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10 things you never knew you could wash in a dishwasher

Toys in dishwasher
(Image credit: Shutterstock)

Most kitchens have a dishwasher these days. However, the majority of us underestimate its capabilities. These appliances are designed to clean plates, glasses, pots and pans, but did you know that a dishwasher can do much more than that? We’ve pulled together a list of 10 things you never knew you could wash in a dishwasher, so you can take full advantage of your washing assistant.

Before we go through the list, if there’s anything you’re unsure about running through the dishwasher, always wash by hand to err on the side of caution. If you wash anything particularly dirty, remember to check the filter and run a cycle afterwards to rinse it as well. 

10 things you can wash in your dishwasher (other than dishes)

1. Plastic toys: Yes, plastic kids' toys such as building blocks can be run through the dishwasher. Gone are the days of germs and stickiness! Place them on the upper rack and run a low temperature cycle. The same goes for any plastic pet toys — most will actually say if they’re dishwasher-safe.  

2. Oven shelves and fridge shelves: You don’t need to struggle over a sink anymore; both oven shelves and fridge shelves can be washed in a dishwasher. Each shelf should be stacked in the lower rack. While oven shelves can endure a hot cycle, fridge shelves should be washed on a standard cycle.  

3. Light switch covers: These can get grubby from fingerprints surprisingly quickly. If you want to give them a deep clean, simply unscrew the covers (keeping the screws in a safe place) and place them in the upper rack of the dishwasher. Dry thoroughly before replacing. This is only recommended for plastic covers, not metal or brass.  

Light switch

(Image credit: Shutterstock)

4. Glass light fixtures: Struggle to hold your reach as you dust the glass on the light fixtures? Try running them through the dishwasher. Simply remove the glass covers and wash them along with the rest of your glassware. If your fixtures are particularly expensive or fragile, wash by hand instead.  

5. Baseball caps: Baseball caps can end up filled with sweat and grease, but can be damaged or misshapen by a washing machine, so why not try the dishwasher? Simply place your caps in the top rack, secure with rubber bands or plastic clothes pegs and run without detergent. Be sure to skip the drying cycle and hang it outside instead. This is not suitable for caps with cardboard brims and we don’t recommend it for vintage caps either!  

6. Hair brushes: Hair brushes can harbor grease, oil and dead skin cells, so they need cleaning semi-regularly. As most are made from plastic, these are suitable to wash in the upper rack of the dishwasher. Just remove any hair before you add it to the load. Do not put a hairbrush with a wooden handle or boar-bristles in the dishwasher. The heat and moisture can damage these.    

7. Flip Flops: Because they're on your feet, Flip Flops can end up smelling very quickly! Being made from rubber and plastic, these are actually better off in the dishwasher rather than the washing machine. Secure them in the top rack and turn off the drying cycle as it can damage any rubber. 

Flip flops

(Image credit: Shutterstock)

8. Microwave turntable: Once food has dried onto the turntable, it can take a lot of elbow grease to remove it, so why not save yourself the effort and run it through the dishwasher? Always check your manual before doing so, but the majority are dishwasher-safe. 

9. Sportswear: Sports gear can build up sweat and smell in as little as an hour. But how do you thoroughly wash awkward customers such as shin guards? As luck would have it, these can go into the dishwasher, along with mouthguards on the top rack. Use a low temperature wash and skip the dry cycle to avoid damage. Place your mouthguard in a mesh bag or utensil holder to secure it. 

10. Vacuum cleaner attachments: Who would have thought about cleaning the vacuum cleaner? Take the non-electrical attachments apart and dislodge any blockages before washing in the dishwasher. For hygiene reasons, run this separately from a cycle with dishes, and run an empty cycle in between. Use a low temperature wash for this. Be sure to check the manual to see what your manufacturer recommends in case this voids the warranty.     

Katie Mortram

Katie looks after everything homes-related, from kitchen appliances to gardening tools. She also covers smart home products too, so is the best point of contact for any household advice! She has tested and reviewed kitchen appliances for over 6 years, so she knows what to look for when finding the best. Her favorite thing to test has to be stand mixers as she loves to bake in her spare time.