14 Things You Didn’t Know You Could Wash in the Dishwasher

Updated: Mar. 22, 2024

No, you can't wash your cat in the dishwasher. But, here are 10 things you may not know that you can!

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Dirty Appliance Knobs
Ishtvan Rishko/Shutterstock

Appliance Knobs

You would never let your appliance knobs get this dirty, but if you ever have to clean up someone else’s mess, pop off those knobs and run them through the dishwasher. While the knobs are off, it’s much easier to wipe down the surface of the appliance to get it really clean.

When you have appliances that need repair, here are our top 10 tips to review before you get started.

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Terra Cotta Pots Dishwasher

Terra Cotta Pots

Some gardeners like a weathered patina on their clay pots, but if you don’t clean your pots between plantings, diseases and pests can ride along and harm your new plants. Terra-cotta pots and saucers can be washed in the dishwasher on a gentle cycle. This gets them ready for your new plantings.

Have you been looking for new ideas for your flowering pots? Check out 10 of our favorite plants for container gardens.

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safety glasses in dishwasher

Safety Glasses

Toss your safety glasses into the top rack of your dishwasher after a messy project. Smudges, sunscreen and sweat will disappear with no effort. Next, check out our go-to list of DIY safety gear we think all DIYers should have.

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Wash plastic hair tools like combs in the silverware tray of your dishwasher. Also, solid plastic brushes can be washed in the dishwasher.

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Dirty Dust Pan Wood Shavings saw dust
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Dirty Dust Pan

Whether you’ve swept your workshop, garage or kitchen floor, the dustpan ends up dirty. Of course, you can wipe it off or hose it down, but you can also pop it into the dishwasher. This is especially helpful if you’ve swept up anything sticky or gooey.

Have people accused you of being a neat freak? If so, you’ll love these 11 ways to keep your workshop neat and tidy.

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Microwave Turntable

Treat your microwave turntable like a regular glass dinner plate and place it in the bottom rack of your dishwasher to get it squeaky clean.

If you’re doing these things, you’re loading your dishwasher all wrong.

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bathroom fan vent grilles
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Vent Grilles

You can brush off or vacuum vent grilles, but the best way to get them thoroughly clean is to run them through the dishwasher. Most grilles just pop out or have a couple of screws holding them in place.

If you’ve ever had a rattling vent grille or other annoying house noise keep you up at night, check out these 23 annoying noises and how to eliminate them forever.

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clean cup holders in car
Pakpoom Phummee/Shutterstock

Plastic Car Accessories

Crusty car accessories clean up really well in the dishwasher. You know how sticky the cup holders and little change tray can get, right? Usually you can easily pop these plastic inserts out, run them through a gentle cycle and they come out looking like new.

Want that professionally detailed look but don’t want to pay the big price? Here are 46 DIY car detailing tips and tricks that you can do yourself.

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HH disinfect legos in dishwasher
Family Handyman


Children’s toys are a breeding ground for germs. A dishwasher does quick work of disinfecting toys that are washable, like Legos. To quickly clean Legos:

  1. Drop the Legos in a laundry bag to keep them contained.
  2. Run your dishwasher as usual.
  3. But, remove the Legos before the drying cycle, letting them air dry completely on a towel.

If your kids have outgrown their Legos, check out this DIY Lego keychain you can make with the classic toys.

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Kitchen Sponge

Kitchen Sponge

If your kitchen sponge looks like this, please throw it away right now! You can’t expect any more from a sponge than this. However, if your sponge still has good days ahead and is just stained from tomato sauce or has gotten a little funky smelling, run it through the dishwasher to freshen it right up. This is how often you should toss your kitchen sponge.

If it’s actually the dishwasher itself that smells bad, here’s how to get rid of the smell in four easy steps.

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Vacuum Attachments
Golik Alexander/Shutterstock

Vacuum Attachments

Vacuum attachments come in handy when you’re deep cleaning nooks and crannies. During this heavy-duty work, those tools can get really dirty. You could rinse them off in the sink and set them out to dry, but it’s much easier to put them in the top rack of your dishwasher and turn on a gentle cycle. Voilá! Just like new.

When your vacuum loses suction power, check to see if it’s clogged before taking it in for repairs. Here are three simple ways to clear out a clogged vacuum.

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Ceiling Glass Light Fixtures

Glass Light Fixtures

You wash glasses and other dishes made of glass in your dishwasher all the time, so why not wash dirty glass light fixture globes and shades there as well? Stained glass and anything antique or one-of-a-kind should be hand-washed, of course.

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Bathroom Waste Basket garbage can

Bathroom Waste Basket

In many bathrooms, the wastebasket sits right next to the toilet. Let’s just say that’s not prime real estate and the small can should probably get washed from time to time. When you’re running a gentle load with your light fixtures and vent grilles on the top rack, put that little trash can on the bottom and it’ll come out nice and clean. Check out these 21 things you’ve probably never cleaned (but really should!)

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plastic baby toys
Michael Dechev/Shutterstock

Plastic Baby Toys

Baby toys are often in the baby’s mouth or on the floor. Not a good combination. Place all-plastic toys in the mesh bag or plastic dishwasher basket and run the through a normal cycle. This will disinfect the toys and make you feel a little better the next time that little one is chomping on their orange plastic donut. Now that you know how to keep those toys clean, here are 12 awesome ideas for how to store them.