a quick and easy way to clean some of those smaller items that you may not have considered before: in your dishwasher. Because much like your washing machine, your dishwasher is capable of cleaning more than its name suggests!

To show you just how versatile this particular cleaning machine can be, today we’ll be exploring 19 different things you can clean in your dishwasher. Keeping those smaller things clean just got a whole lot easier!

Related: 18 Unexpected Things You Can Clean In Your Washing Machine

2 General Guidelines For Cleaning Things In Your Dishwasher

  1. Only sturdy items should go in the bottom rack of your dishwasher, while everything else should into the top rack to avoid potential damage. (When in doubt, choose the top rack just to be safe!)
  2. In most cases, you can wash non-dish items and dishes in the same load without worry. (If the item(s) you want to clean is caked in dirt or really grimy, you may want to wash that by itself.)

19 Things You Can Clean In Your Dishwasher

1. Silk Flowers

Say goodbye to that stubborn layer of dust and grime on your faux flowers! If they aren’t completely dry after washing, allow them to air dry before putting them back on display.

2. Baseball Caps

Toss sweaty or dirty ball caps into the top rack of your dishwasher to clean them.

(Note: This applies to modern caps only, almost all of which have sturdy plastic brims. Vintage caps should be carefully cleaned by hand, just in case they were made back when cardboard was standard in cap brims.)

3. Flip Flops

If your favorite pair of flip flops that could use a bit of TLC, toss them in your dishwasher to clean them up.

4. Vacuum Attachments

When was the last time you cleaned your vacuum attachments? (I personally can’t remember the last time I did it, which is never a good sign!) Toss them in the top rack of your dishwasher to clear out any dirt that may be trapped inside them.

5. Hairbrushes

Unless your hairbrush is made of wood or has natural bristles, you can clean it in your dishwasher. (Just try to remove as much hair from it as possible beforehand, and allow it to air dry for several hours or overnight afterward.)

6. Gardening Tools

Your dishwasher can help blast away all the dirt and grime that’s stuck to your trowel.

7. Exhaust Fans

If your bathroom exhaust fan looks particularly dusty, it may be preventing the fan from working properly. Non-electrical parts are easy to clean in your dishwasher.

(For more on cleaning your bathroom fan, read my post on the topic!)

8. Kitchen Sponges And Brushes

Even your cleaning tools need to be cleaned occasionally, especially germ magnets like kitchen sponges, brushes, scrubbers, etc.

9. Silicone Hot Pads And Trivets

Many of today’s kitchen accessories are made from silicone, both because it can withstand high temperatures and it’s easy to clean. In fact, you can toss your silicone trivet, oven mitts, spoon rest, sponge holder, and other accessories in the top rack of your dishwasher to clean them.

10. Microwave Turntables

When microwave spills happen, the turntable usually takes the brunt of the mess. Just load that messy turntable into the bottom rack of your dishwasher to clean it up!

11. Vases

Use your dishwasher to clean out any gunk that may be clinging to the bottom of your vases. Sturdy glass and ceramic vases should do fine in the bottom rack, but thin vases should go in the top rack.

12. Fridge Shelves And Bins

If you’ve never had something sticky spill inside your fridge that went all the way down the back wall and into the produce bins, consider yourself lucky! But if you ever do end up with a sticky situation inside your fridge, let your dishwasher help with the cleanup by loading any sticky shelves and bins into either rack.

13. Light Fixtures, Switch Plates, And Outlet Covers

The plastic covers on your switch plates and outlets are pretty much always dirtier than you’d think, and light fixture covers often become dust-ridden resting places for long-departed bugs. Clean them all quickly and easily in your dishwasher—plastic plates on top, sturdy light covers on bottom.

14. Air Vent Covers

The metal covers over the vents of a central heating or air conditioning system are another frequent repository for dust and debris. Load the covers into the top rack to give them a good cleaning, hands-free!

15. Desk Accessories

Cleaning all the knick-knacks on your desk by hand can take forever. But a lot of that stuff can go right into the top rack of the dishwasher, like metal or plastic pencil cups, paper trays and organizers, and even small waste bins.

16. Bathroom Accessories

Get your bathroom accessories looking good as new! Your soap dish, toothbrush holder, and other such items can go right into the top rack.

17. Loofahs, Sponges, And Brushes

The sponges and scrubbers you use in the bath can get bogged down with soap scum and product residue over time. A quick wash can give them new life!

18. Toys

You can clean all kinds of kids’ toys in your dishwasher! Think small toys, bath toys, blocks, etc. (If anything has small parts, zip those into a mesh laundry bag to ensure they won’t go missing.)

19. Pet Stuff

You can clean a surprising number of pet items in your dishwasher too. Use it to wash food and water bowls, synthetic collars and leashes, and plastic toys too.

Do you clean anything in your dishwasher? (Apart from dishes, of course!)


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    Hi, I’m Jillee!

    I believe we should all love the place we call home and the life we live there. Since 2011, I’ve been dedicated to making One Good Thing by Jillee a reliable and trustworthy resource for modern homemakers navigating the everyday challenges of running a household. Join me as I share homemaking and lifestyle solutions that make life easier so you can enjoy it more!

    Every day I share creative homemaking and lifestyle solutions that make your life easier and more enjoyable!

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