Chances are that your dishwasher goes unappreciated. That clever little device is your savior when that huge Thanksgiving dinner needs to be cleaned up and you’re just too full to put on the rubber gloves. But your dishwasher isn’t just great at getting baked-on food off your pans and plates. It can also handle any one of these 20 unexpected jobs – including a handy hack that anyone with lots of plants in their place needs to know about.
20. Scour your vacuum’s attachments
Sometimes, your cleaning equipment needs a scrub itself. And, yes, that includes your vacuum. With all of the dust, dander and dirt that it hoovers up, some is bound to get trapped in the hose and brushes. But if you’re sighing at the prospect of adding yet another household chore to your list, fear not: your dishwasher can help do the job thoroughly.
First, pluck any large lumps of dirt from your appliance’s attachments. Then remove the top rack of the dishwasher so that you can fit in all of the removable pieces. Finally, pop a detergent tablet into the dishwasher’s drawer and run a cool rinse cycle to quickly clean out your hoses, brushes and any other detachable vacuum parts.
19. Scrub rain boots and flip flops
Tramping through mud can be fun, but getting the caked-on grime off your boots definitely isn’t. Even when the weather’s fine, though, your shoes still get a bit grubby. Take a look at the flip-flops you wore everywhere last summer. We bet they’ve definitely been cleaner.
Well, luckily, you can refresh both of these hard-working items of footwear with the help of your dishwasher. Remove any fabric liners from your rain boots before laying them horizontally in the dishwasher. If you’ve got flip-flops to clean, meanwhile, put them on the top rack, securing them in place by hooking them onto the spikes. Interestingly enough, though, this tip won’t work for Crocs, so deal with those shoes separately from your dishwasher-safe items.
18. Cook salmon
Yes, you can make dinner in a jiffy with a dishwasher! Obviously you can’t use any soap, as the salmon will taste pretty bad afterward. You shouldn’t fill the rest of the space with dirty crockery, either. And there’s a couple of other no-nos. The dishwasher shouldn’t release any of its drying agents, and you can’t sneak a look inside your appliance while the salmon cooks.
What you should do is put salmon filet, a sprig of rosemary and half a lemon into a piece of tinfoil. Then wrap the packet tightly and place it onto the top rack. Finally, set the appliance to run with hot water and a heated dry cycle. And after the process is complete, you’ll have a deliciously steamed piece of salmon.
17. Cook eggs
Boiling an egg to perfection on the stove is an art form. If you’ve never had the knack, though, you can try letting your dishwasher do the work for you. All you have to do is pop a single egg into a jar. Then fill the container up with water before closing the lid so that it’s airtight.
After that, put the sealed jar into the dishwasher. Position it in a way that it won’t topple or open up mid-wash cycle. And avoid an eco-friendly or cool program, opting instead for the normal or extra-strength option. The normal cycle should produce a soft-boiled egg at the end, while the extra-strength cycle will give you a hard-boiled one.
16. Effectively dust your air vents
Your air vents breathe heat into your home in winter and the perfect chill into summertime spaces. Weirdly enough, though, all that air doesn’t manage to stop dust and dander from piling up on the slats. Some of that debris gets stuck to the grates that cover your ducts, too, and this can be tough to remove – not to mention labor-intensive.
Yes, you could dust each individual slat of your air vent cover. But it’d be a much easier task if you pop the grates into the dishwasher. They’re metal, meaning they’re durable enough to withstand a normal cleaning cycle. And when the grates emerge, they’ll be sparkling clean and ready to guide both warm and cool air into your abode.
15. Sanitize your sponges
Your sponge does it all. It cleans plates, wipes down counters and scours pots and pans, to name but a few everyday household tasks. This makes it a handy little item that we wouldn’t be without. But after all that, who sanitizes the sponge? Well, the answer to that question is now your dishwasher! According to Good Housekeeping magazine, putting your sponge through a dishwasher cycle kills 99.9 percent of germs lurking there.
You can pop the sponge in with the rest of your dirty dishes, too. Just tuck it into the cutlery basket for safekeeping. And after a normal cycle and a heated drying session, your scrubbing buddy is sanitized and ready for more cleaning. Make sure that the dishwasher reaches 155 °F, however, to kill all of those kitchen germs.
14. Steam veggies
Perhaps you’re preparing a big meal and have limited hob space. Maybe your steamed vegetables come out all mushy, or you don’t have a steaming tray in your kitchen at all. Whatever the reason, you want to make sure that your veggies are cooked while still full of nutrients. And guess what? Your dishwasher can help with that.
Chop your veggies of choice before placing them into a mason jar and pouring a cup of water over the top. Then you just have to seal the jar shut and place it on the top rack of the dishwasher. And after a normal wash cycle, you’ll have a perfectly steamed side dish for your dinner – not to mention a clean bowl or two in which to serve it.
13. Clean your computer keyboard
We spend hundreds of dollars on our computers… and then we eat our meals directly over their keyboards. Yep, add food crumbs to the mix of dust and dirt lurking in the thing you type with every day. Eww. Of course, you can just do a quick clean with a wipe. For a more thorough cleanse, though, chuck your keyboard into the dishwasher.
Obviously, you’ll want to disconnect all of the wires from your keyboard. Then, once you’ve done that, put your tech into the dishwasher without any soap and run through a cooler wash cycle. Let the keys dry out for up to three days, and finally you’ll have a refreshed, sanitized place to type… or an expensive tray for your lunch crumbs.
12. Wash your car parts
Okay, you can’t exactly get your entire car into the dishwasher – not a full-sized one, anyway. What you can do is throw your car accessories in for a wash cycle to spruce them up. There’s a long list of auto-related items that will survive a dishwasher session, too.
Start with the obvious contenders, such as your car’s cup holders. Rubber floor mats work well, too, but shake out any dirt or debris before placing them in the dishwasher. And you can even try putting your vehicle’s hubcaps through a wash cycle – and watch as your kitchen appliance neatly gets rid of all that grime.
11. Rinse sweat and bacteria from sporting equipment
Got a kid into peewee football? Then you know that they need a whole lot of equipment. There are the protective pads, for instance, and the mouth guard – all of which protect your little one from the bumps and bruises that come with a contact sport. And when you get home from the next game, you should make your life easier by throwing this kit in the dishwasher.
Stick the mouth guard into the cutlery holder and shin guards and other padding into the plate racks. Then, following a wash cycle, everything will be sweat- and bacteria-free and ready for the next game. The dishwasher works for other sports equipment, too, including golf balls – if you haven’t lost ’em all in the rough, that is.
10. Keep kids’ toys germ-free
Children aren’t known for being the cleanest creatures. Even their most cherished toys are put through the wringer – and gather lots of germs along the way. Of course, soft toys are easy to throw in the washing machine for a refresh. But can you clean hard plastic toys just as simply? Well, yep, and – surprise surprise – it involves your dishwasher.
So, here’s some good news for parents everywhere: there’s no need to sanitize your children’s plastic toys by hand anymore. Instead, you can line them up on the top rack of your dishwasher and put them through a germ-killing wash cycle. The same goes for bath toys, which should be refreshed monthly at the very least.
9. Bake a lasagna – seriously
The sacred family lasagna recipe probably has very particular cooking instructions – and we bet that none of them mention the use of a dishwasher. But after you layer your pasta, sauce, cheese and meat, try forgoing the oven and cook your dinner in a new way instead. Sounds strange, but it works.
You just have to wrap your pasta dish tightly in foil before baking it in the dishwasher. You’ll also want to skip the rinse cycle to avoid your lasagne getting waterlogged. Pop it onto the top rack instead for a heated dry cycle. Then you can open the door and pull out a perfectly steamed Italian dinner. Bon appétit!
8. Scrub potatoes and rinse produce
Preparing a big meal requires lots of work beforehand. So, why not let your dishwasher pick up some of the slack? If you need to scrub potatoes, for example, you can simply stick your veggies on the top rack of your appliance. Then run a detergent-free rinse cycle to cleanse your taters without any elbow grease.
You can do the same with the rest of your produce when you bring it home from the grocery store. Even delicate items such as peaches will survive a quick rinse on the top rack. And just like that, you’ll have washed all of your fruit and veggies. Time to eat!
7. Cleanse your makeup and hair brushes
Experts say that you should wash your makeup brushes at least once a week. But who has time for that? Well, your dishwasher does, of course! Your kitchen appliance can remove the built-up cosmetics, dead skin and germs lurking in your brushes in a jiffy, freeing your time up to do much less tedious stuff.
All you have to do is pour your soap of choice into the detergent compartment, then add up to ten milliliters of bleach into the designated spot. Follow this up by placing your makeup brushes – nail clippers and plastic hairbrushes, too, if you have them – into the dishwasher. And run them all through a normal wash cycle for a simple, thorough sanitizing session.
6. Wash baseball caps while keeping them in shape
If you’ve ever worn a baseball cap on a sunny day, you know what happens next: your head starts to sweat. And as you may have realized from time to time, your favorite accessory will soon turn out smelling less than sweet. But you can’t just toss baseball caps into the washing machine or they’ll lose their rigidity.
Rather than constantly blasting your caps with Febreeze, then, try getting them properly clean in your dishwasher. Place your headwear onto the top rack of the appliance for a gentle cleanse. Then, when the cycle finishes, your caps will have retained their shapes but none of that unsavory smell.
5. Keep dinner warm
If you’ve ever designated yourself the head chef of a huge dinner party or family feast, one of the biggest struggles you’ll have is timing all of your prep. And once you finish your first round of cooking and baking, some plates will probably go cold while you deal with the rest of your menu.
Luckily, you have your dishwasher on your side, as it can double as a warming drawer while you finish cooking. Place cooked food onto the top rack of the appliance and set it to a heated dry cycle – no rinsing allowed. It’ll keep your food at the perfect temperature until it’s time to serve up.
4. Refresh silk flowers
Something as soft and delicate as a silk flower doesn’t seem like a dishwasher-friendly item. But even if the faux bloom’s stem doesn’t say so, you can probably toss it onto the top rack for a rinse. And if you’ve ever tried dusting your fake flower down, you’re probably happy to spend your time on something less boring instead.
After you’ve put your silk flowers in your dishwasher, however, don’t add anything else. Yep, no detergent is necessary to clean these blooms. Instead, a moderate cycle will be enough to remove the dust. Then, once your blossoms are dry, they’ll look brand new. Simple!
3. Clean itself with a bit of Kool-Aid
So, you’ve washed your fake flowers, rinsed off your muddy boots and even cooked fish in your dishwasher. Chances are, then, that the appliance needs a bit of TLC itself. There may be limescale deposits and rust stains inside, for one. But before you wonder how you can make the job easier – put your dishwasher inside another dishwasher somehow? – read for the Kool-Aid instead.
You’ll have to pick up a packet of unsweetened Kool-Aid lemonade, as that’s the only flavor with the limescale-fighting power you’ll need. Pour the contents of the pack into the detergent dispenser, then flip on your appliance and run it on any one of its cycles. And with that, the build-up should disappear. There’ll be a delicious lemony-fresh scent, too.
2. Ripen a stubborn avocado
That pesky avocado you’ve taken home from the grocery store can feel solid for days. Then poof – it’s mushy and inedible within the blink of an eye. Avoid this world of pain next time, though, with the help of your favorite household appliance. We’re talking, of course, about your dishwasher.
Put as many avocadoes as you need onto the top rack of your dishwasher. Then turn the appliance onto its normal cycle and let it run for just ten minutes. And after that’s done, your fruit should have the perfect soft, buttery texture to spread on toast, add to salads or just scoop up and scarf down with a spoon.
1. Wash your plant pots – and protect your greens from infection
According to Statista, more than 33 million American households cultivated houseplants in 2019. That’s over 10 percent of the country’s entire population. And that huge number of people may not realize that their dishwasher can make keeping their greenery alive a whole easier – especially if they’ve had plants die of diseases.
Firstly, plant parents will have to remove any lumps of dirt from their toughened plastic or terracotta pots. Then they can pop them into the dishwasher for a thorough cleaning. This is a must-do if the pot’s previous resident succumbed to disease, as the hot water will sanitize away any lingering residue that could damage your next piece of foliage.