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13 Things You Never Knew You Could Put in the Dishwasher

Boots, toys, potatoes—all are dishwasher safe.

anonymous woman standing in a kitchen opening the dishwasher
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They don’t call it a Lego-washer…

…but that doesn’t mean they couldn’t. Your best spring cleaning tool is right under your nose—and counter. Dishwashers are not only a water- and energy-saver, but a timesaver also. Let the little elves who live in the dishwasher and come out to scrub your plates and cutlery handle your refrigerator shelves and rain boots too! Next, here’s how to clean your dishwasher.

close up of multicolored lego toy building bricks
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Small plastic toys

Germs can linger on your kids’ toys for months. Disinfect them by putting them in a mesh lingerie bag on the top shelf of your dishwasher. Then just let the normal cycle run. For more tips, you shouldn’t put these things in the dishwasher.

overhead view of a pair of flip flops on a wood floor
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Hook dirty flip-flops into the top rack so they stay in place during high water pressure cycles. Next, learn about these things you didn’t know your dishwasher could do.

three plastic hairbrushes on blue background
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Your hairbrush can hold almost 3,500 colonies of bacteria, according to University of Arizona research. Remove any stray hairs and drop your brush in the silverware tray for a thorough cleanse. Remember only plastic brushes or combs. Wooden or boar-bristle brushes will get ruined. Next, here are the things you didn’t know you could put in the washing machine.

close up view of many potatoes
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Making mashed potatoes for your next big potluck? Cut your preparation time and wash your spuds on a rinse-only cycle—no detergent!—on the top shelf.

three pairs of dirty rainboots lined up outside a door
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Rain boots

Even rain boots deserve a good rinse once in a while. Remove the liners and lay them down horizontally. Here are the best rain boots for women to buy this rainy season.

White open empty refrigerator.
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Refrigerator shelves

Between leaking meat juices and spilled food, your fridge can get really gross really fast. Instead of scrubbing every last inch clean, throw those shelves in with your other dishes. Here’s the right way to load your dishwasher.

metal pen holder cup with pencils and stationary items on blue background
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When it comes to cleaning, common desk items like penholders and trays for scrap paper often get overlooked. If they’re metal or plastic, toss them in your next dishwasher load. If you’re looking to buy a new dishwasher, here are the best dishwasher brands to check out.

close up of knobs on a stove

Stove knobs

These are probably the last things you think of cleaning in your kitchen, but they can get dirty quickly. If they’re removable, throw them in the silverware tray. Here’s more on how to clean your oven.

Close up shot of set of multicolored toothbrushes in glass on white background

Bathroom stuff

Your bathroom is a haven for bacteria, from soap dishes to bathtub drain plugs to toothbrush holders. Luckily, all of them can be cleaned on the top rack with your other dishes. Once they’re clean, here are all of the things you should be cleaning with a toothbrush.

Travel-size manicure tools (scissors, cuticle pusher, tweezers, nail file and nail clippers) on soft blue background
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Nail clippers and tweezers

Most cosmetic tools like nail clippers and tweezers are dishwasher safe. You can even wash plastic makeup brushes.

french bulldog playing with a chew toy outdoors

Pet toys and bowls

Good news, pet owners. Your furry friend’s toys and food bowl are probably safe to put in the dishwasher (check labels to be sure). We know you’d rather not wash dog slobber by hand anyway.

Blue razor on white bathroom sink
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Razors can get dirty from more than just hair. They also pick up the chemicals in your shaving cream and salts from the water. When you wash them in a dishwasher, use liquid detergent. Tablets can leave grit on the metal. Find out why there can be razor blades in your old walls.

Kitchen cleaning set of multicolored sponges on wood background


Putting sponges in a regular load on the “heated dry” setting, or the hottest cycle your dishwasher has, can kill 99.9 percent of germs. Since sponges can house ten million bacteria per square inch, it’s definitely worth the wash. For more, here’s how to clean a kitchen sponge.