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12 Things You Can
Clean in a Dishwasher

Blog Title Shape
November 2, 2023

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Life gets busy—we get it. Finding time to handle all your responsibilities is challenging, so we bet you’re all for a little time-saving help around the home. Saving time, spending less energy, and using what we already have around our homes is a trio that makes sense.

Instead of working harder on housekeeping, you can clean smarter when you harness the power of your dishwasher. What can you put in a dishwasher? You know how convenient a dishwasher can be for cleaning dishes, glasses, and utensils. But did you know many items around your home that should be cleaned regularly fit in your dishwasher?

Before you learn what you can put in a dishwasher for cleaning, a few preventive tips are in order.

Tips on Using Your Dishwasher to Clean Things

Many modern dishwashers have a sanitizing cycle that kills germs. The NSF/ANSI Standard 184 certifies dishwashers with a sanitizing cycle if the final extended hot-water rinse reaches 150°F. If your dishwasher has a sanitizing option, the appliance kills 99.999 percent of bacteria. Without a sanitizing cycle, a dishwasher will typically clean with water much hotter than water used in hand-washing.

Most of us can handle water temperatures up to 104°F, and that’s not nearly hot enough to kill some of the most dangerous foodborne germs like E. coli. You stand a much better chance of killing those germs by using the regular dishwasher setting. But, when it comes to some plastic items, sanitizing and other hot water cycles are off-limits.

Most heavy plastic items can handle the hot water from your dishwasher, but it’s essential to avoid certain plastics. Lightweight plastics can melt in a dishwasher and release harmful toxins. Play it safe and check for the dishwasher-safe label on the bottom before putting them in the dishwasher.

What Can You Put in a Dishwasher?

  • Most porcelain, ceramic, and china dishware
  • Hard plastic items like melamine
  • Stainless steel items and utensils
  • Most glassware
  • Stone and glass baking items
  • Silicone and metal cooking utensils

What Can You Not Wash in a Dishwasher

  • Painted or metal-rimmed china
  • Copper, iron, and non-stick cookware
  • Crystal or other delicate glassware
  • Kitchen prep or cooking knives
  • Items made from wood or with wooden handles
  • Sterling silver utensils

You can check out more items to not put in your dishwasher with our handy housekeeping guide.

Optimize Your Dishwasher to Make Housekeeping More Manageable

From baby toys to ball caps, your dishwasher can clean many small items in your home. Follow the precautions above, and you can safely use a dishwasher to clean and sanitize about anything washable. Here is a list of somewhat unusual things to put in a dishwasher to get them clean.

  • Refrigerator shelves and drawers

Most fridges have removable shelves and drawers that fit in a dishwasher. You may need to adjust the layout or remove a rack depending on how many pieces you wash.

  • Kitchen sponges and brushes

Scrub brushes and sponges you use around the kitchen harbor plenty of dirt and germs. When they get dirty, load them on the top rack for quick and easy cleaning and sanitizing.

  • Trivets and spoon rests

Ceramic, stone, and silicone trivets and spoon rests are usually dishwasher-safe, and your dishwasher’s top rack is ideal for getting them clean.

  • Shower caddies and soap dishes

Shower caddies and soap dishes are often overlooked on most cleaning checklists. But like other bathroom items, they can be covered in germs. Wash them in the dishwasher, and those germs and soap scum disappear.

  • Toothbrushes and toothbrush holders

The germs and buildup on toothbrushes and holders can get pretty yucky. Lucky for you, the sanitizing setting on your dishwasher can get them fresh and clean again.

  • Manicure and pedicure tools

Nail files, clippers, and other tools can be cleaned and sanitized in the dishwasher’s utensil caddy. Take precautions to keep small tools from slipping through the openings at the bottom.

  • Hair brushes, combs, and more

Grooming items like hair brushes, combs, and berets accumulate dirt, body and hair oils, and other residues. Pull out any hair, put the items in a basket on the top rack, and run a regular cycle.

  • Baby toys, pacifiers, and teethers

Babies put pacifiers, teethers, and toys in their mouths. To keep dirt and germs at bay and your baby healthy, load items like these on the top rack and give them a deep cleaning.

  • Pet dishes

If you don’t clean your pet’s food and water bowls frequently, you may set your dog or cat up for illness. Water bowls can get moldy, and food bowls can harbor harmful bacteria. Wash them on the top rack of the dishwasher using the sanitizing cycle.

  • Light fixture globes

Glass and many plastic light globes can be cleaned in the dishwasher on the regular cycle. Place them on the top rack open side down and skip the drying cycle.

  • Phone cases

Rubber and silicone phone cases are notorious for harboring germs and grime. Most are dishwasher-safe and come clean quickly when placed on the top rack. Remember to take it off your phone first!

  • Hats and caps

Dirty baseball, fishing, and other caps and hats get super clean in your dishwasher. Pretreat any stains and put the cap open side down on the top rack. Reshape the hat while it’s wet and let it air dry.

Now that you know how surprisingly versatile your dishwasher is, what can go in the dishwasher is limited only to your imagination! Since your dishwasher will be cleaning more things around your home, keep it clean for the best performance.

Whether you want to enjoy a clean home more often or need help managing your cleaning projects, we’ve got you covered. Get a customized cleaning quote today and find out what a difference The Maids can make in your home.

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