Scratching your head on how to wash those items that need a serious scrubbing but aren’t made for the washing machine? We have a solution — pop ’em in the dishwasher. That’s right — lots of things can go in the dishwasher to take a bath. Here are 15 of our favourites — just make sure they’re all dishwasher safe before popping them in.
1. Plastic Toys
Anything a child touches is a cesspool of germs — their grubby little hands go places we don’t even want to talk about. To keep their toys at least somewhat clean most of the time, toss plastic, non-electronic items in the dishwasher for a deep, sanitising cleanse.
2. Baseball Caps
Throw a baseball cap in the washing machine and you’ll never be able to wear it again; it’ll be too mangled. Lay it on the top rack of the dishwasher — or, better yet, inside a specially designed hat shape keeper — for a quick washing, and it’s fresh (and intact) again in no time.
Some people don’t want to step where they eat (so this is a matter of personal preference), but you can indeed put your sneakers in the dishwasher for a cycle. Just don’t allow the shoes to heat dry inside — the high temp could ruin rubber on the soles.
4. Sports Gear
Athletic gear, like shin guards, mouth guards, cups and kneepads, take a beating on the courts and fields. During those beatings, dirt, grime, and germs collect on the gear, which is gross, for sure, but can also cause any number of infections (hello, jock itch!) if not properly cleaned. Pop these items on the top rack of the dishwasher every so often to get them spic and span.
5. Car Parts and Accessories
Instead of spending hours in the summer sun trying to get your hubcaps to shine, pry them off your car and let the dishwasher do the dirty work. You can also clean your other car accessories like drink and coin holders at the same time.
6. Window Screens
It depends on the size of your dishwasher and window screens for this to work, but if your window screens can fit, they do just fine in the dishwasher. Sure beats doing it by hand, which is a painstaking process.
7. Bathroom Accessories
From toothbrush holders (which can get reeeally gross) to soap dishes to small bathroom trashcans, give the bathroom a makeover by cleaning plastic and metal accessories in the dishwasher.
Sound weird, we know, but if you’re preparing mashed potatoes for a large crowd, you could spend half the afternoon scrubbing the spuds. Cut back on your workload by tossing whole potatoes in the dishwasher on the rinse-only cycle. No soap — unless you want to serve a side of sponge with dinner.
9. Oven Knobs
Your oven knobs should pull right off, which is a good thing since grease, dust and grime tend to collect on the knobs over time. Give ’em a fresh start by tossing them into the dishwasher the next time you run a cycle.
10. Refrigerator Shelves
Instead of washing your glass and plastic refrigerator shelves by hand, arrange them in the dishwasher for a quick and timesaving scrub session.
11. Kitchen Brushes and Sponges
Kitchen brushes and sponges collect and hold all kinds of germs, but you don’t have to throw them out when they’re dirty. Toss them into the dishwasher for sanitising every now and then. They’ll be as good as new as soon as the cycle is over.
12. Rain Boots
Rain boots are generally made of rubber, which makes them perfect candidates for the dishwasher. But just like the sneakers you can put in the dishwasher, you’ll want to avoid the heat-dry cycle so the boots don’t melt.
Metal (non-electric) hand tools can be washed in the dishwasher. To prevent rusting on the metal tools, be sure to dry them off immediately.
14. Trash Can Lids
It’s easy enough to clean a trashcan lid by hand, but who wants to do that? It’s Gross with a capital G. Save yourself from gagging by washing the lids in the dishwasher.
15. Pet Bowls and Toys
You eat off clean dishes every night, so why not extend that luxury to your pets every now and then. Wash pets bowls and plastic toys like you would everything else to keep bacteria and other little nasties from building up over time.
Have other unusual items that are ideal for washing in the dishwasher? Let us know in the comments below.