13 things you never knew you could put in the dishwasher

Small plastic toys

Germs can linger on your kids’ toys for months. Disinfect them by putting them in a mesh lingerie bag on the top shelf of your dishwasher. Then just let the normal cycle run.

Flip flops

Hook dirty flip flops into the top rack so they stay in place during high water pressure cycles.


Your hairbrush can hold almost 3,500 colonies of bacteria, according to University of Arizona research. Remove any stray hairs and drop your brush in the silverware tray for a thorough cleanse. Remember: Only plastic brushes or combs. Wooden or boar-bristle brushes will get ruined.


Making mashed potatoes for your next big family gathering? Cut your preparation time and wash your spuds on a rinse-only cycle – no detergent! – on the top shelf.

Gum boots

Even gum boots deserve a good rinse once in a while. Remove the liners and lay them down horizontally.

Refrigerator shelves

Between leaking meat juices and spilled food, your fridge can get really gross really fast. Instead of scrubbing every last inch clean, throw those shelves in with your other dishes.


When it comes to cleaning, common desk items like penholders and trays for scrap paper often get overlooked. If they’re metal or plastic, toss them in your next dishwasher load.

Stove knobs

These are probably the last things you think of cleaning in your kitchen, but they can get dirty quickly. If they’re removable, throw them in the silverware tray.

Bathroom stuff

Your bathroom is a haven for bacteria, from soap dishes to bathtub drain plugs to toothbrush holders. Luckily, all of them can be cleaned on the top rack with your other dishes.

Nail clippers and tweezers

Most cosmetic tools like nail clippers and tweezers are dishwasher safe. You can even wash plastic makeup brushes.

Pet toys and bowls

Good news, pet owners. Your furry friend’s toys and food bowl are probably safe to put in the dishwasher (check labels to be sure). We know you’d rather not wash dog slobber by hand anyway.


Razors can get dirty from more than just hair. They also pick up the chemicals in your shaving cream and salts from the water. When you wash them in a dishwasher, use liquid detergent. Tablets can leave grit on the metal.


Putting sponges in a regular load on the “heated dry” setting, or the hottest cycle your dishwasher has, can kill 99.9 percent of germs. Since sponges can house 10 million bacteria per square inch, it’s definitely worth the wash.