15 Genius Dishwasher Uses for a Cleaner Home Today

If you’re in charge of keeping the kitchen clean, your dishwasher is likely one of your most prized possessions. But the list of potential dishwasher uses includes much more than just cleaning your pots and pans.

Dishwashers deliver the high heat and intense water pressure needed to remove grease and caked-on food. Did you know this same intensity can deep clean many items around your home, too?

15 Innovative Dishwasher Uses You’ve Never Thought to Try

Your dishwasher is a lot more useful than you might realize, but don’t get reckless! On the other hand, there are a lot of dishwasher uses.

But before you start throwing household items into your dishwasher, take a moment to think about the risks. Many manufacturers will explicitly say if you can run an item through the dishwasher. If you can’t find this information, you can normally tell if putting an item in the dishwasher is safe based on the materials.

Regardless of material, you should always handwash sentimental or valuable items. While using your dishwasher can be convenient, it’s not worth the risk.

Now, with that all out of the way, let’s get started:

1. Pet supplies

No one wants to eat off of dirty dishes, hence why dishwashers are so commonplace. But while we wash our own plates after every meal, how many of us do the same for our pets?

Some pet owners like to pre-wash their pet’s dishes before running them through the dishwasher. This isn’t technically necessary but can eliminate that semi-irrational ick factor of mixing dog or cat food with your own dinnerware.

Many pet toys, like the West Paw Zogoflex Hurley Dog Bone Chew Toy, are also dishwasher-safe. Any hard plastic toy can usually be washed on a low-heat setting with no issue.

2. Bath toys

Over time, rubber ducks and other bath toys can accumulate a nasty layer of soap scum. Throwing your child’s hard plastic bath toys into the dishwasher is a great way to sanitize and de-grime them.

Wash bath toys on the top rack of your dishwasher and keep the heat to a minimum. While these toys can withstand moisture and warm temperatures, your dishwasher can get a lot hotter than your kid’s bathwater.

3. Oven mitts and pot holders

Silicone oven mitts and pot holders are great candidates for the dishwasher. A quick cycle on the top rack can remove visible food debris and kill off bacteria you can’t see with the naked eye.

If your oven mitts and pot holders are made of fabric, don’t worry. You can wash these items with your laundry instead.

4. Kitchen appliance parts

Want to play 4D chess with your kitchen cleaning routine? Take those tedious appliance parts and run them through the dishwasher.

Some (but not all) of the kitchen items you can place in the dishwasher include:

  • Exhaust filters
  • Burner covers
  • Refrigerator racks and bins
  • Microwave plates
  • Spoon rests

Handwashing these items is fine. But running them through the dishwasher every few months will sanitize them and really get into those hard-to-reach nooks and crannies.

5. Cosmetic tools

Spas and salons use something called an autoclave to clean and sterilize tools between clients. This device uses extremely high heat to kill off bacteria.

We don’t need to worry as much about the cleanliness of our combs, hairbrushes, nail files, and trimmers at home. Still, running your personal care items through the dishwasher can sanitize and make them look like new.

Tools made of hard plastic and metal can be washed with this method. Avoid putting tools featuring rubber, small removable parts, or natural fiber bristles in the dishwasher.

6. Glass decor

Glass vases and light fixtures can collect a surprising amount of dust. Mix this dust with everyday grime and debris, and a simple feather duster just won’t cut it.

You can safely put most glass decor in your dishwasher for quick, thorough cleaning. As always, use the gentlest setting and place these items on the top rack.

Avoid washing glass decor adorned with paint or decals. The heat and water pressure of your dishwasher will erode these details.

7. Cupholders

If your car or favorite patio chair has a removable cup holder, give it a spin through the dishwasher every now and then. It is a convenient way to wash away sticky residue and built-up dirt.

8. Bathroom accessories

Take a look around your bathroom, and you might be surprised by how many items are dishwasher-friendly. You can wash ceramic, metal, and hard plastic items, including soap dishes, toothbrush holders, and liquid soap dispensers.

Some rubber shower mats can also be placed in the dishwasher to remove soap scum and mildew. Wash bathroom items separate from your dishes to avoid cross-contamination.

9. Sponges and brushes

We tend to view our cleaning supplies as, well, clean. Unfortunately, sponges and scrub brushes harbor an alarming amount of bacteria.

To get the most out of your kitchen sponges and brushes, place them in the dishwasher. You can do this as often as you normally run your dishwasher to kill off germs and remove gross odors.

Steel wool pads can be run through the dishwasher, too.

10. Grill accessories

If you can clean your stove parts in the dishwasher, it makes sense that you can clean your grill accessories as well. Yet, so many people neglect to thoroughly clean their outdoor cooking space.

Spatulas, grates, tongs, and griddles are just a few grill-related items that are much easier to clean in the dishwasher than by hand. Since your dishwasher uses such high heat, hardened grease won’t stand a chance.

Some grills feature cast iron grates and griddles. Treat these pieces the same as you would a cast-iron skillet (in other words, don’t put them in the dishwasher!) Non-cast iron parts and accessories are fair game.

11. Vent covers

Trust us — you don’t want to know what kind of dirt and debris is sitting in your HVAC vents. One way you can help cut down on this build-up is by regularly cleaning your vent covers.

You can wash metal vent covers in the dishwasher on a low heat setting. Make sure to remove and safely set aside all screws and mounting hardware first.

Sadly, vent covers that have been painted should be handwashed only.

12. Vacuum attachments

Another item that can quickly go from clean to filthy with day-to-day use is your vacuum. Any hard plastic attachments, like your vacuum’s crevice tool, can safely go in the dishwasher.

Stick to handwashing attachments featuring soft rubber or fiber bristles. Of course, electric-powered vacuum attachments should never go in the dishwasher.

13. Flowerpots

Flower pots get dirty. So what do you do when you need to sanitize a pot that’s been contaminated by disease or pests? Or if you want to repurpose an old flower pot for a different project?

Ceramic and terra cotta pots can go right in your dishwasher for an easy cleaning solution. You can also wash plastic pots on a low-heat setting in the top rack.

We recommend rinsing away any clumps of soil or fertilizer from the inside before loading up your dishwasher. Handwash any containers featuring paint or other decorations.

14. Trash cans

Your bathroom, bedroom, and office trash cans can be sanitized in your dishwasher. Don’t forget to wash the lids and hard plastic liners, too.

Again, this is one household item you’ll probably want to run through your dishwasher alone. No one wants to know that their dinner plate was washed with the bathroom garbage can.

15. Baseball caps

This is one dishwasher hack that you might be familiar with. However, washing a baseball cap in your dishwasher is not as easy as load-and-go.

First, you should never wash hats with cardboard brim supports in the dishwasher (for obvious reasons). Second, using the wrong detergent on your baseball cap could spell disaster. Many dishwasher detergents contain bleach.

If you check all of those boxes, though, you can absolutely wash a baseball cap in the dishwasher. Wash hats alone in the top rack for the best results.

Dishwasher Uses: Turn Your Dishwasher into a Super-Cleaning Machine

As you can see, your dishwasher can do a lot more than clean cups, plates, and silverware. But for the cleanest home possible, you’ll want to proceed with a few things in mind.

Think carefully about the type of detergent your dishwasher uses. Most household items should be washed with a bleach-free detergent. Lemon-scented dishwashing soap may also damage some items.

Place small items in a dishwasher basket before washing. Failing to do this could mean losing your items or even damaging your dishwasher’s interior.

And, finally, always err on the side of caution when washing non-dishes in your dishwasher. If you’re unsure whether a specific item will make it out of the rinse cycle in one piece, then it’s best to just handwash it.

Are there any other items you clean in the dishwasher that we missed? Let us know your favorite cleaning tips in the comments below!


Dishwasher Stinks and Remedies: How To De-Smell Your Dishwasher

There is nothing worse than opening the door of your machine to put away the evening dishes to find that your dishwasher stinks. It turns your stomach as the vile pong hits you in the face and defiles your nostrils. Furthermore, you wonder if your dishes will come out clean as the stench is so foul.

You may feel uncomfortable putting dirty dishes into a machine that smells so bad, even though you know your dishwasher is working. Will the plates come out clean? Furthermore, if the dishwasher stinks so bad, is it safe to eat off the items you cleaned in there?

Dishwasher Stinks

Picture this if you will. The family has enjoyed their evening meal, and now the dishwasher needs filling. The last thing you want or expect is the horror of dishwasher stinks when you open the door of the machine.

A build-up of food and stale water forms the primary cause of dishwasher smells. Giving your machine a thorough clean and running the machine empty a couple of times can solve the problem. Household products such as vinegar and bicarbonate of soda (baking soda) may also prove useful.

However, sometimes, when a dishwasher stinks, it may be an indicator of a deeper problem. Consequently, you may find that you need a new dishwasher. That’s a huge difference, right? Let’s dig in to see how to tell if it’s just a stink, or something dire.+


Why Does My Dishwasher Stink?

To help eliminate your dishwasher stinks, it helps to understand the causes behind such offensive smells. By understanding the root cause of dishwasher stinks, we may, with any luck, avoid such horrors in the future.

Standing water

One of the causes of dishwasher stinks is water that remains standing in the machine and the pipes. If your dishwasher is past its time, it may not pump out the water as effectively as it once did.

Consequently, the water develops bacteria and becomes stagnant. Furthermore, the stagnant water may encourage mold, which in turn creates an offensive aroma.

Water may also accumulate if you leave the door closed for an excessive amount of time, particularly should you go on vacation. The resultant moisture trapped inside the machine often causes the dishwasher stinks.

Trapped food

We have all opened the door of our dishwashers to find an unpleasant residue in the door lip. Food particles accumulate in the door lip area and begin to rot. Water and detergent mix with the residue to create a vile scum that may stink to high heaven.

Food may also accumulate around the dishwasher arm ports. Also, the dishwasher screens in the base of the machine will trap food particles where it will rot down and cause smelly problems.

Your dishwasher stinks because these trapped food particles break down and generate revolting bacteria, and in turn, that bacteria feeds on the food residue. Consequently, this symbiotic relationship develops into a foul stench

How to Get Rid of Dishwasher Stinks

Now that we understand why and where such odors develop, we may set to work to tackle them. Follow these simple guidelines and tricks, and your dishwasher should return to its clean, stink-free state.

Start with the drain filter

You should find the drain filter located in the base of the dishwasher. After a few uses, the drain becomes clogged with residue. Consequently, this may affect the cleaning efficiency of your machine and result in foul smells.

Start by removing the drain cover and immerse it in hot soapy water. Scrub it thoroughly to remove any scum and food waste until it looks like new. Make sure you use a bristle brush to get into all those hard to reach crevices.

Using a cloth and soapy water, wipe away any sludge that has accumulated in the drain area before you replace the filter.

Give the spray arm a helping hand

Sometimes the holes in the dishwasher arms clog up with food. Consequently, bunged up holes will prevent your dishwasher from cleaning properly and create unwanted dishwasher stinks.

Remove the arms and use something sharp to dislodge any food residue from the holes. A toothpick may prove the perfect tool for this. Make sure all the holes remain free of blockages and run water through the arms to ensure clear passage. Finally, wash the arms in hot soapy water before replacing them inside the dishwasher.

Dive into the dishwasher

Grim and scum may accumulate over time inside the dishwasher itself. Unfortunately, there is nothing for it other than to get into the machine and give it a good clean.

Start by removing the racks and giving them a good clean with warm soapy water. Using a sponge, scrub the interior of the dishwasher to remove any revolting build-ups.

Be thorough. The point of this action is to remove any mold and mildew. Pay particular attention to the door lip as the sludge, which builds up in that area, is repulsive. All of that nasty stuff needs to go.

While the interior may not glisten like new, it should look spotless once you complete this chore. Consequently, dishwasher stinks should be nothing more than an unpleasant memory.

An Important Note

Do not use bleach to clean the interior of your dishwasher. Bleach proves highly corrosive on metallic parts and will cause more harm than good to your machine.

It Doesn’t End There

You have cleaned the interior of your machine. Furthermore, you have scrubbed all the removable parts. However, the job doesn’t end there. Now we move onto a cleaning cycle.

Dishwasher stinks have the habit of lingering. Therefore, the next two stages may return your dishwasher to a satisfactory state.

Household remedies

The next step to eliminate dishwasher stinks is to run your dishwasher empty. However, place a bowl of distilled white vinegar in the bottom of the dishwasher first.

Once complete, run your dishwasher again with a cup full of baking powder in it. Run your machine on a regular cycle.

Vinegar and baking powder form the classic household cleaners of old, and with good reason. They work. Once you have run both cycles, you should find that your machine remains free of dishwasher stinks. No more eye-watering smells to turn your stomach.

Proprietary Products

Alternatively, once you have cleaned the removable parts and the interior of your machine, you may choose to use a bought-in product to run through a cycle.

Dishwasher cleaner and disinfectant serves a few purposes. It will remove any residue you have missed and provide your interior with a deep clean. Additionally, the cleanser will help to remove any build-up of limescale that forms inside the machine and pipes.

Limescale is the bane of dishwashers. It clogs up the nozzles and pipes and makes the machine less efficient. Consequently, it will lead to foul dishwasher stinks.

Dishwasher cleaner can reach the parts of the machine that you cannot get at. Furthermore, it will remove grease build-ups and impart a clean, fresh smell into your dishwasher.

Make it regular

It is worth maintaining a regular limescale routine to keep your dishwasher in optimum condition. Using a limescale remover once a month will help to reduce the risk to your machine and aid with the elimination of those dishwasher stinks.

Use quality dishwasher detergent

Good quality dishwasher detergents will help to prevent dishwasher stinks. Detergents that remove grease and break down food residue may ultimately reduce the smell inside your machine.

You May Need a New Dishwasher

The dishwasher is a modern marvel in our homes. Not only does a dishwasher save you loads of time and proves most convenient, but it also saves on water usage. If you have ever found yourself without one, then you may understand just how useful and essential they are to our households.

However, if your dishwasher stinks, that may indicate your dishwasher needs replacing.

Telltale signs

There are a few things you can look out for to suggest you may need a new dishwasher. We have compiled some of the most common issues for you to consider.

Old age

Perhaps your dishwasher is old and doesn’t clean your dishes as efficiently as it once did. Unfortunately, we cannot find a cure for time, and you may have no choice but to bite the bullet and grab yourself a brand new machine.

Furthermore, older machines may absorb dishwasher stinks, and no amount of scrubbing will remove it.

That rusty feeling

External rust may not be an indicator for the purchase of a new machine. However, internal rust demonstrates that you have a problem.

Limescale and old age results in rust inside the machine. If rust occurs, then the dishwasher is prone to catastrophic failure and leaking. Internal rust is a severe problem as it will cause dishwasher stinks, leaks, and may contaminate your dishes.

That stinking feeling

One of the culprits of dishwasher stinks is water left standing inside the dishwasher. While the problem may result from a food blockage and a build-up of grease, it may also indicate that you need a new machine.

Once you have cleaned your dishwasher, if the problem of standing water in the bottom persists, then the likelihood is that the pump is not working correctly. Consequently, you may wish to consider purchasing a new machine.

Shut that door

Sometimes the mechanism on the door may fail. If this happens, your machine may leak, and those nasty dishwasher stinks may infuse your home with a new aroma. A faulty door is yet another indication that you need a new dishwasher.

Hunting for the Perfect Dishwasher

It may feel a little daunting to hunt through the many brands of dishwasher out there to find the perfect one for your needs. Household appliances are expensive, and you need to ensure you purchase with confidence.

Whether you are looking for small dishwashers or energy-efficient models, the choice is endless. However, we have some brand ideas for you to consider when looking for a new dishwasher.

Kenmore is a trusted brand that produces a selection of dishwashers to suit most budgets. With a choice of finishes and sizes, Kenmore remains an excellent place to start.

Kitchenaid remains a name synonymous with quality. Consequently, their range of dishwashers represents a brand that we may buy into with confidence.

Miele appliances remain renowned for their excellence and value for money.

Dishwasher Stinks Solved

As we have seen, dishwasher stinks originate from several causes. Standing water inside your machine becomes stagnant and create mold and mildew. Limescale may block the pipes and prevent the device from cleaning correctly. Food residue crates a vile scum that feeds dishwasher stinks.

A thorough cleaning of all the removable parts may go some way to reduce dishwasher stinks. Hot soapy water and a little elbow grease applied to the removable parts removes scum and grease.

Getting inside the machine to clean the walls, drain, and door lip will return your dishwasher to a satisfactory state. Dishwasher stinks soon vanish when you apply a little regular dishwasher maintenance.

Use proprietary products to keep the limescale under control and prevent blockages and damage to the dishwasher. Also, good quality dishwasher detergent will break down any build-up of grease and aid with the prevention of dishwasher stinks.

However, you may find that your dishwasher needs replacing. If it leaks, or the stink persists, you may wish to consider purchasing a new machine. Good housekeeping and elbow grease may only get you so far, and older machines may not benefit from your hard work.

If your dishwasher stinks, don’t despair. Follow these simple guidelines and breath a sigh of relief. From vinegar to baking soda, and a little hard work, those noxious smells may soon become a thing of the past.

Author bio

Sean Kerr lives in Cardiff, Wales and is a published author with over 10 novels to his name so far and still counting. As well as writing his next bestseller, Sean also runs a successful Jewelry making business and sells his creations online.