Anyone who ever wasted hours standing in front of a sink scrubbing filthy flatware knows what a lifesaver a dishwasher can be. These magical little machines cut down on one of the nation’s most hated household chores.
There are things you should never put in the dishwasher and then there are things you didn’t know could go in the dishwasher. But did you know that your favorite kitchen appliance can even help you accomplish some everyday household tasks?
Read on for the most surprising tasks you didn’t know your dishwasher could do.
1. Sanitize your toothbrush
Your toothbrush hosts somewhere around 100 million bacteria, including E. coli and staphylococci. Even the plaque you’re brushing off your teeth contains bacteria.
The best way to clean yours? Throw it in the dishwasher. Scalding water temperatures of 140 degrees Fahrenheit are enough to annihilate gross bacteria lurking on your toothbrush without buying a new one.
Next: Clean car parts
2. Clean car parts
Shining up your hubcaps doesn’t require hours of scrubbing by hand — instead, pop them in the dishwasher and let it do all the work. Add a cup of white vinegar to abolish grit and grime in a hurry. You can also put lug nuts in a mesh bag to clean those at the same time.
Next: Freshen up your sneakers
3. Freshen up your sneakers
Cleaning sneakers isn’t easy — unless, of course, you use the dishwasher. Most canvas, rubber-soled sneakers can be put in the dishwasher to get them looking like new again.
Next: Steam vegetables
4. Steam vegetables
No double oven? No problem. When you’re cooking dinner for a crowd and you need a little assistance on the side dishes, try making tightly wrapped foil packs of vegetables and putting them in the dishwasher. Carrots, broccoli, and sweet and white potatoes are just some examples you could try.
Next: Clean your keyboard
5. Clean your keyboard
It might seem a little crazy to clean electronics in the dishwasher, but some experts say it’s a good way to effectively remove all the built-up dirt and germs from your keyboard.
Be warned that this should be a last resort. But if you’re willing to give the dishwasher a try, wash the keyboard alone with no soap and don’t use hot water. Air dry your keyboard for a few days to ensure all the moisture has been removed.
Next: Rinse fruit and veggies
6. Rinse fruit and veggies
Hand-washing your fresh produce purchases can take time, but it’s necessary to remove residual dirt and toxins. Save yourself the effort and place fruits and vegetables in the dishwasher on a cold cycle with no soap. Keep delicate items, such as tomatoes, on the top rack to protect them from damage and put your hardy buys, like potatoes, down below.
Next: Keep food warm
7. Keep food warm
Fancy new ovens sometimes have warmer drawers which are designed to keep your food warm. But even if you don’t have one, you can use your dishwasher for the same purpose.
To keep that tuna casserole nice and warm, set your dishwasher to dry cycle with no water and place the dish on the top rack. Your meal will stay the proper temperature until you’re ready to serve it.
Next: Poach salmon
8. Poach salmon
You could get fancy with elaborate dishwasher meals (just make sure everything is tightly sealed), or you could go simple with a basic poached salmon entrée. Wrap the salmon in foil and run your dishwasher on a regular cycle for a perfectly cooked piece of fish.
Next: Warm dishes
9. Warm dishes
Ever notice how fancy restaurants serve your hot food on warm plates? That’s to keep your meal from getting prematurely cold while you’re enjoying it. Serve your next meal like the pros by using your dishwasher’s warming setting with the dinner dishes before you plate the food.
Next: Ripen an avocado
10. Ripen an avocado
Catching an avocado at the perfect moment is tricky — but your dishwasher may be able to help. While patience and a paper bag are your best options for ripening avocados, you can wrap one up and run it through a soap-less cycle of the dishwasher to soften it up quickly.
Next: Disinfect makeup brushes
11. Disinfect makeup brushes
The amount of bacteria on your makeup brushes is disturbing, but who can afford to replace them every few months? Instead of dropping cash on brand new brushes all the time, try running your makeup tools through the dishwasher to eliminate germs and built-up makeup residue.
Next: Cook a casserole
12. Cook a casserole
There are lots of foods you can prepare in the dishwasher if you seal them up tightly. Cook a lasagna by running the dishwasher on a normal cycle and opting for the heated dry and sanitize options for extra heat.
Plus, it’s pretty cool to tell all your friends that you’re eating dishwasher prepared foods.
Next: Dry dishes
13. Dry dishes
Not all plates can withstand the dishwasher, but even your most delicate dishes can be dried quickly when you use the dry cycle. Use this option instead of stacking them all precariously on the edge of the sink.
Next: Dust off fake flowers
14. Dust off fake flowers
High-quality fake flowers might fool your houseguests, but not if they’ve got a thick layer of dust on them. Scrub those leaves and petals quickly by placing the whole arrangement in the dishwasher.
Next: Remove mold from bath toys
15. Remove mold from bath toys
Inevitably, your collection of bath toys is bound to get moldy. But instead of tossing the lot and starting over, just add them to your dishwasher load to get a clean as new appearance — and no more gross mold.
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