17 Surprising Things You Can Clean in a Dishwasher

Woman loading a dishwasher
Photo by Ruslan Galiullin / Shutterstock.com

It may be called a “dishwasher,” but the handy kitchen appliance can clean a lot more than dishes.

Think creatively when you’re on a cleaning spree, and you might be able to combine a number of washing tasks all thanks to that one handy machine. In fact, your dishwasher not only saves you time, but it uses hotter water than your poor dishpan hands can stand.

Of course, there are limits to what your dishwasher should handle, as we detail in “16 Things That Never Belong in Your Dishwasher.”

Be careful, too, when loading items. Most dishwashers feature heating elements on the bottom. So, lightweight plastic items could warp or melt if you load them onto the bottom level.

Small items can often fit in your silverware caddy. I still use the top-rack-only Munchkin dishwasher basket I bought in 2007. I stack it with anything I fear might jump around inside the machine.

Here are some surprising items you might not have realized you can clean in your dishwasher.

1. Some Instant Pot parts

I love my Instant Pot, the trendy multi-function appliance that takes the fear out of pressure cooking — and can save you money.

The company states — and I’ve verified with my own Instant Pot — that the following parts are dishwasher-safe:

  • Lid
  • Sealing ring
  • Inner pot
  • Steaming rack

2. Oven mitts

Oven mitts take a beating, with everything from gravy to hot caramel accidentally decorating them with new, unwanted designs. Silicone mitts can go in the dishwasher, while cloth ones can be tossed in your washing machine.

3. Dish scrubbers and sponges

Don’t forget to clean the items you clean with. Stash sponges on the top rack, while long-handled brushes can go in your utensil holder.

4. Trivets

Stoneware, earthenware and silicone trivets and spoon rests are often top-rack dishwasher-safe. But use common sense — as you should for many items in this list. Grandma’s gift with the hand-painted sunflowers is too gorgeous to gamble with.

5. Microwave turntables

Glass turntables can generally go in the dishwasher. If you’re nervous about it, first check your microwave owner’s manual.

6. Refrigerator shelves and bins

Keep those fridge shelves and bins as fresh as the food they store by cleaning them in the dishwasher. You may have to run that load by itself, as these items can be bulky.

7. Trash can lids and wastebaskets

Do you have one of those plastic trash cans with a swinging lid? Swing the lid into the dishwasher.

Do you have wastebaskets that are small enough to fit in your dishwasher and are from a dishwasher-safe material like hard plastic? Toss them in, too.

8. Toothbrush and soap holders

When soap and toothpaste drip and dry on bathroom accessories, they leave an unsightly and sometimes germ-ridden mess. Give them a good shower on the dishwasher’s top shelf.

9. Hairbrushes and hair accessories

First, strip as much hair from the brush as you can. Then, pop the brush into your silverware holder. Or, if it is plastic or you just want to be safe, put it on the top rack in a dishwasher basket.

Keep ponytail holders, barrettes and similar hair accessories pristine by washing them in the dishwasher, too. Be sure to secure small items to ensure they don’t fall through the top rack. I like to use my Munchkin dishwasher basket for this because it has a top that snaps shut.

10. Shower poofs

How can you stay clean if your shower accessories aren’t clean? Every so often, toss your shower poof on the dishwasher’s top shelf for a bath of its own.

11. Contact-lens cases and pill boxes

Eye can see clearly now, my case is clean.

You can generally clean pill boxes — or at least the plastic ones — on the top rack as well.

12. Vent covers

Cleaning the dust out of all the little nooks and crannies of ceiling and floor air vent covers is time-consuming drudgery. To prevent metal covers from rusting, run them through a short dishwasher cycle and promptly dry them by hand.

13. Dustpans, broom heads and vacuum attachments

Your dustpan and broom heads are on a mission to clean up your dust bunnies and spills. But they’ll do their jobs better in the future if you give them a wash.

Every once in a while, run vacuum attachments through the dishwasher, too. Use the top rack and a low-heat cycle if they have rubber rings or other parts inside, or if you’re just unsure.

14. Pet bowls and toys

Fluffy and Fido deserve to eat off clean plates, too. It’s not ruff to wash plastic and metal bowls in the dishwasher.

The same goes for hard plastic toys.

15. Flower or plant pots

Run terra cotta and hard plastic planters through the dishwasher after brushing off any clumps of dirt that could clog pipes. The superheated water will help kill any plant diseases that might linger.

16. Hubcaps

No, really.

First, gently hose off your hubcaps if they’re especially muddy or grimy. You might also want to pour a cup of white vinegar into your dishwasher’s rinse-aid compartment before you start, and make sure they ride through the dishwasher alone.

17. Golf balls

Putt your golf balls into the utensil holder or a mesh lingerie bag and wash them that way. Fore!

Disclosure: The information you read here is always objective. However, we sometimes receive compensation when you click links within our stories.

Read Next
5 Ways to Avoid Taxes on Social Security Income
5 Ways to Avoid Taxes on Social Security Income

Here’s how to minimize and delay the chunk that Uncle Sam claims.

14 Things That Are ‘Free’ With Medicare
14 Things That Are ‘Free’ With Medicare

These services could save you money and help prevent costly health problems.

Stop Overpaying for These 10 Common Purchases
Stop Overpaying for These 10 Common Purchases

The best price for many of these items is “free.”

These Medicare Expenses Will Jump in January
These Medicare Expenses Will Jump in January

Some Medicare premiums and deductibles will take a bigger bite out of Social Security payments next year.

5 Reasons You Should Work for as Long as You Live
5 Reasons You Should Work for as Long as You Live

These benefits might make you think twice about retirement.

View this page without ads

Help us produce more money-saving articles and videos by subscribing to a membership.

Get Started

Most Popular
If You Find This Thrift Shopping, Buy It
If You Find This Thrift Shopping, Buy It

This iconic dinnerware is prized for everyday use as well as reselling for profit.

This Health Issue Can Hint at Dementia Years in Advance
This Health Issue Can Hint at Dementia Years in Advance

One type of pain is especially associated with cognitive decline.

How to Buy Gas At Costco Without a Membership
How to Buy Gas At Costco Without a Membership

The warehouse club often has some of the cheapest gas in town. Here’s how you can get it as a nonmember.

20 Things That Are Actually Worth Stockpiling
20 Things That Are Actually Worth Stockpiling

You don’t need a year’s supply of toilet paper to survive an outbreak, but consider stocking up on these items.

9 of the Best Things to Do When You Retire
9 of the Best Things to Do When You Retire

You’ve waited all your life for this moment. Make the most of your retirement.

Medicare Will Not Cover These 6 Medical Costs
Medicare Will Not Cover These 6 Medical Costs

Don’t let these health care expenses catch you off guard in retirement.

7 Kirkland Signature Items to Avoid at Costco
7 Kirkland Signature Items to Avoid at Costco

Even if it seems you save a bundle buying Costco’s Kirkland Signature brand products, they may not be the bargain they appear to be.

Beware This Hidden Ingredient in Rotisserie Chicken
Beware This Hidden Ingredient in Rotisserie Chicken

Something foul may lurk in those delicious, ready-to-eat birds.

5 Ways to Get Amazon Prime for Free
5 Ways to Get Amazon Prime for Free

Hesitant to drop $119 a year on an Amazon Prime membership? Here’s how to get it for free.

Never Buy These 10 Things on Amazon
Never Buy These 10 Things on Amazon

Just because you can purchase something on Amazon doesn’t mean that you should.

7 Big Purchases You Should Never Make
7 Big Purchases You Should Never Make

Sometimes a big-ticket purchase is nothing more than a big waste of money.

8 of the Worst Things to Buy at Target
8 of the Worst Things to Buy at Target

No store can specialize in everything. For some purchases, it’s smart to shop elsewhere.

8 Things You Should Be Buying at Thrift Stores
8 Things You Should Be Buying at Thrift Stores

For one expert, these secondhand bargains stand out from the rest.

5 States With the Worst Health Care for Retirees
5 States With the Worst Health Care for Retirees

All of these states are located in the same region of the nation.

20 Great Part-Time Jobs for Retirees
20 Great Part-Time Jobs for Retirees

Retirees can dial back the intensity of work while continuing to bring in a paycheck.

3 Ways to Get Microsoft Office for Free
3 Ways to Get Microsoft Office for Free

With a little ingenuity, you can cut Office costs to zero.

8 Types of Companies That Check Your Credit Report
8 Types of Companies That Check Your Credit Report

Federal law lets these entities peek at your credit — regardless of whether you’re borrowing money.

11 Foods That Can Keep for Years
11 Foods That Can Keep for Years

These are some of the longest-lasting groceries you can buy.

Selling Your Stuff? Don’t Fall for These 5 Negotiating Tricks
Selling Your Stuff? Don’t Fall for These 5 Negotiating Tricks

Don’t let buyers fleece you — whether you’re selling via a yard sale or Facebook Marketplace.

View More Articles

View this page without ads

Help us produce more money-saving articles and videos by subscribing to a membership.

Get Started

Add a Comment

Our Policy: We welcome relevant and respectful comments in order to foster healthy and informative discussions. All other comments may be removed. Comments with links are automatically held for moderation.