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7 Unusual Things You Can Wash in the Dishwasher

You may misuse your dishwasher if you only use it to clean dirty dishes. A dishwasher is capable of more than cleaning the remains of that Pinterest recipe you tried for dinner. Why not take advantage of your dishwasher’s full abilities and wash a few items you might not have considered?

Today, we’re sharing seven unusual things you can clean in the dishwasher. Let’s see how your dishwasher can help you wash more than just your dishes!

What Do You Put in a Dishwasher? 

You should only use detergent for dishwashers. You’ll typically find these in various forms, including liquid, powder, gels, tablets, and packs. Which type you use is entirely up to you, but the gels typically are the hardest-fighting dishwashing detergents.

The gels contain enzymes, degreasers, bleach, and special rinsing aids to help deliver the best shine. However, putting detergent in your dishwasher won’t be enough. Don’t forget the dirty dishes!

You can wash ceramic dishware like plates and bowls, rigid plastics, stainless steel utensils, drinking and wine glasses, and any metal or silicone utensils. You’ll want to handwash any handpainted items or those with vinyl. The hot water can strip the paint and rip the vinyl off the surface.

What Should You Never Put in a Dishwasher? 

While your dishwasher may do an excellent job washing some items, there are a handful of things that should never go in it. For starters, anything with sharp metal edges like knives or graters. Dishwashers not only do a terrible job cleaning these items but can also cause the sharp edges to be dull. You should never put them in the dishwasher.

Another item you should never put into the dishwasher is wooden spoons, bowls, and cutting boards. The hot and steamy water can damage the natural oils in the wood. This will drastically reduce the item’s life and lead to cracking. Wash these by hand, and if you need to disinfect them, use a mild solution of chlorine bleach and warm water to kill anything potentially harmful.

You should never put cast iron, aluminum, or copper pans and utensils in the dishwasher. This can dull the finishes or strip the oils away. If your cast iron goes through the dishwasher, you’ll need to start the seasoning process completely over for it.

Avoid insulated mugs and cups, thin plastic containers, and anything valuable like sterling silver utensils, fine china, and expensive flatware. The chemicals and harsh temperatures can damage these items.

Pro Tip: Upgrade your kitchen cookware by investing in these Best RV Cookware Gadgets.

Woman loading dishwasher in kitchen
Dishwashers aren’t just for cups, plates, and silverware.

7 Unusual Things You Can Wash in the Dishwasher

Not everything that can go in your dishwasher should go in your dishwasher. However, there are several things that you can put in the dishwasher that you might not know. Let’s find out!

1. Mouth Guards

If you or someone in your family wears a mouth guard for a sport, they can get pretty nasty. It would be best if you washed them regularly. It’s a good idea to run it under water and scrub it to get any gunk off before putting it into the dishwasher. The best way to wash a mouth guard in the dishwasher is to place it in a mesh bag or utensil holder. This will help avoid it flying around during the wash cycle.

2. Tools

Your dishwasher detergent is tough on grease, which is perfect for tools. You’ll want to put the tools in the utensil holder and let the dishwasher work its magic. Avoid including tools with wooden handles, ones containing electrical components, or battery-operated tools. Let them air dry when finished.

3. Flip-Flops and Rubber Boots

Rubber shoes like boots and flip-flops can get rather filthy. Wash them off to remove any loose debris. The shoes can go into the top rack of your dishwasher. You’ll likely need to use the bottom shelf for rubber boots to take advantage of the increased height available.

Just ensure there is no leather and that your detergent doesn’t contain bleach, which can damage the fabric on your shoes.

4. Window Screens

It can be surprising where gunk and debris can wedge themselves into window screens. If you don’t want to go through the arduous task of scrubbing your window screens, toss them in the dishwasher. However, this method will only work if your screens fit. You want to avoid bending the frame to make it accommodate.

Woman putting dirty dishes into dishwasher
From potatoes to pet collars there are lots of things you can clean in your dishwasher.

5. Loofahs

You wouldn’t wash your dishes with the same dishcloth for weeks or months, would you? Of course not! So why don’t we wash and sanitize the loofahs we use to scrub ourselves clean in the shower?

Placing your loofah on the top rack of your dishwasher can allow you to sanitize your loofah thoroughly. This will help kill any potential bacteria or germs growing inside your loofah. 

6. Potatoes

If you don’t want to go through the hassle of washing your potatoes by hand, you can put them in the top rack of your dishwasher. Please do not put soap or detergent in the dishwasher; you’ll want to avoid any dirty dishes being in the dishwasher with them.

It will take longer than washing them by hand, but it can clean them as if you scrubbed them.

7. Pet Collars and Leashes

If you want to clean your pet’s collars and leashes, they can go in the top rack of your dishwasher. This will only be effective if they are synthetic fibers or woven collars and leashes. You should never put leather in the dishwasher. It will ruin your expensive dog collar or leash, and you’ll have to replace it.

Pro Tip: Get inspired by these Best RV Kitchen Remodels on Instagram for your next kitchen renovation.

Is It Worth Having a Dishwasher?

Having a dishwasher can be more convenient and better for the environment. Research shows that washing dishes by hand can use up to 27 gallons of water per load. However, some dishwashers can use as little as three gallons per load. That’s a savings of almost 5,000 gallons yearly.

If you have a dishwasher, use it. It’ll save you time, energy, and money. Just don’t forget to take full advantage of its cleaning powers and wash some of the unusual things we’ve shared today.

What’s your favorite dishwashing hack? Tell us in the comments!

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