21 Things You Didn't Know You Could Clean In The Dishwasher

21 Things You Didn't Know You Could Clean In The Dishwasher

Dishwashers are hot, wet and steamy...the perfect place to blitz germs and clean your everyday items!

Find out what you can deep clean right here...

1. Nail clippers, tweezer & scissors

nail tools
Everything except the nail file!

Your personal grooming kit can harbour a whole host of germs and bacteria, not to mention dead skin cells - yuck! Pop your nail prep tools into the cutlery compartment and they'll be good as new.

2. Hairbrushes and combs

As long as your brushes are plastic and don't have boar bristles, you can simply remove any excess hair and pop them into where you usually put the cutlery. Remember to air dry before using again.

3. Your kids plastic toys

bath toys
You never know what germs are lurking on them.

The kid's toys get dragged across the floor, in the garden and across all kinds of dirty floors where they pick up germs, bacteria, and other nasties. This is especially true for those mouldy bath toys!

Make sure you give any plastic toys a proper clean to avoid sickness. Just don't put any electrical or battery-powered toys in there.

4. Soap dishes & toothbrush holders

Get rid of soap scum from your toothbrush holders and soap dishes by putting them in for a quick wash on the dishwasher.

You clean anything from plastic to porcelain and ceramic accessories.

5. Shoes

The washing machine will cause a lot of damage.

Why stick your shoes in the washing machine and risk damaging them when you can clean dirty shoes in the dishwasher instead? Pop your welly boots, flip-flops and trainers on the top rack for a good soak.

6. The food waste bin

Cleaning the food waste bin is a mucky job but someone has to do it - and who better than the trusty dishwasher! Once a week, give it a deep clean in the dishwasher and it'll come out better than ever.

If you can fit them in, try washing your kitchen bid lid and your bathroom bin in there too.

7. Sponges

Get rid of bacteria between uses.

Sponges quickly pick up dirt and bacteria, but you don't need to throw them away after just one use. Pop them into the dishwasher to rid them off any bad stuff. Leave to air dry and there'll be good to go again.

8. Baseball caps

Unlike the washing machine, your hats won't lose their shape if you place them on the top rack of the dishwasher. For further instructions on how to clean sweat-stained hats, read our other article. 

9. Pet bowls

pet bowls
Be sure to check with everyone in your house first!

Pet bowls can quickly get grimy if they're not cleaned regularly. Leftover food, fur, and spit can make for a very messy bowl. Stick them in the dishwasher for super clean bowls.

Editor's Note: It has since been discovered by the NSF that dishwashers should not be relied upon to clean pet bowls as they harbour harmful bacteria than requires disinfection for removal.

10. Shelves in your fridge

With leaks, spills and whiffy foods, your fridge shelves and drawers can get quickly get dirty. Keep your fridge in tip-top condition by putting them into the dishwasher every fortnight. The jets should get rid of any stuck-on foods and stains, too.

11. Showerhead

shower head
It's the easiest way to get it clean.

Got a removable shower head? Unscrew it and place it in the dishwasher every three months to clean out any hard water build-up and grime.

12. Razors

We bet you didn't think of that.

Just because they've got some shaving foam residue and hairs between the blades doesn't mean your disposable razors are ready for the bin. Give them a deep clean by sticking them in the cutlery basket.

13. Mouthguards

If you play contact sports or grind your teeth at night, you might own a rubber mouthguard. You'll already know is important to wash it every day or risk bad bacteria re-entering your mouth. Why not pop it in with the dishes every night to save time cleaning it yourself?

14. Makeup brushes

Even your makeup brushes!

Make-up artists and assistants will tell you how important it is to keep these brushes clean. They touch your face every day, and if you don't wash them regularly they will transfer germs and bacteria onto your face.

Place your foundation, blusher and eyeshadow brushes in the silverware basket on a short cycle to get rid of any blemish-inducing bacteria.

15. Furniture knobs

Unscrew the knobs from your cabinets and give them a quick wash. They'll be shiny and sparkling - just like new. Great tips for sprucing up second-hand knobs.

16. Potatoes

This could save you so much time.

This one might not be for everyone, but if you are preparing a lot of potatoes (Christmas?) you can save time by popping them into the top rack of the dishwasher and running a short cycle without detergent. 

17. Gardening tools

Provided they are not made from wood, you should be able to clean your gardening tools in the dishwasher. This will help prevent cross-contamination in your garden.

18. Dustpan & brushes

Another household item that can get particularly grimy. Remove any hair from the brush to avoid clogging the drainage then pop both the pan and brush into the dishwasher for a deep clean.

19. Your toothbrushes

Skip the detergent.

If you have excess toothpaste and hard water build up on the base of your toothbrush it's time to give it a clean in the dishwasher. Just remember this is one of those items that does NOT require detergent!

20. Jar for preserving

Clean those used jam jars before you use them for preserving. 

21. Car hubcaps

hub caps
Get rid of all that muck!

We all hate cleaning the car. If your hubcaps will fit in your dishwasher then there's no reason not to wash them in there. They'll get a good soak and will save you an hour or two in scrubbing!

As you can see, these appliances have a lot of uses. But how long do dishwashers last, and what should you do if your dishwasher stops drying or your pods aren't dissolving? Find out in our other articles! 

Thanks for reading! If you can think of any items that can be cleaned in the dishwasher, please leave a comment below.

Anushka F


A keen money-saver and fan of all things natural, Anushka enjoys making her own beauty products and is partial to a bit of crafting. Never short of a clever tip or two, she's always looking for new ways to make her money go even further.

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  1. Author Charleen Henning on September 30, 2015 at 2:54 pm

    This is a really interesting post! I am not sure if I am willing to clean my shoes in the dishwasher but I will definitely try with the fridge shelves! I hate cleaning the fridge and if I could clean the shelves in the dishwasher it will be a relieve already! Thanks!

    1. Author Anushka F on October 12, 2015 at 2:18 pm

      Certain shoes like wellies will be fine Charleen, but yes I understand your hesitation. Great stuff, let me know how it goes with the fridge shelves.

  2. Author Amanda Delgardo on November 2, 2015 at 1:02 pm

    U can also put sunglasses and shower curtain in dishwasher too ?

    1. Author Anushka F on November 3, 2015 at 3:59 pm

      Good ones Amanda!

  3. Author Victoria Burt on November 2, 2015 at 1:06 pm

    You can clean the rings on your gas cooker along with the actual gas rings themselves, place them on the top or bottom shelves and they come up clean and grease free.

    1. Author Anushka F on November 3, 2015 at 3:59 pm

      That's an interesting one Victoria! Thanks for sharing, I'll be sure to try it out.

  4. Author Caroline Farrell on November 2, 2015 at 4:27 pm

    Putting most of those items will either leave germs and mud in your dishwasher to be spread onto your dishes or will shorten the .life of your dishwwasher. If you wouldn't wash something in the washing up bowl with your plates then it probably isn't fit for the dishwasher

    1. Author Anushka F on November 3, 2015 at 4:05 pm

      Hi Caroline, I think if you used it within reason it wouldn't do too much harm. Giving wellies and other dirty items a quick rinse before loading in should also be fine.

  5. Author Rebecca Hall on November 2, 2015 at 5:04 pm

    The filter from the extractor hob goes in our dishwasher - easiest way ever to remove the grease!

    1. Author Anushka F on November 3, 2015 at 4:00 pm

      Oh that's a great way to clean it - never thought of that!

  6. Author paul hesford on November 2, 2015 at 5:48 pm

    I put my golf balls in for a wash, they come out a treat

    1. Author Anushka F on November 3, 2015 at 4:05 pm

      Nice on Paul.

  7. Author Peggy colville on November 2, 2015 at 10:09 pm

    Hi A good one was put your dish clothes into the dishwasher it leaves then lovely and fresh and white . killing all germs

    1. Author Anushka F on November 3, 2015 at 4:06 pm

      Oh that's a useful tip Peggy!

  8. Author Elaine on November 2, 2015 at 10:13 pm

    I clean my dish drainer and sink basket in my dishwasher once a week and collect any plastic items and coasters that need a wash and pop them in too

    1. Author Anushka F on November 3, 2015 at 4:06 pm

      Great ideas Elaine, thanks for sharing!

  9. Author Linda on November 8, 2015 at 1:20 am

    Think I'll just stick to putting my dishes in the 'dish' washer!

    1. Author Anushka F on November 12, 2015 at 10:46 am

      That also works ;)

  10. Author Georgina F on August 23, 2016 at 2:22 pm

    I put the plate from my microwave oven in my dishwasher and it comes up sparkling.

    1. Author Anushka F on August 25, 2016 at 9:23 am

      Oh nice one!

  11. Author Lynne on July 9, 2017 at 1:00 pm

    I unscrew the toilet seat and lid and put it in the dishwasher. It comes out beautifully clean.

    1. Author Stephanie C on July 10, 2017 at 9:05 am

      Hi Lynne. That certainly sounds interesting!

    2. Author Carol on September 29, 2017 at 9:19 am

      Love the idea to out the fridge shelves in dishwasher I'd never have thot of that & their awkward so guess where mine are going today so thank you that task will be easy now & I have a friend with a horse & she puts all her horsey things in there just about everything that's so mucky & cant usually clean & it s great for her not my choice tho ?.

    3. Author Stephanie C on September 29, 2017 at 11:49 am

      Hi Carol. The fridge shelves come out great in the dishwasher, although I wouldn't recommend the horsey stuff! I've had horses of my own and know how sticky and germy some items can be. Each to their own I guess! :)

  12. Author Hazel Clarke on October 11, 2017 at 8:22 am

    Contradiction - Things you shouldn’t put in the dishwasher ‘ Don’t put pet bowls in dishwasher.’ This followed by: ‘Things you can put in dishwasher including pet bowl containing left over food and spit!’ Ugh I do put sturdy vases in the dishwasher to clean them. H Mouse

  13. Author Sue on October 11, 2017 at 11:35 am

    Just read about what you shouldn't put in the dishwasher you said pet bowls then read article about what can be washed in dishwasher you state pet bowls which article is correct?

  14. Author Liz Chedumbrum on October 11, 2017 at 1:56 pm

    Great ideas but the one about putting your pet bowls 'in with your other dishes' contradicts another if your helpful lists I've just read: What NOT to put in the dishwasher'! In this list you mention pet items to avoid spreading their germs into your own plates. So probably best take that one off your list!

  15. Author nancy roth on January 6, 2018 at 11:45 pm

    Well, who'da thunk it!

  16. Author Sue on August 26, 2018 at 8:40 pm

    Can you steam fish in your dishwasher ,some one told me you can

    1. Author Joanne A on August 28, 2018 at 10:36 am

      Hello Sue! You certainly can, as strange as it sounds. Just wrap the fish well in tin foil and put it in the rack amongst your dirty dishes. Add detergent as normal - the tin foil will protect the fish from any soap suds. You might need to experiment with settings as every dishwasher varies.

  17. Author Caroline Farrell on February 25, 2019 at 10:19 am

    Items such as shoes, hub caps, sponges will not improve your dishwasher and may well leave to nasty germs going on your dishes

    1. Author Joanne A on February 25, 2019 at 11:41 am

      Hi Caroline! You could always run an empty cycle between washes if you're concerned about germs. We can assure you that the dishwasher will remove germs, just as it does with the food from your plates.

  18. Author Mr John Harwood on February 25, 2019 at 10:21 am

    If your dishwasher adds salt to the wash cycle, or your detergent tablet contains salt, you should not put anything made from aluminium in there. The salt is highly corrosive to aluminium, and after repeated washes the aluminium will be pitted and dull. To a lesser extent the same can be said for stainless steel... Have you noticed pits in your cutlery? It;s the salt!

    1. Author Joanne A on February 25, 2019 at 11:43 am

      That seems strange considering that dishwashers are made to clean things like cutlery! Thanks for getting in touch.

  19. Author Anne on February 25, 2019 at 1:13 pm

    You state that you can't put pet bowls in a dishwasher because it will not kill all bacteria but you are advocating putting bins, garden tools, sponges etc. in them. Clearly you will not kill bacteria on these either and risk leaving your dishwasher in an unhealthy state.

    1. Author Joanne A on February 25, 2019 at 2:15 pm

      Hi there, Anne! It will depend on the dishwasher's capabilities. You should only try these if your dishwasher has a sanitising feature. This feature uses an extended hot-water rinse to kill germs. Dishwashers with this standard are certified with NSF/ANSI Standard 184. This means that they're capable of killing 99.99% of germs.

  20. Author Heather on September 10, 2020 at 8:20 am

    I put the glass from an oven door in there recently and will be washing oven shelves too.

    1. Author Joanne A on September 24, 2020 at 12:12 pm

      Thanks for sharing!

  21. Author Hazel Mead on March 23, 2021 at 8:27 pm

    I'm a netball umpire and often put my whistles in the dishwasher to give them a good clean. x

    1. Author Joanne A on March 25, 2021 at 10:59 am

      That's a great tip, Hazel!

  22. Author Sandra on March 10, 2023 at 10:33 am

    It's easy to clean toothbrushes with a denture tablet, just let them soak overnight and it gets them clean again.

    1. Author Joanne A on March 16, 2023 at 12:01 pm

      Great suggestion! Denture tablets are an effective way to clean toothbrushes. Simply let your toothbrush soak overnight in a cup of warm water with a denture tablet, then rinse thoroughly in the morning.


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