9 Clever Uses for the Dishwasher

Baseball hats, sponges, toys, flip flops, and potatoes all have one thing in common…they can all be cleaned with a dishwasher!

This standard kitchen appliance isn’t just for dishes anymore. With a little creativity, you can use your dishwasher to clean everything from hats to food.

As someone who has tried several of these ideas, I don’t recommend mixing any of these things in with a load of dishes, since food particles can get on the fabric of a baseball hat. If you’re going to wash shoes, toys, or other kitchen equipment in the dishwasher, gather up as much as you can to give yourself a good sized load. Do the dishes separately to ensure that nothing gets damaged in the process.

Also I recommend letting anything you wash in the dishwasher (that isn’t dishes) air dry. The heat setting on the machine can melt plastic and warp certain materials, so simply wash your products and let them air dry in the racks with the door open to allow for air flow.

Dishwasher

Clean Baseball Hats: Perhaps the most well-known odd use for a dishwasher is to use it to clean dirty baseball hats. Rather than putting them through the vigorous washing machine, place dirty hats on the top rack of the dishwasher and they’ll come out stink free. This trick also works well for shin guards and knee pads.

Properly Clean Kitchen Sponges: Sponges are notorious for absorbing odors, so if you find yourself with a smelly sponge, simply throw them into your dishwasher to extend their use.

Clean Kids and Dog Toys: From LEGOS to tug of war toys, the dishwasher can handle all the germs that kids and pets seem to attract. Doing this around flu season can help limit your chances of having to deal with runny noses and upset tummies.

Get New Life from Flip Flops, Jellies, and Crocs: Rubber shoes aren’t made to last forever, but you can get good use out of them if you wash them occasionally. Rubber also absorbs foot odor, so these summer staples tend to smell…so remember to wash them once in a while to keep your toes (and your home) smelling fresh. You could also run the dishwasher with a little baking soda to help clean the shoes and your dishwasher at the same time.

Give Your Car a New Set of Wheels: Stubborn road grime can be hard to remove from metal hubcaps and wheel covers, but a run through the dishwasher on the pots and pans cycle ought to give your hub caps a sparkly shine.

Garden and Construction Tools: Rusty outdoor tools can do with a good cleaning every so often. Freshen up garden tools, hammers, screwdrivers, and wrenches by tossing them into the dishwasher.

Get a Fresh Look with Clean Hair Accessories and Makeup Brushes: Hairspray, products, and oily tresses can gunk up your favorite hair pieces…so run your combs, brushes, ties, barrettes, and hairpins through the dishwasher to help extend their use. You can also use the dishwasher to clean the oils and residue from your makeup brushes. This will not only extend the life of your brushes, but will help prevent acne from forming, since plenty of bacteria reside on your brushes (Hairbrushes and combs made of plastic can take a spin, but not wood or natural boar-bristle brushes. Be sure to remove all the hair first to protect the drain).

Stubborn Kitchen Shelves, Grates, and Stovetops: Spills and burns can make refrigerator shelves, oven shelves, and stovetop grates near impossible to clean by hand, but the mighty dishwasher can help clean those tough spots in no time.

Soapy Suds: Okay, don’t add soap, but the dishwasher can help you clean off a whole bunch of potatoes if you’re cooking for a crowd.

Knowledge is power!  Learn fun facts, hints and tips, and creative ways to use every day items with “The Buzz” posts on Thursday.

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