Cleaning,  Lifestyle

35 Unexpected Things You Can Clean in Your Dishwasher

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35 Unexpected Things You Can Clean in Your Dishwasher 1If you were asked what your favorite kitchen item is, many would select the illustrious dishwasher. Am I right?

You already love the tricks it performs on your dishes but did you know that it can clean a multitude of other household items?

Think outside the box. It already cleans your glass, plastic and metal pots and pans.

So look around and see what else is made from the same materials that would make life easier by cleaning in that magic machine.

However, there are some things that should never go into a dishwasher. Just like your wooden spoons and cutting boards, nothing else made of wood should go in.  Cast iron pans are not to get wet so you won't put anything else cast iron in. For some kitchen items that are plastic, you know they are only top rack dishwasher safe. So anything similar should be only kept on the top rack when washing. Clean the dishwasher after running some of these for added assurance.

Note: Beware some items may melt.

To help you out, I've compiled my favorite items to clean in the dishwasher. Remember though, use caution as not all items are created from same materials so there are some things it may ruin.

Kids’ Toys

Kids' items are my favorite things to clean in the dishwasher! Think about it: they bring illnesses home from school and play with35 Unexpected Things You Can Clean in Your Dishwasher 2 them, the dog licks them, or they take them outside to play with and then bring back in.

I clean their bath toys once a month to clean out the hard water stains and stains from water sitting when it was drained.

I have no idea how they do it, but they seem to get those building blocks filthy. I bought a mesh bag that will hold them and place it on the top rack as well as looping the drawstring so the force doesn't know it below and melt them.

I also use the bottle nipple and nipple ring holder to clean pacifier and teething rings.

35 Unexpected Things You Can Clean in Your Dishwasher 3Kitchen

Obviously, it cleans your dishes and regular kitchen items but it does so much more in the kitchen!

I clean and sterilize sponges and brushes by running in the dishwasher on the top rack and brushes in the utensil rack.

Silicone kitchen items such as mitts and trivets can go on the top rack to remove residual food and sterilize.

Run the Microwave turntable in the dishwasher too. Why spend too much time? That can easily go in when you run the dishes each night!

Once a month I like to take out the refrigerator bins that I use to keep things organized and run through and clean out crumbs and leakage.

Did you know you can also run the shelves and bins on the top rack? What a time saver!

Clean that sticky grease and grime build up on metal and ceramic cabinet and drawer hardware by removing from the cabinets and placing in the mesh bag (again, looping so it doesn't fall to the bottom). Do not run hand painted through the dishwasher.


All those counter accessories from soap dishes to toothbrush holders should be run on the top shelf. I do these once a week to avoid 35 Unexpected Things You Can Clean in Your Dishwasher 4bacteria.

Shower poofs, sponges, and some brushes can be run once a week to remove oils from the body and kill bacteria and mold. No natural bristle or wooden handles should be run in the dishwasher.

If you use rubber tub mats, be sure to run those on the top shelf too in order to prevent mold and bacteria.

Clean out and organize old makeup frequently. When you do, run the organizers through the top rack.

Run those manicure and pedicure tools too! They need sterilizing frequently.

35 Unexpected Things You Can Clean in Your Dishwasher 5Household

Most kitchen and bath exhaust fans will have major dirt build up. Especially in the kitchen with grease build up. They sometimes also have a washable filter to help catch grease in the air that can be put in along with the removable covers. This should be done at least every 6 months but if you have those with allergies, more frequent.

Glass globes and shades from light fixtures also get grease and dust build up and can be run on the top shelf.

Desk accessories and organizers such as pencil cups, etc can usually be run. Use care to be sure it isn't a thinner plastic, hand painted or otherwise fragile.

The vents for your HVAC can and should also be run (unless wood or repainted). They get that sticky grease build up that the dishwasher makes light work of.

Vases and other decorative items can sometimes be run if they are not antique, handpainted or fragile. No silver or gold guilt either.Run on the top rack.



Pet Accessories

35 Unexpected Things You Can Clean in Your Dishwasher 6

I love running my pets toys, food bowls and collars and leashes in the dishwasher to remove dirt and grime and build up. Only run hard plastic or rubber toys, ceramic, plastic or metal bowls (no hand painted).


The bowls should be run daily just like you do your dishes. They'll all be bacteria free and look like new. Collars and Leashes should only be woven and synthetic fiber collars and leashes (never leather). Run on the top rack in the mesh bag.

Sports Equipment

35 Unexpected Things You Can Clean in Your Dishwasher 7Sports equipment should be run to sterilize and remove odors. Simply top rack shin guards and protective pads, place mouth guards in the utensil holder or a mesh bag before washing.

Golf Balls can be placed in a mesh bag for easy cleaning.

Yard Toys that are hard plastic yard toys will also be clean and bacteria free.

Baseball Caps can be cleaned in the dishwasher and they even make forms to hold their shape. Don't use a dishwasher detergent containing bleach and only use a dishwasher detergent in the dishwasher. 

Garden and other Outside Tools and Accessories

Garden Tools should be run through the dishwasher to remove bacteria. Again, nothing with wooden handles.35 Unexpected Things You Can Clean in Your Dishwasher 8

Flower Pots should be run to avoid spreading plant diseases. Thin plastic pots on the top rack and heavier pottery or terracotta ones in the lower rack.

One of my most dreaded items to clean is grill grates.  You no longer need to spend time hand-scrubbing grill racks and grates. Simply run them in the dishwasher.

Whether garden boots or rain boots, rubber boots that are unlined can go in the dishwasher. Simply get the excess dirt chunks off before loading on the bottom rack.

Even flip flops! Your flip flops can be cleaned on the top rack. However, if your flip flops have fabric cording be sure your dishwasher detergent doesn't contain bleach. Never put in any shoes trimmed with leather.

Car Tools and Accessories

35 Unexpected Things You Can Clean in Your Dishwasher 9Yes, even mechanics wash their tools! Just like your dishes, the dishwasher does a great job of cutting the grease and grime from tools. Place them in the utensil holder. Never add anything that has wood or any electrical or battery.


Metal hubcaps can be run through as well and you'll love the sparkle.

Removable cup holders can use a good weekly run through the top rack. They get so gross.

Shake off excess soil and dirt from rubber car mats and place the mats on the bottom or top racks of the dishwasher.


What are you ready to run in the dishwasher now to save you time and effort? Is there anything besides dishes that you’ve already run the dishwasher? I’d love to hear from you!


35 Unexpected Things You Can Clean in Your Dishwasher 10


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