A-Z Uses for Your Dishwasher

posted by Andrea | 03/25/2011


I’ve had a dishwasher for as long as I can remember — and you better believe that I use it for everything I possibly can!

I’m not really one to worry about ruining something in the dishwasher, so I fill it as full as I can…and turn it on. There are only a few things we still wash by hand — like my good china dishes, anything with wood, and some of my good knives.

I also use my dishwasher for a variety of of other cleaning needs — and am always surprised when I find something else I can stick in the dishwasher!

So just in case you aren’t utilizing YOUR dishwasher as much as you could, I’ve put together a list of things I have personally put in the dishwasher — or things I know a friend/relative has put in the dishwasher. I tried to hit the entire alphabet…but my mind went blank for a few letters!

A-Z Uses for Your Dishwasher

Action figures and small toys: put them in a mesh lingerie bag on the top rack.


Baseball hats: wash them in a Ball Cap Washer {$6.29 from Amazon} on the top rack and they’ll hold their shape much better than in a washing machine. {Don’t wash with dishes}

Crystal stemware: OK, I know the direction don’t tell you to do this –but I’m telling you that I ALWAY wash my nice stemware on the top rack and have never had a problem yet!

Dog toys/bowl: keep your pet’s food dish and toys germ-free by tossing them on the top rack.


Electrical outlet covers: all our covers are white, so if they get really grimy and sticky I just put them in the dishwasher

Flip flops: Hook them on tines in the top rack. {I’ve been told that Crocs are not dishwasher-safe.}

Garden tools: obviously, you don’t want to wash these with your dishes, but small pots and gardening tools clean up nicely in the dishwasher. {Don’t wash tools with wood handles though.}

Hairbrushes, makeup brushes, and combs: as long as they are made of plastic, they should be prefect candidates for  spin in the dishwasher, but be sure to remove all the hair first so you don’t clog your drain.


Ice cube trays: We didn’t have an automatic ice maker in our old house, and I found that by washing our ice cube trays every month, the ice cubes popped out of the trays easier. Maybe it was just my imagination — but it seemed to help!

Jewelry: ok, nothing too small or fancy would work, but I’ve washed my bulkier costume jewelry in mesh bags or in the silverware caddy

Knee pads and shin guards: these will clean up great on the top or bottom rack.

Lunch boxes and bags: whenever these get gross and sticky, just toss them on the top rack. You may have to let the lunch bags dry for awhile


Mouth guards: these get SO gross, but all you have to do is toss them in the silverware caddy and they’ll clean up nicely.

“Nobs” a.k.a. Knobs: Take the knobs off your cabinets, oven, etc. and put them in the silverware basket. They should come out sparkling clean.

Office supplies: quickly clean your pencil cup, draw dividers, and any other plastic desk accessories by tossing them on the top rack.

Potatoes: instead of scrubbing all your baked potatoes by hand, simply but them on the top rack and run the rinse cycle {no soap!}

Quart jars: Ok, so this is obvious…but I couldn’t think of anything else with “Q” :)

Rain boots: simply remove the liners and lie horizontally.


Silk flowers: these get dusty over time, but a quick spin on the top rack will have them looking good as new.

Tools: anything with metal or plastic handles will be fine. Just make sure they are dry before you put them away — to prevent rusting.

Toothbrush and toothbrush holder: I know people who put their toothbrushes in the dishwasher every day. I personally don’t do it that often, but it is a good way to keep them clean.


U: I couldn’t think of one for U — but I have TWO for “t”

Vent covers {register covers}: These get really dusty and can be hard to clean. As long as they are plastic, aluminum, or steel — feel free to stick them in the dishwasher.

Window screens: as long as they fit in the dishwasher, this is a REALLY easy way to get them squeaky clean.

Yams: Same as potatoes — put them on the top rack with no soap and save yourself a bunch of scrubbing!


What do you put in your dishwasher?

Any suggestions on what NOT to put in the dishwasher?

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Filed under: CleaningLife



  1. Heidi


    I do all my canning in the dishwasher. Soup, salsa, peaches, applesauce, pears … all of it. Skip the canner, load up your dishwasher, and run on the sani-rinse cycle. It also cleans everything up so that you don’t have all the sticky mess to contend with! And best of all, you can fit tons of jars in one cycle. I usually put the quarts on the bottom and pints on top, and can do a whole batch of something in one cycle. I’ve never had anything fail to seal this way either, and I don’t even own a canner anymore since this is so effective.


    Tammy Reply:



    Andrea Reply:

    What!! Are you serious! This could revolutionize the way I can from now on. Do you have any more tips or another website you could point me to for more information?
    Thanks so much!


    Kim Reply:

    I’d really caution everyone about dishwasher canning. It puts your food at risk since a dishwasher does not reach the boiling point, nor does it heat evenly throughout the dishwasher. The USDA does not recommend this method.
    On page 10 of the USDA Complete Guide to Home Canning, it says:
    “Equipment and methods not recommended:
    Open-kettle canning and the processing of freshly filled jars in conventional ovens, microwave
    ovens, and dishwashers are not recommended, because these practices do not prevent all
    risks of spoilage.”
    You can find the full PDF of their recommendations here: http://nchfp.uga.edu/publications/usda/GUIDE%201%20Home%20Can.pdf


  2. Ann


    When you load up your dishwasher, if there is a little room left, look around. Rather than waiting until it is full to run it (and risk that not all of the new stuff will fit in) throw in any dusty knick-knacks, tea kettle, etc.


    Lisa the Farm Lady Reply:

    That’s a great idea! Our farmhouse gets really dusty because of our dogs/dirt blowing around outside…thanks! :)


  3. Cindy


    Oooooh! What about fan blades? I bet top rack safe?
    Love the toothbrush idea and lots of others. Thanks!


  4. Stacey


    I put the light covers from the ceiling fans and other glass shades in the dishwasher as well as a lot of my knick knacks.


  5. Debbie


    I wash everything – globes from most light fixtures, heat vent covers, toothbrushes, wastebaskets, the toilet bowl covers, stove grates. You get the picture! All come out very clean, Amazing what you can think of to put in the dishwasher!


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