While you might think that a dishwasher is only useful for doing the washing up that you formerly completed by hand, that’s not actually true. The same effective cleaning that runs overnight while you sleep can be used on many things.
In this article, we detail 10 items you can wash in a dishwasher and 6 less obvious ones that you probably shouldn’t (even though you might want to).
Note: Be careful of washing delicate items on intensive dishwasher cycles which use a higher temperature than standard cycles. Ensure you understand how to use the different programs on your dishwasher to select the most appropriate program.
Table of Contents
10 Items To Use A Dishwasher To Clean
#1 Oven Gloves
The trusty oven gloves that protect your hands from burns when lifting cooked food out of the oven or microwave getting messed up quickly. Whether from food remnants that have gotten crushed into the glove, melted caramel from a hot dessert or other smeared food items, they look a mess surprisingly quickly.
A distinction must be made with oven gloves. There are silicone ones that are usually fine to be placed inside the dishwasher for the overnight treatment. However, cloth-based ones won’t fare too well in a dishwasher and should be earmarked for the washing machine instead.
#2 Microwave Glass Turntable
The circular turntable in the centre of the microwave can get dirty from overflowing British ready meals like Cottage pie or Shepherd’s pie when they break their film covering (or you forget to pierce the film a few times).
When cleaning the microwave, removing the glass dish is the first step. Just slide it into one of the slots at the bottom of the dishwasher usually reserved for large plates. It should fit and gives it plenty of space. Reassembling it the next day is just a matter of finding the right groove and it slots right back into place inside the microwave again.
#3 Kitchen Hardware
Kitchen hardware stored in cabinets around the kitchen often doesn’t often see the light of day. When not washed properly before putting them away, their sides or handles can still be sticky or pick up dirt over time.
To wash these kinds of items, usually, you’ll require a mesh bag that’s large enough to place them inside. Then they should be positioned at the top level of the machine.
Things to be aware of are hand-painted or other items with a delicate exterior finish that will peel or chip off under the heat and water jets during a washing cycle.
#4 Flower Vases & Pottery
If you’re someone who enjoys fresh flowers around the home, then you probably have several glass vases. These will need cleaning every few weeks to keep them looking in tip-top condition (especially if they’re the transparent kind where it’s possible to see every smudged fingerprint).
Bits of pottery usually can also be placed safely inside a dishwasher. Bear in mind that it depends on how delicate they are and whether they will withstand either the heat or the hot jets of water aimed at them?
#5 Office Accessories
If you have a home office, then you probably have the usual office paraphernalia like pen holders, mini rubbish cans for waste, and plastic organiser trays to divide up your physical inbox from your “To be filled” pile.
Most of these items can be slotted into the upper levels of a multi-level dishwasher. Do consider whether there’s an exterior covering that could get chipped off during the cleaning process through. If anything is plated, exclude it from what goes inside.
#6 Bathroom Clean Out
Have a wander through the bathroom(s) in your home. You’re likely to find all sorts of things that can be safely cleaned in the dishwasher.
Cleaning brushes, sponges and artificial sponges that hang up in the shower are unusual for a dishwasher but clean up great!
Any toothbrush holders or soap holder dishes are good to clean. This avoids bacterial build-up that could get on your body or onto your teeth or gums.
Also, look for rubber mats in the bathtub that can do with a cycle. These can be washed in the upper section. Be sure to let it dry before use to avoid mould developing later.
#7 False Teeth / Dentures
A set of dentures (or false teeth) are an unusual inclusion for a 90-minute clean in the dishwasher, but they manage well. Indeed, when the idea of brushing your own dentures gives you the chills or you don’t think that you do a good enough job of it, then into the dishwasher they can go!
Remember to rinse them off with cold water before wearing them. Sometimes, an older unit can leave a dishwasher detergent layer which won’t taste good in your mouth.
#8 Kids’ Wellies
The kids’ Wellies are small enough to fit into the lower section at the back. While your boots won’t likely fit, their ones will.
A distinction here is that the Wellies must be the rubber kind that has no internal lining. Fancier brands may jazz up Wellies and these shouldn’t be cleaned in the dishwasher.
Also, if the family owns any Crocs, then they can go in for a cycle too. Made from a polymer foam resin, a pair of Crocs can take the heat during the wash (your flip-flops probably cannot).
Certain kids’ toys might also fit and depending on what they’re made of, could be suitable too.
#9 Pets’ Bowls
The dog’s and cat’s food or water bowls are next up for the dishwasher treatment.
Make sure there are spare bowls for each of the furry friends in your household so that they’re not deprived of water. Especially with dogs, they need more water than is realised and on hot days can suffer quickly if deprived of it.
#10 Cooking Salmon Inside A Dishwasher
As a fun inclusion, this tip is for cooking fish and not cleaning something!
It’s possible to cook a fresh piece of salmon in your dishwasher instead of on the grill or gas oven. Yes, really!
The trick is to wrap it tightly in tin foil first, place it on the top rack and put the dishwasher through a robust cycle. Once the full cycle is completed, the salmon can be safely removed, unwrapped and eaten.
While this might seem like a strange practice, it’s akin to poaching fish, and oddly, a dishwasher is capable of delivering excellent results.
6 Items You Might Mistakenly Wash In The Dishwasher
#1 Kitchen Knives
Kitchen knives mistakenly go in the dishwasher because forks and knives go in, don’t they?
Well yes, they do. However, what’s important with kitchen knives is that they maintain their sharp cutting edge. When putting long knives into the wash, it blunts that edge requiring re-sharpening them every time. This is like making work for yourself!
#2 Electric Toothbrush And Shaver
Electric toothbrushes and electric shavers have been ruined by throwing them in for a cycle.
Anything electronic is a bad idea, period. With electric shavers, it’s easy to believe they can be placed in the dishwasher because sometimes they’re washable under the tap. Yes and no. You never want electronics inside an electrical machine. It’s likely to cause a short or an electric shock when needing to recharge them later.
People often believe they can wash them in a dishwasher. Here, it’s technically possible to do so, but we wouldn’t recommend it!
When using a washer/dryer, the full load is soaked with water, washing powder is added, and the clothes are regularly rotated and agitated to ensure all areas of every garment is soaped up nicely. Every piece of clothing in a regular washing machine gets thoroughly cleaned because the machine is designed for exactly this task.
With a dishwasher, the machine squirts hot jets of water at plates, bowls and cutlery to dislodge food particles, and the dishwasher detergent assists in this process. The items inside aren’t tossed about and agitated because if it were a china plate, it would break! As such, clothing doesn’t get sufficient movement to receive a thorough wash.
Also, the detergent used in dishwashers is entirely different from that of washing machines because its task is not the same. And in case you’re wondering, if you try using laundry detergent in your dishwasher, you’ll get a soapy mess in your kitchen. We don’t advise it!
#4 Figurines And Gold Leaf Adorned Items
When looking about the place for pottery to wash in the dishwasher, it’s natural to believe that figurines are suitable too. After all, they’re made from pottery and should be fine, right?
Actually, that’s not the case. They’re far more delicate with a pointed toe here and an outstretched hand there. These can often get caught in between the plastic racks or even the holes in the cutlery container, causing the delicate digits to break off.
With gold leaf adorned items, the leaf peels off under the hot jets.
#5 Paper Plates Or Wooden Products
It seems obvious that paper plates won’t survive but some people do try!
Wooden products such as a kitchen chopping board might look sturdy enough to get through a cycle, but these shouldn’t ever go into the dishwasher. The chopping board will lose both its sheen and patina along with getting scratched all to hell. A mistake you only make once!
#6 Plastic Containers
Plastic containers aren’t as durable as you might think.
While they might be dishwasher safe, they usually won’t survive the heat of a complete dishwasher cleaning cycle.
Avoid putting plastic containers in the dishwasher because they’ll melt right down and will need to be replaced.
Founder of homeappliancegeek.com, avid cook, and lover of Asian food.
Signature dishes include Thai Red Curry, Chicken Saag, Bibimbap and Sushi.
Massive clean freak; a habit baked-in after spending 9 years in the catering industry.
The one appliance he couldn’t live without? Easily the dishwasher (total relationship saver!).