By Chef Alli on January 28, 2022

20 Items You Didn’t Know You Could Put in the Dishwasher

My dishwasher is not just for dishes anymore at my house! I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been shocked by how grimy an everyday item was until after I unloaded it from the dishwasher.

I find it convenient to combine dinnerware with various household items from that need cleaned or sanitized. However, when it comes to shoes and vacuum attachments, I draw the line. These items get their own separate cycle, followed by a hot rinse cycle to be sure my dishwasher is completely clean before loading dishes. 

Keep in mind that the top rack of the dishwasher is the safest place for all items since it is further away from the bottom heating element. When the heating element is activated for the drying cycle, it gets incredibly hot and fragile items can warp or melt. I always opt for the top rack unless the item won’t fit. 

Remember that certain items should never find their way into the dishwasher (anything wooden or cast iron).  Electrical items should also never go into the dishwasher.

Below is a list of items that can be washed and sanitized in the dishwasher. Happy cleaning! 

1. Small Toys and Baby Items 

Any toys that kiddos play with are usually loaded with germs, so why not sanitize them in the dishwasher? Most anything that goes into a baby’s mouth, such as teething rings, pacifiers, rattles, etc., can be sanitized in the dishwasher. Add these items to the utensil basket if they will fit or use a mesh bag to contain them. 

2. Flip Flops and Jelly Shoes 

Is your favorite pair of shower shoes looking a little sad? Fix them up with a quick clean in the dishwasher. Nearly any type of summer shoe (flip flops, jelly shoes, Crocs or shower shoes) come out looking almost new. 

3. Silk Flowers 

Bring your silk flowers back to life by running them through a dishwasher cycle. Dust and grime can settle in, diminishing their pretty colors. If the flowers are still damp after a dishwasher cycle, they will air dry once you place them back into the arrangement. You can also wrap the silk flowers in paper towels to absorb the moisture. 

silk flowers

4. Microwave Turntables 

Microwave spills are inevitable, especially if teenagers are cooking. I throw my turntable right into the dishwasher to get it sparkling again.

5. Silicone Kitchen Tools 

If you’re a fan of silicone kitchen tools like I am, you may already know the best and easiest way to clean them is the dishwasher. Nearly any silicone trivet, oven mitt, spoon rest, muffin pan or utensil holder can go right into the dishwasher. All silicone kitchen tools wash great in the dishwasher because they are made to withstand high temperatures. 

6. Kitchen Sponges 

Kitchen sponges harbor a ton of germs! Deep clean sponges in the dishwasher to kill all bacteria. It’s important to sanitize sponges every couple of days, something that many cooks don’t realize.  

7. Fridge Shelves and Bins

Your dishwasher can make short work of cleaning refrigerator shelves and bins. While they sanitize in the dishwasher, the rest of the fridge is easier to wipe down because the shelves and bins are not in your way. 

8. Cupboard and Drawer Pull Handles 

If the hardware handles and knobs in your kitchen are grimy, place them in a mesh bag and put it on the top rack of your dishwasher. Be careful, cleaning handles and knobs in the dishwasher can take their finish right off. 

9. Pet Items 

Go ahead and run pet items, like synthetic collars and leashes, food and water bowls and plastic and rubber toys through a dishwasher cycle.

Dog and Cat

10. Vacuum Attachments

We need to clean items we clean with. There may be nothing in our homes dirtier than our vacuum attachments. Go ahead and run the attachments through a deep-clean dishwasher cycle. Don’t forget to add your dustpan to the same load when you’re washing the vacuum attachments. 

11. Exhaust Fans and Vent Covers

Is your bathroom exhaust fan looking a bit dusty? And your metal vent covers, same thing? Dust can hamper air flow, so it’s important to remove it on a regular basis. Make cleaning easy by popping non-electrical parts and any metal items into the dishwasher. They come out shiny and looking brand new. 

12. Switch Plates and Light Fixture Globes 

Sometimes I’m amazed how dirty all our switch plates can be. Additionally, I don’t look up very often, and I feel embarrassed when I spy how many dead bugs are laying in the bottom of my light globes. Make short work of cleaning these items via the dishwasher.

13. Fan Blades and Cover 

Boy, do fan blades and fan cages get dirty or what? Unscrew the outer cover and place the fan on the top rack of the dishwasher to clean. 

14. Office Accessories

Small items don’t have to be cleaned by hand. Glass paperweights, phone easels, plastic or metal pencil cups and organizers all do great when run through a hot dishwasher cycle. 

office accessories

15. Bathroom Accessories

Small trash bins, soap dishes, toothbrushes and holders and denture containers all come out of the dishwasher sparkling clean. 

16. Bathing and Nail Accessories 

Loofahs and long-handled back scrubbers love a quick, hot bath in the dishwasher. Manicure and pedicure tools quickly become bacteria-and-fungus-free after a good go in the dishwasher. 

17. Metal Fixtures 

Clogged shower heads and sink faucets leave the dishwasher shiny and clean once again.

18. Sports Equipment

Protective gear such as shin guards can be made odor and bacteria free after a deep-clean in the dishwasher. Sanitize other rubber sporting equipment like mouth guards in the dishwasher, too.

19. Golf Balls 

Even golf balls benefit from a hot wash cycle; place them in the dishwasher basket or directly into the silverware and utensil compartment. 

golf balls

20. Gardening Tools 

Give gardening tools a good blast in the dishwasher to remove built-up dirt and grime. It’s important to always wash garden tools in a cycle by themselves; they may have traces of fertilizer on them. 

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  • Chef Alli

    Chef Alli is a wife, mom and chef. She's been stirring up a love of farm fresh cooking for more than a decade.  To see more of Alli's recipes, go to