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15 Things You Never Knew You Could Put in the Dishwasher

Boots, toys, potatoes—all are dishwasher safe.

Lego blocks - plastic construction toy -manufactured by The Lego Group based in Billund, Denmark - illustrative editorialTwin Design/Shutterstock

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. Just make sure you don’t put any of these things in your dishwasher, by the way.

Flip flops on wooden tableLeszek Czerwonka/Shutterstock

Flip flops

Hook dirty flip flops into the top rack so they stay in place during high water pressure cycles. This is how to clean out a moldy dishwasher.

hairbrushesAfrica Studio/Shutterstock


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. 

Charlotte potatoes background which are a popular early variety potatoTony Baggett/Shutterstock


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. Here are some other surprising things your dishwasher can do.


Rain boots

Even rain boots deserve a good rinse once in a while. Remove the liners and lay them down horizontally.

White open empty refrigerator. Weight loss diet concept.Andrew Rafalsky/Shutterstock

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. Before loading these things in there, make sure you’re not making any of these dishwasher loading mistakes.

Top view, colorful felt pens on dark wooden table. Toned photo, shallow depth of field.Milos Vucicevic/Shutterstock


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.

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.

Close up shot of set of multicolored toothbrushes in glass on clean toilet on white background, concept dental.Bilanol/Shutterstock

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. Also, avoid these cleaning mistakes that are making your home dirtier.

Man cutting his nails using nail clipperTitikul_B/Shutterstock

Nail clippers and tweezers

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

Pug playing in the grass with a chew toyMeriluxa/Shutterstock

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. If you’re not sure how often to throw these items in the dishwasher, here’s how often you should be cleaning everything in your house.



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.

Kitchen cleaning set sponge background, vintage kitchenSunCity/Shutterstock


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 10 million bacteria per square inch, it’s definitely worth the wash. Your dishwasher isn’t the only appliance that can clean, check out these surprising things you can clean in your washing machine.