When it comes to our weekly cleaning routine, we’re always looking for ways to cut our cleaning time in half. This is no easy thing to achieve, particularly if you still want the same spotless results. But, did you know that certain household products can be used in more ways than one to give you a helping hand? Here, we’re talking about the humble dishwasher tablet.
Combined with the best dishwashers, a dishwasher tablet will leave your plates and glassware sparkling. In fact, there are 10 things you never knew you could wash in a dishwasher, so these tablets are pretty versatile. They go further than this though. You can use dishwasher tablets all around the home to achieve the same gleaming results. If you’re keen to learn more, here are 7 surprising things you can clean with a dishwasher tablet.
1. Baking sheet
If you’ve got a baking sheet covered in burnt residue and greasy oil, a dishwasher tablet can be an easy solution. Simply place your baking sheet on the stove, add a dishwasher tablet, and then fill it with hot water from one of the best electric kettles. Leave it to simmer on the stove for 10 minutes, before letting it cool down completely. Finally, scrub it clean in the sink while wearing gloves. All of the residue should come away with ease. Check out how to clean a baking sheet for more methods.
You can also use a dishwasher tablet in this way to clean any pots or pans which may be too big or cumbersome to fit in the dishwasher. Don’t use this method on one of the best cast iron skillets though. Dishwasher detergent is very abrasive, and it can damage the seasoning as well as dull enamel. Plus, prolonged exposure to water will encourage rust. Likewise, don't use dishwasher detergent on any pans which aren't dishwasher-safe. These may require a more gentle detergent.
Dishwasher tablets can remove stubborn baked-on residue with ease, so it stands to reason these can be quite effective in the oven as well. To clean your oven with a dishwasher tablet you just need to have a bowl of warm water at the ready. While wearing rubber gloves, dip the dishwasher tablet in the water and then start scrubbing the walls and floor of your oven — hold it flat in your palm and scrub in a circular motion, a bit like a sponge. Do not scrub the heating elements or the glass door with the tablet, as its abrasiveness could cause damage.
If the tablet dries out, feel free to dunk it back in the water. It will naturally start to break up as you wear it down as well. You can grab a second tablet if you need, or alternatively use a damp microfiber cloth to continue scrubbing the remains into the walls of your oven. Rinse thoroughly to remove all traces and your oven should look as good as new. For more tips, including cleaning the glass door, check out how to clean an oven.
3. Washing machine
Plenty of household products can be used when you learn how to clean a washing machine, from vinegar to baking soda. But, did you know that the best washing machines can benefit from a dishwasher tablet as part of the cleaning process as well? Dishwasher tablets are brilliant at breaking down soap scum as well as limescale, so they can work wonders in a washing machine.
All you need to do is chuck 1-2 dishwasher tablets in the empty drum and run the self-clean cycle. If your washing machine doesn’t have this setting, you can alternatively run a hot wash to get the same result. Use the hottest temperature setting your machine will allow and make sure the entire tablet has dissolved once the cycle has finished. If you notice any residue remains, remove what you can while wearing protective gloves and run another hot wash cycle.
4. Blocked drains
A blocked drain is never a fun thing to deal with, but the task can be made much easier with a dishwasher tablet. Dishwasher tablets contain the necessary detergent to break down common blockages, including grease and grime — so it can work well in a kitchen sink. All you need to do is pop a dishwasher tablet down the drain, followed by boiling water to begin dissolving it.
This should help dislodge any greasy clogs and release a pleasant scent at the same time. So if your drain needs deodorizing, it can help here too. Just bear in mind that it can’t break up hair, so this method won't be effective in your bathroom drains. Check out how to unclog a shower drain for help here.
You can use dishwasher tablets all around the bathroom as well. They come in particular use for deep-cleaning the toilet because of their limescale removal properties and effectiveness at clearing hard water stains. The method couldn’t be more simple, either.
When you know the bathroom will be vacant for a prolonged time, simply drop one full dishwasher tablet down the toilet. Leave it to dissolve for some time. One hour can make a difference, but overnight can be a good time to leave it to work its magic. After it’s dissolved, give the water a scrub around the bowl using your toilet brush to reach untouched stains, then flush away. That’s all there is to it. For more methods, check out how to clean a toilet.
If you’ve got time to spare as your dishwasher tablet dissolves in the toilet, you can tackle your shower in the interim with a second tablet. You can make your own DIY dishwasher detergent cleaning spray by breaking a dishwasher tablet in half, and combining it with warm water in an empty spray bottle. Shake well and leave it to dissolve before you start using it.
You can spray this all over your bath and shower, covering the metal fixtures as well as the basin. Leave it to work its magic for a few seconds before scrubbing with a microfiber cloth and rinsing clean. Dishwasher detergent is abrasive, so make sure you wear gloves as you do this. This will give you gleaming results. You can even use it on the shower head to remove pesky limescale. Although you may be better off soaking this in a dishwasher tablet and warm water solution for more serious cases.
Remember though that dishwasher tablets are very abrasive, so don’t use it on gold-plated taps, marble or quartz. Avoid using dishwasher tablets on the glass shower door for the same reason. If you want to clean this, check out how to clean a glass shower door.
7. Trash can
Trash cans often go neglected when it comes to our regular cleaning routine. This is because it can be a pretty gross chore, but dishwasher tablets can make this task a cinch. Simply move your empty trash can to an area with easy access to a drain. Then, drop a dishwasher tablet into the bottom and fill to the brim with warm water.
Leave the dishwasher tablet for at least an hour to dissolve. Once time is up, empty the water out slowly and carefully, while wearing gloves, and scrub any remaining residue with a microfiber cloth. Then rinse and dry, and your trash can should look as good as new.