A Trusted Friend in a Complicated World

15 Things You Never Knew Your Dishwasher Could Do

Odds are, you haven’t been taking advantage of this staple kitchen appliance’s full potential. These dishwasher hacks will totally blow your mind—guaranteed.

1 / 15

Bake salmon fillets

Dishwashers are good for more than just cleaning your cookware; these kitchen appliances can whip up a tasty meal, too. Just for starters, wrap salmon (seasoned to your liking) in a foil packet, place it on the top rack, and run a normal cycle without soap for a hassle-free dinner. While it might not be the most efficient way to cook a meal—and it can reportedly make your dishwasher smell funky—it can’t hurt to put this fun trick to the test. Don’t miss more brilliant kitchen shortcuts you’ll wish you knew sooner.

2 / 15

Rinse fruits and veggies

If you still hand-wash each individual fruit or vegetable from your weekly farmer’s market haul, you’re wasting your time. Throw them all in your dishwasher and run a cold (soap-free) rinse cycle, instead, and you’ll never need to turn on your sink. Bonus tip: To protect more delicate items, such as tomatoes and peaches, place them on the top rack. Heavier produce like potatoes and cantaloupes can go on the bottom. Here are more surprising things you can clean in the dishwasher.

3 / 15

De-germ your computer keyboard

Our computer keyboards are downright filthy—no exceptions. Thankfully, many experts say tossing them in your dishwasher can remove all that grime in a jiffy. But you should proceed with caution; avoid using soap and hot water, never select the heated drying cycle, and don’t put anything else in the dishwasher. You should also allow your keyboard to air dry for up to three days once it has been through the wash. For a less risky cleaning, some manufacturers recommend gently wiping the surface with a damp cloth, instead.

4 / 15

Keep food warm

Let’s be honest: Keeping cooked food warm until you’re ready to eat might as well be rocket science. If your oven is full, set the dishwasher to dry cycle with no water and leave the dish on the top rack. Your meal will stay nice and toasty, guaranteed.

5 / 15

Warm up dishes

Every restaurant-worthy feast needs warm plates and bowls. While some dishwashers have a convenient plate warming setting, you can always turn on the heat/dry cycle for the same effect.

6 / 15

Ripen avocados

Need to ripen an avocado fast? Your dishwasher is here to help. Just throw the fruit on the top rack for one normal cycle; according to a restaurant employee, something about the heat and/or humidity can soften up these rock-hard fruits. This genius trick can ripen an avocado in under 10 minutes.

7 / 15

Steam veggies

Did your stove decide to take some unexpected time off? Save the day by placing chopped vegetables—Brit+Co recommends green beans or asparagus—into a Mason jar with one cup of water and seal it shut. Then, leave the jar on the top rack of your dishwasher and run a normal cycle. You will have delicious, perfectly steamed veggies on your plate in minutes. Bon appetit!

8 / 15

Sanitize makeup brushes

All the scouring and scrubbing in the world won’t make that gunk in your makeup brushes go away. Instead, try placing them in your dishwasher’s silverware basket and running a normal cycle. You can do the same thing for nail clippers, hairbrushes, and combs, too. (But you should never, ever put these things in a dishwasher.)

9 / 15

Cook homemade lasagna

Your dishwasher might be the next crockpot. To see what we mean, seal lasagna inside a packet of foil and run a normal cycle, selecting “heated dry” and “sanitize” for extra heat. Granted, it’s faster to cook lasagna in an oven, but this trick can come in handy if you’re in a pinch.

10 / 15

Reuse the racks as storage

Ahh, another dishwasher bites the dust. But before you toss it out, you can actually reuse almost all of its parts. The top rack, for example, can double as creative storage for craft supplies or gardening tools. Just turn the rack on its side and hang it on a wall in your craft room or garage. Try more brilliant ways to reuse other household items.

11 / 15

Organize utensils and writing supplies

Speaking of salvaging broken dishwashers, that old silverware caddy can also have a second life as a place to stash pencils, markers, crayons, or other craft supplies. You’ll wish you knew these brilliant organization tips, too.

12 / 15

De-grease car parts

No need to break your back making those pesky hubcaps and wheel covers spic and span; simply remove them from your car and place them in the dishwasher. With little to no elbow grease, they will shine like new—just try not to wash them with your dinner plates.

13 / 15

Dry your hand-washed dishes

Hand-washing dishes is time-consuming enough without drying them all, too. Let that huge stack of delicate bowls and plates air dry in the empty dishwasher (with the door cracked open), or run the dry cycle if you’re in a hurry.

14 / 15

Clean fake flowers

Your plastic flower arrangements can look beautiful on a mantel, but they are also major dust magnets. The simplest solution? Just throw the whole bouquet on the top rack of the dishwasher, and they will get back to freshening up your space in no time.

15 / 15

Create under-the-bed storage

Not everything inside your old, broken dishwasher belongs in the junkyard. Turn the wheeled bottom rack into extra storage underneath your bed; it can roll back and forth for easy access to your stuff. Check out even more extraordinary uses for household staples you already own.

Brooke Nelson Alexander
Brooke is a tech and consumer products writer covering the latest in digital trends, product reviews, security and privacy, and other news and features for Reader's Digest. She's a two-time Emmy-nominated reporter with nearly 10 years of publishing experience, and her work has been recognized by the Columbia Scholastic Press Association.