Sure, your dishwasher can clean through stuck-on food and steam dishes until they’re dry and warm. Your dishwasher, however, can also do so much more. If having a dishwasher is a deal-breaker for you whenever you move into a new house or apartment, prepare to be even more devoted than ever. This machine can do so much more—think of it really as a sanitizing machine.
Clean Kids and Pet Toys
Oh, kids and pets. The joys of every day life aka the reason your house can never seem to stay clean. Both of these little ones toys can be a hotbed for germs, dirt and bacteria. Plastic toys can be washed easily on a normal dishwasher cycle. For small toys (think: building blocks), consider putting the toys in a mesh bag first. And don’t try to wash pet toys that have rope, hide or fabric in the dishwasher, but instead throw them in with the laundry.
Keep in mind, this can be very handy if your child has been sick. The cold, flu and stomach virus can linger for days or even weeks afterward. Don’t risk a rebound illness, pop these in your dishwasher for rinsing and sterilizing.
Rinse Your Garden Haul
After a trip to your garden or local farmers market, instead of washing the dirt of each individual fruit and vegetable in your bounty, lay them in the clean washer and run a cold-water cycle without any soap. If you’ve just run a heavy cycle with dish soap you may want to do a quick rinse before sticking your food inside. Keep in mind that fragile or delicate foods will need to be as far away from the spinning arm as possible and you may want to just lean on this wash method for heavier, bulkier items like potatoes and root vegetables.
Make Household Items Like New
Dirt and grime naturally crawls over your entire house. Sticky vent fans, dingy light fixtures and even dusty vases—all of these items can be stuck in a quick wash to remove dust, grime and other layers that have settled over time. Be careful of heirloom items or thin glass or anything that is not dishwasher safe, but we bet you have a handful of items you can run through the dishwasher instead of using your time to hand wash. Use the gentle cycle and make sure to space items apart so they don’t rattle or bump into one another since household items are often more delicate than our dish ware.
Extend The Life of Your Kitchen Sponge
Ready to your sponge last so much longer than before? The dishwasher can help! Instead of microwaving your sponge (which you can do for 60 seconds on high), place the sponge in your next load that will end in a sanitizing cycle. The hot water and temps will kill lingering bacteria and make the sponge safe to use again. If the sponge is small, or the openings in your dishwasher trays are large, consider putting it in the silverware basket so it doesn’t fly around during the wash.
Make Dirty Shoes Shine
Rubber shoes like flip-flops, rain boots and water shoes can be easily washed in your dishwasher. Canvas-topped sneakers with rubber soles can be safely washed in there too. For added odor-busting measure, sprinkle a bit of baking soda inside your shoe the night before you plan to wash. Knock out any excess right before to remove any lingering residue and stick those shoes right where your water glasses usually go. To prevent water pooling, place these shoes horizontal to the dishwasher’s spraying arms. Don’t run the drying cycle and instead put the shoes in a warm place to dry out (think: in your sunniest window, near your laundry room dryer, etc) It may take several days to completely dry, but they’ll be like new again—or at least better than before.
Pro tip: Make sure your dishwasher is clean before starting this sanitization journey.