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 I detail in “Never Put These 16 Items 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 on 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.
Now, here are some surprising items you might not have realized you can clean in your dishwasher:
1. Some Instant Pot parts
Believe it or not, the company states — and I’ve verified with my own Instant Pot — that the following parts are dishwasher-safe:
- 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.
Stoneware and earthenware 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 in 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.