Your dishwasher is already amazing enough, bearing the brunt of the washing-up duties after everything from lazy family brunches to grandiose dinner parties. But it can do more than just clean your dinner plates, dishes and cutlery. The tried-and-tested appliance can also handle these 20 unexpected jobs, many of which will make your life both simpler and more spotless at the touch of a button.
20. Scour your vacuum’s attachments
Sometimes, your cleaning equipment needs a scrub itself. This truth applies to your vacuum: with all of the dust, dander and dirt that it hoovers up, some is bound to get trapped in the hose and brushes. So, you might want to rid your appliance of this unwanted detritus, and your dishwasher can help do the job thoroughly.
First, pluck any large lumps of muck from your appliance’s attachments. Then, remove the top rack of the dishwasher, so you can fit in all of the removable pieces. Finally, pop in a detergent tablet and run a cool rinse cycle to quickly clean out your hoses, brushes and any other detachable vacuum pieces.
19. Wash your plant pots – and protect your greens from infection
According to website statista.com, more than 33 million American households cultivated a houseplant in 2019. That’s more than 10 percent of the country’s entire population. And that huge number of people may not realize that their dishwasher can make their gardening pursuits easier and more successful, especially if they’ve had plants die of diseases that attack foliage.
Firstly, plant parents will have to remove any lumps of dirt from their toughened plastic or terracotta pots. Then, they can pop them into the dishwasher for a thorough cleaning. This is a must-do if the pot’s previous resident died of plant disease: the hot water will sanitize away any lingering residue that could damage your next piece of foliage.
18. Scrub rain boots and flip flops
Some shoes gather a lot more dirt and grime than others. Take, for instance, your rain boots, which you wear when it’s pouring or when you know the ground beneath you will be muddy and soggy. Then, there are flip-flops: you wear them everywhere, so they can get a bit grubby, too.
You can refresh both of these hard-working items of footwear with the help of your dishwasher. Remove any fabric liners from your rain boots before laying them horizontally in the dishwasher. Place flip-flops on the top rack, securing them in place by hooking them onto the spikes. Interestingly enough, this clean cycle won’t work for Crocs, so wash those shoes separately from your dishwasher-safe footwear.
17. Cook salmon
The instructions for preparing salmon in the dishwasher are simple. You can’t use any soap, and you shouldn’t fill the rest of the space with dirty crockery. You’ll have to stop the appliance from releasing any of its drying agent, too. Lastly, you can’t sneak a look inside the dishwasher while the salmon cooks.
What you will do is put salmon filet into a piece of tinfoil alongside a sprig of rosemary and half a lemon. Then, you’ll wrap the packet tightly and place it onto the top rack. Set the appliance to run with hot water and a heated dry cycle. And, with that, you’ll have a deliciously steamed piece of salmon.
16. Cook eggs
Boiling an egg to perfection on the stove is an art form. If you can’t seem to manage to cook a soft-boiled egg to your satisfaction, though, you can try letting your dishwasher do the work for you. All you have to do is pop one into a jar, fill it with water and close the lid so that it’s airtight.
Then, put the sealed jar into the dishwasher and make sure it won’t topple or open up mid-wash cycle. Avoid an eco-friendly or cool program, opting for the normal or extra-strength option. The former should produce a soft-boiled egg at the end, while the latter will give you a hard-boiled one.
15. Effectively dust your air vents
Your air vents breathe heat into your home in winter and the perfect chill into summertime spaces. And yet, with all this activity, dust and dander manage to pile up inside of your slats. Some of that debris then gets stuck to the grates that cover your ducts, too, and it can be tough to remove it.
Of course, you could dust each individual slat of your air vent cover. But it’d be a much easier task if you pop the grates into the dishwasher. They’re metal, so durable enough to withstand the normal cleaning cycle. And, when they emerge, they’ll be sparkling clean and ready to guide heat and air-conditioning into your abode.
14. Sanitize your sponges
Your sponge does it all. It cleans plates, wipes down counters and scours pots and pans. After all that, though, who cleans the sponge? The answer to that question is now the dishwasher. According to Good Housekeeping magazine, this method kills 99.9 percent of germs on your go-to kitchen cleaner.
You can pop a sponge in with the rest of your dirty dishes – tuck it into the cutlery basket for safe keeping. After a normal cycle and a heated drying session, it’ll be sanitized and ready for more cleaning. Just make sure the dishwasher reaches 155°F to kill all of those kitchen germs.
13. Steam veggies
Perhaps you’re preparing a big meal and have limited hob space. Or, you have yet to perfect the art of steaming vegetables. You might not have a steamer tray in your kitchen, either. Whatever the reason, you need to heat your produce healthily – and your dishwasher can help with that.
Chop your veggies of choice, place them into a mason jar and pour a cup of water over the top. Then, you just have to seal the jar shut and place it on the top rack of the dishwasher. After a normal wash cycle, you’ll have a perfectly steamed side dish for your dinner – and a clean set of plates on which to serve it.
12. Clean your computer keyboard
We spend hundreds of dollars on our computers… and then we eat our meals directly over their keyboards. So, not only are there food crumbs between your keys, but also dust and other dirt, too. You can do a quick clean with a wipe, but, for a more thorough cleanse, chuck your keyboard into the dishwasher.
Obviously, you’ll want to disconnect all of the wires from your keyboard. Then, put it into the dishwasher without any soap. Run it through a cooler wash cycle and let the keys dry out for up to three days. After that, you’ll have a refreshed, sanitized place to type… or tray for your lunch crumbs.
11. Wash your car parts
Okay, you can’t get your entire vehicle into the dishwasher – but if you could, the appliance would probably scour it to a shine. What you can do is throw your car accessories in for a wash cycle and spruce them up. There’s a long list of suitable auto-related items that will survive a dishwasher session, too.
Start with the obvious contenders, such as your car’s cup holders or its rubber floor mats. In the case of the latter, you’ll have to shake out any dirt or debris before chucking them in the dishwasher. Once that’s done, try sending your vehicle’s hubcaps through a wash cycle – and watch as your kitchen appliance doubles as a carwash.
10. Rinse sweat and bacteria from sporting equipment
Let’s say your child plays football. For practices and matches, they have to wear protective pads as well as a mouth guard, all of which protect them from the bumps and bruises that come with a contact sport. When you get home from their next game, throw it all in the dishwasher.
Stick the mouth guard into the cutlery holder, and slide shin guards and other padding into the plate racks. After a wash cycle, everything will be sweat- and bacteria-free and ready for the next game. The dishwasher works for other sports equipment, too: for example, you can wash golf balls in there, too.
9. Keep kids’ toys germ-free
Children aren’t known for being the cleanest creatures. Even their most cherished toys are put through the wringer – and gather lots of germs along the way. With soft toys, it’s easy to throw them in the washing machine for a refresh. But hard, plastic toys can be a bit more tedious to hand-clean.
There’s no need to sanitize your children’s plastic toys by hand anymore. Instead, you can line them up on the top rack of your dishwasher and put them through a germ-killing wash cycle. The same goes for bath toys, which should be refreshed monthly, at the very least.
8. Bake a lasagna – seriously
The sacred family lasagna recipe probably has very particular cooking instructions, and none of them mention the use of a dishwasher. However, after you layer your pasta, sauce, cheese and meat, you can forego a traditional oven session and try cooking your favorite pasta dish in a new way.
You just have to wrap your pasta dish tightly in foil before baking it in the dishwasher. You’ll also want to skip the rinse cycle – simply pop it onto the top rack for a heated dry cycle. After that, you can open the door and pull out a perfectly steamed Italian dinner.
7. Scrub potatoes and rinse produce
Preparing a big meal requires lots of work beforehand; surprisingly, your dishwasher can help you with some of it. If you need to scrub potatoes, for example, you can stick all of your spuds on the top rack of your appliance. Then, run a detergent-free rinse cycle to cleanse your tubers without any elbow grease.
You can do the same with the rest of your produce when you bring it home from the grocery store. Even delicate items such as peaches will survive a quick rinse on the top rack and, just like that, you’ll have washed all of your fruit and veggies: time to eat!
6. Cleanse your makeup and hair brushes
Experts say that you should wash your makeup brushes at least once a week. Chances are, you don’t cleanse yours that regularly, however. Your dishwasher can keep you up-to-date with your cleaning, though, as it makes the task far less tedious for you.
All you have to do is pour your soap of choice into the detergent compartment, then add up to ten milliliters of bleach into its designated spot. Place makeup brushes – as well as nail clippers and plastic hair brushes – into the dishwasher. Then, run them all through a normal wash cycle for a simple, thorough sanitizing session.
5. Wash baseball caps – without morphing their shape
If you’ve ever worn a baseball cap on a sunny day, you know what happens next – your head will start to sweat. And those droplets end up inside of your headwear, which makes it smell less than sweet. Unfortunately, though, you can’t toss baseball caps into the washing machine or they’ll lose their rigidity.
So, rather than pulling bent baseball caps out of your washing machine, try a new method for sanitizing them. Place them onto the top rack of the dishwasher and let the appliance gently cleanse them. When the cycle finishes, your headgear will have maintained its shape but none of that unsavory smell.
4. Keep dinner warm
Perhaps you’re the culinary mastermind behind a huge dinner party or family feast. One of the biggest struggles you’ll have is timing all of your prep. Once you finish your first round of cooking and baking, some plates might go cold while you heat the rest of your menu.
Luckily, you have your dishwasher on your side: it can double as a warming drawer while you finish cooking. Place cooked food onto the top rack of the appliance, and set it to a heated dry cycle – no rinsing allowed. It’ll keep your food at the perfect temperature until it’s time to eat.
3. Refresh silk flowers
Something as soft and delicate as a silk flower doesn’t seem like a dishwasher-friendly item. Yet even if it’s not printed on the faux bloom’s stem, you can probably toss it onto the top rack for a rinse. And, if you’ve ever tried dusting one of them down, you’re probably willing to forego such an enervating task.
You just need to put your silk flowers onto the top rack of your dishwasher, but don’t add anything else: no detergent is necessary to clean these blooms. Instead, a moderate cycle will be enough to remove the dust, and, once they’re dry, your blossoms will look brand new.
2. Clean itself with a bit of Kool-Aid
Your dishwasher’s job is to clean your crockery and cutlery. It regularly fills itself with soap and hot water and yet it still gets a bit messy itself. Yes, your appliance can gather limescale deposits and rust stains, which you might want to clean out; oddly enough, Kool-Aid can do the trick.
You’ll have to pick up a packet of unsweetened Kool-Aid lemonade: that’s the only flavor that has the limescale-fighting power you’ll need. Pour the contents of the pack into the detergent dispenser, then flip on your appliance and run it on any one of its cycles. With that, the build-up should disappear – and you’ll have a lemony fresh dishwasher.
1. Ripen a stubborn avocado
We’ve all struggled to time the ripening of our avocadoes. They feel solid for days and then poof – they’re mushy and inedible. However, with the help of your dishwasher, you can avoid this unfortunate series of events next time you bring home the pitted green fruits.
Put as many avocadoes as you need onto the top rack of your dishwasher. Then, turn the appliance onto its normal cycle and let it run for just ten minutes. After that’s done, your fruit will be ready – flaunting that soft, buttery texture you want, all thanks to your dishwasher.