Things You Didn’t Know You Could Clean (or Cook!) in Your Dishwasher

June 14, 2011 at 2:00 am 24 comments

By Kaye Nemec

Dishwashers were an amazing invention. Long gone are the days of hand washing and drying dishes every night. Now we can simply load up the dishwasher, turn it on and wake up to a fresh load of sparkly, clean dishes.

What many of my fellow dishwasher-loving friends may be pleased to learn is that your dishwasher has some major, hidden potential that extends way behind your basic dinner plate and water glass. Below is an extensive list of items that can also be washed in your dishwasher BUT, before scrolling down read this: your dishwasher can also be used for cooking.

It’s true. And of all things, salmon seems to be the most popular choice for dishwasher cuisine. Sounds like a bad internet rumor but it has been proven accurate over and over again. Check out this recipe if you’re so inclined.

Trying to prepare a Thanksgiving meal for your entire extended family? Save yourself some time by throwing all your baked potatoes in the dishwasher. They won’t cook and/or mash themselves but it will save you the time of having to scrub them all clean!

Now, on to that list of other dishwasher safe items…

  • Baseball caps
  • Small toys
  • Flip-flops
  • Garden tools (without wood handles)
  • Plastic hair brushes and combs
  • Toothbrushes
  • Fake flowers (on a light setting)
  • Kitchen sponges, vegetable brushes etc.
  • Makeup brushes
  • Hubcaps and wheel covers
  • Pet toys
  • Broom heads and dust pans
  • Fan faceplates
  • Sports equipment (shin guards, knee pads, golf balls etc.)
  • Vent covers
  • Window screens
  • Keyboards (some swear by this, some would never trust it)

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Sources: Real Simple, Home Ever After , The Bachelor Guy

Photo: tidefan (cc)

Entry filed under: Around The House. Tags: , , , , , , , , .

Whales Have Regional Dialects The Origin of Father’s Day

24 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Jen  |  June 14, 2011 at 7:49 am

    Also “marital aids” (only the non-electronic and waterproof ones, obviously).

    • 2. chriscp  |  September 24, 2013 at 10:13 am

      Tell your dinner guests that you’re doing that and they’ll be more grossed out than the people who discovered they were eating food Kramer had prepared while taking a shower…

  • 3. janeway  |  June 14, 2011 at 9:18 am

    @Jen, LOL…
    I’ve been washing all sorts of things in my dishwasher for years. A few things I’d add to this list: Small birdfeeders and windchimes, and the lint screen from the clothes dryer, which should also be washed often to get rid of build up from fabric softeners — it goes right in the dishwasher.

    • 4. Jen  |  June 14, 2011 at 11:54 am

      @janeway I was wondering how I should phrase it, but I figured since this blog is pretty classy I should use a classy, if ambiguous, term. ;) And wow, the lint screen is a great idea! This post really makes me wish I had a dishwasher.

    • 5. Janice  |  June 5, 2012 at 3:48 pm

      I wouldn’t clean bird feeders, but I would clean my lint screen if I did use fabric softeners because most contain animal fat so I guess it’d be like cleaning a greasy plate

  • 6. janeway  |  June 14, 2011 at 11:55 am


  • 7. Sam  |  June 15, 2011 at 8:31 pm

    Stainless steel chainmail,

  • 8. Melissa Ayala  |  June 20, 2011 at 1:33 pm

    Please remove “makeup” brushes from the list. You never want water to get into the ferrule of the brush. That’s the metal part that holds the bristles to the handle. If water get in, it can loosen the glue that keeps the bristles in place, and then you’ll have bristles all over your face. When you spend good money on makeup brushes, the last thing you want to do is have it fall apart.


  • 9. Jason  |  August 2, 2011 at 1:32 am

    Some of these make sense, but why would you put flip flops or garden tools in a place you use to clean things you put in your mouth? I don’t care how clean they get, I would never put sports equipment or HUB CAPS in a dishwasher!

    • 10. MG  |  August 20, 2018 at 1:30 am


  • 11. Michelle  |  October 9, 2011 at 12:33 pm

    I have material place mats that I do not want to wash with clothes in my washing machine, yet they waste too much water to wash them by themselves in the washing machine – so I load them on the top rack of the dishwasher and VOILA! (I use the power bricks and they get all the stains out.)

  • 12. OregonMom  |  November 14, 2011 at 8:58 pm

    Also, all plastic toys without joints or holes. Specifically, tub toys (but not the “squirting” kind – those are harbingers of mold anyway, so it’s best not to use them…) – plastic balls, teething rings, etc.

  • 13. Sk  |  December 31, 2011 at 3:13 pm

    Stove fan vent, tooth brush holders, chandelier bobs, stove nobs and plates, nik naks, etc.

  • 14. janeway  |  January 1, 2012 at 2:27 am

    I happened to mention this subject over Christmas, and my dad suggested adding to the list a multitude of horse-grooming items: curry combs, shedding rings, hoof picks…. Anything plastic, nylon, metal, or rubber….(not wood or natural fiber).

    I think the same would apply to any pet-grooming items, including but not limited to: clippers, brushes, cage trays and feeders, litter-scoopers, collars and leashes, toys….

    My mother said, “no comment.”

  • 15. Diane  |  February 9, 2012 at 10:58 pm

    I’m with #7 – some items I have washed in the dishwasher – stove items – kitchen sponges etc., but pet grooming etc…I think I would have to have “another” dishwasher in the basement or garage – even using vinegar to help keep lint and nasty stuff from clogging the drain – I don’t think I could put those in my items I use to eat and cook with on a daily basis.

  • 16. Floyd  |  April 3, 2012 at 7:33 am

    Excuse me, why would you clean something like baseball or shin guards in a dish washer when you can clean them (better and appropriately) in a laundry machine?

    Again, why would you want to clean a toothbrush in a dish washer? Are you an eccentric?

  • 17. Lindsey  |  May 26, 2012 at 11:17 am

    I toss our kitchen garbage can lids in the dishwasher too…works GREAT and less scrubbing for me! We used to also put the kids potty seats in on sanitize (after rinsing WELL, then run it empty afterwards!) LOVE my dishwasher!

    • 18. MG  |  August 20, 2018 at 1:32 am


  • 19. Vanessa  |  June 8, 2012 at 11:11 pm

    For those of you saying “why on earth would you do that – putting nasty things in someplace where you clean your food utensils”… etc. 1. This post says you *can* do it, it’s not suggesting or forcing you to do it. 2. The hot water in a dishwasher is going to kill any and all bacteria and the dirt and grime should be washed away if you have a decent dishwasher. Why would you wash these things with those food utensils if you were going to wash them here anyway? I understand the thought is gross, but you’re not putting anyone in health peril by say, washing all these miscellaneous items and then washing your normal food items. Seriously. Don’t get so uptight! If you’ve ever put a moldy container in your dishwasher, why are you even making such a protest. That’s just as gross!

    • 20. chriscp  |  September 24, 2013 at 10:15 am

      Okay, 1) I don’t know about anyone else, but I generally toss out moldy containers
      2) if all of this is peachy-keen as far as you’re concerned, then I guess you’d be okay eating at the home of the first commenter who claims to wash his/her sex toys in the dishwasher.

      All I know is that sometimes, food residue is left behind. I don’t want to think about what kind of residue might be left behind on in the dishwasher in that home.

      • 21. MG  |  August 20, 2018 at 1:35 am


  • 22. Shelley  |  June 23, 2012 at 9:59 am

    I’m thinking maybe it’s a good idea to keep the old dishwasher when one upgrades and install it in the laundry room to clean the flip flops, animal grooming tools and all the other things we wouldn’t want to eat after. I know that when nurses wore the white caps they were run through the dishwasher to clean them. It would be way easier to clean things like plastic flower pots and the reusable seed trays in the dishwasher than to try to clean and sanitize them by hand. The list could go on and on.

  • 23. Bill Giery  |  August 23, 2019 at 6:54 pm

    I’ve cooked several types of fish, specifically red snapper. It is how I first got my children to eat fish. Once they tasted snapper and/or fluke/flounder they loved it.

  • 24. Kenneth T.  |  December 29, 2020 at 6:47 pm

    I’ve licked plates clean and then put them back in the cupboard. When the unwelcome guests see that – they tend NOT to want to eat over anymore.


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