You’d be surprised just how many household items can be given a thorough cleaning in your humble dishwasher.
1. 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.
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.
4. 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.
6. 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.
7. Nail clippers and tweezers
Most cosmetic tools like nail clippers and tweezers are dishwasher safe. You can even wash plastic makeup brushes.
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.
This article first appeared in Reader’s Digest.