7 Things You Probably Didn't Know You Can Clean in Your Dishwasher

This multi-tasking kitchen appliance surprises us yet again.

The dishwasher is arguably one of the best modern kitchen inventions ever created (seriously, anyone who has spent countless hours hand-washing dishes at the kitchen sink knows this to be true). Recently, it seems that the list of items that can be cleaned in the multi-tasking dishwasher grows longer by the day. That’s right, the dishwasher isn’t just for dishes and kitchen tools anymore. In fact, there are plenty of items around your house that you can conveniently run through the dishwasher for a much-needed deep-cleaning—and some of the items that make the “dishwasher-friendly” list may just shock you. Grab your child’s plastic baby toys, your grimy toothbrush holders, and even your oven knobs, here are 7 unexpected items you can actually clean in the dishwasher.

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Plastic Baby Toys

It’s easy for baby toys to become laden with germs, but the good news is that some of the items, including plastic blocks, bath toys, and plastic rattles, can be disinfected and sanitized in the dishwasher. Experts recommend cleaning toys at least once a month, especially if the toy makes contact with the ground, has come into contact with food or bodily fluids, other children have put it in their mouths, or it comes into contact with a sick child (your own or someone else’s).

Before placing baby toys in the dishwasher, check the labels to make sure that they are dishwasher-safe. Place toys on the top rack and use regular dishwashing detergent. If your machine has the option, you can choose the “sanitize” cycle, and depending upon the toy, you can use the heated dry cycle or remove the toys and let them air-dry if you’re worried about the plastic melting or warping.

Small Metal Wastebaskets, Toothbrush Holders, Soap Trays

It’s easy for gunk and grime to accumulate on certain bathroom items that we use every day. Toothpaste residue, soap scum, and water stains can leave you feeling like a regular soap-and-water clean isn’t enough. For that next-level clean (that will also save you time), load ceramic or hard plastic toothbrush holders and soap trays into the dishwasher, checking if they have a dishwasher-safe label first. The same goes for small metal or plastic wastebaskets. If possible, clean these items together to save on water and energy.

Plastic Hairbrushes and Combs

When grease and product buildup collects on your hairbrushes and combs, they can take on a less-than-fresh scent and lose their firm grip. To clean them quickly, place them in the dishwasher for a spin. Just be sure to remove all hair from these items first, so that it doesn’t clog up the dishwasher drain and cause an unwanted problem. Note: avoid putting wooden brushes or those with boar bristles in the dishwasher.

Vacuum Cleaner Attachments

Even appliances that help us keep our homes clean need to be cleaned every so often, and that includes your vacuum attachments. To get these pieces grime-free and ready to take on the task of cleaning once again, clear your dishwasher of any dishes and load it with vacuum parts. Just be sure to remove any hair or large debris from the attachments first. It’s also a good idea to run the dishwasher for a cycle afterwards (or try this vinegar dishwasher cleaning trick) to cleanse it after taking on this dirty little job.

Refrigerator Shelves

It is probably one of your least favorite chores: scrubbing those dirty refrigerator shelves. Talk about a real back-breaker of a chore! The good news is that you can probably get away with putting this chore off until the end of each month, and the even better news is that your dishwasher can help. Many refrigerator shelves without LED lights are dishwasher-safe (check the manual to be sure). To prevent cracking, warm the shelves up to room temperature before placing them in the top rack. This power clean will easily shine the glass and remove any gooey food residue or stains.

Oven Knobs

It’s probably been a while since you’ve washed the oven knobs—and we’re not judging, it’s hard work getting all of the grease and grime that has accumulated over time to budge. Well, placing these hard-to-clean parts in the cutlery compartment of the dishwasher can get the job done faster and make this tedious task pain-free. We think you’ll be pleased with how shiny and clean they come out. Just be sure they’re dried thoroughly before replacing them.

Fake Plastic Flowers

So you’ve taken the time to explore and identify the most realistic-looking fake plants and flowers around. As much as these faux florals pretty up a space, they can also pile up the dust and lose their visual impact. To free plastic (not silk) flowers from dirt and dust, place them on the top rack of the dishwasher to prevent them from melting. A quick rinse will have them looking fresh and fabulous once again.

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