25 unusual things you can clean in the dishwasher

There's more to clean than dishes.

Alina Bradford CNET Contributor
Alina Bradford has been writing how-tos, tech articles and more for almost two decades. She currently writes for CNET's Smart Home Section, MTVNews' tech section and for Live Science's reference section. Follow her on Twitter.
Alina Bradford
3 min read
Chris Monroe/CNET

If your dishwasher is just cleaning dishes, then it isn't living up to its potential. There are many things you can safely wash in a dishwasher.

Any of these listed items can go through a "normal" wash cycle, unless otherwise noted.

And, of course, use common sense when cleaning nonconventional items in the dishwasher -- if you plan to clean an item on this list, inspect it for any plastic components that might not withstand the heat of a normal wash cycle.

  1. Silicone oven mitts and trivets: Stick them in every time you do a load to keep them germ-free.
  2. Hubcaps: Yep, that's right. Just add a cup of white vinegar to the detergent you normally use.
  3. Figurines: Get the dust off of figurines by putting them on the top shelf of the dishwasher on a gentle cycle. Don't put delicate or gilded figurines in the dishwasher, though.
  4. Tools: Wrenches, pliers and screwdrivers tend to get a sticky, greasy feel to them. Put them in the dishwasher on the hottest cycle with your normal detergent.
  5. Toys: Putting toys in the dishwasher will not only de-goo them, it will also sanitize them.
  6. Flip-flops: Put them on the top shelf for the best results.
  7. Rubber boots: Put them upside down on the bottom rack to remove grime. Just make sure to wipe off any large areas of mud first.
  8. Hairbrushes: Remove the hair from the brush by running a wide-tooth comb through it and put the hairbrush in the silverware cup.
  9. Combs: Throw your heat-safe combs in the silverware cup, too.
  10. Makeup brushes: Clean these on a low setting, so as not to melt the glue that holds the brush hairs together.
  11. Ball caps: To help keep the cap's shape, put it on a coffee can before sticking it in the dishwasher. Also, make sure your dishwashing detergent doesn't have bleach in it before you start the load.
  12. Kitchen brushes and sponges: Pop these in the silverware cup for a like-new clean.
  13. Light fixture covers: There's no reason why you need to dust. Just pop them off and put them in the dishwasher on a gentle cycle.
  14. Coffee maker: Turn the coffee maker upside down and use a gentle cycle. Make sure it dries completely before you plug it back in.
  15. Golf balls: Put your golf balls in a mesh sack and put them on the bottom shelf.
  16. Contact lens cases: Put them in the silverware bin to sanitize them at least every month or so.
  17. Dog toys: Most dog toys are top-rack only.
  18. Mouth guards: Keep your athlete healthy by sanitizing his mouth guard every day on the top shelf of the dishwasher.
  19. Grill rack: Make sure you use your hottest setting to get off the grime.
  20. Dog collar: Put it on the top shelf to get it looking like new.
  21. Keys: If your baby likes to stick your keys in her mouth, slide the keyring around one of the pegs in the top rack and run a load to kill germs before they make their way into baby's mouth. Just make sure to take the electronic keys off the ring first.
  22. Shower puff: Your shower puff can get gross if it isn't cleaned regularly. Put it on the top rack during a gentle cycle.
  23. Hair ties: If your elastics are getting a little grungy, pop them in the bottom of your silverware cup and hold them down with a spoon so they don't fly out during the wash cycle.
  24. Fingernail clippers: Fingernail clippers can be washed in the silverware cup. Just make get them good and dry to prevent rust.
  25. Hair trimmer guards: The plastic guards for your electric hair trimmer can be put in a mesh bag and thrown in the top rack to remove bits of hair and oils for the scalp.