12 Surprising Things You Can Wash in the Dishwasher

Not including babies.

There's nothing we love more than cleaning hacks. And the easier the better too! So you can probably imagine how excited we were by Today's roundup of the most surprising items you can clean right into the ol' dishwasher—after your plates and glasses of course.

From golf balls to baseball caps, see below for 12 of the most mind-blowing things you can safely wash in your dear friend, the dishwasher.

baby crawling out of dishwasher
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1. Refrigerator Shelves and Bins

Although hand-washing is preferable, in a pinch, Whirlpool says it's safe to wash glass shelves and bins on the top rack of your dishwasher. Note: be sure they're at room temperature before placing in the washer to prevent cracking and breaking.

2. Contact Lens Cases

1800 Contacts reports that it's A-OK to occasionally run your lens case through the dishwasher to disinfect it. Boiling it in a pot of water for five minutes also has the same effect.

3. Legos and Plastic Toys

The cleaning pros at Angie's List suggest cleaning Legos and simple plastic toys (those without batteries or glued-on parts) in the dishwasher. Just be sure to keep them confined to the top rack.

4. Sponges

A Good Housekeeping study found that a ride in the dishwasher killed 99.9 percent of germs found on household sponges. They recommend adding your sponge to a regular dishwasher load, and using the "heated dry" setting.

5. Baseball Caps

SFGate suggests the following steps for safely washing that sweaty old cap in the dishwasher. Start by spraying or rubbing a laundry pre-treatment on the soiled or stained parts of the baseball cap. Next, clear the dishwasher of all dishes and utensils. Place the baseball cap (or caps) on the top rack of the dishwasher. Fit the hat around the upright pegs on the top rack and attach it the adjustable strap to one of the pegs with a clothespin. Add the usual amount of detergent and close the door. Set to a normal wash with lukewarm water and no drying time. Allow the dishwasher to run through its cycles, and when the washing cycle is finished, remove the cap. Hang the cap to dry from a pants hanger in your shower or bathtub and voila!

6. Removable Car Cup and Change Holders

This one isn't exactly mind-blowing, but we couldn't resist a reminder to clean those sticky cup holders in your car. Like most things on this list, removable cup holders are dishwasher safe as long as you put them on the top shelf.

7. Golf Balls

This may not be for everyone, but according to Golf Week, it's totally safe (and sanitary) to clean your golf balls on the top shelf of your dishwasher. Just make sure you've removed all the glasses and dishes first!

8. Silicone Pot Holders

It may not come as a surprise that you can toss your trusty silicone pot holders in the dishwasher, so just consider this your friendly reminder that they're probably due for a deep clean.

9. Grill Grates

Despite some misconceptions that the dishwasher is not powerful enough to clean stuck-on grill grime, Bosch assures consumers that it's perfectly safe to wash your grill grates in the dishwasher. Just be sure that you scrub off any major grease and burnt-on bits from the grates before putting them in the dishwasher. You can wash these along with your other grilling tools on an "Extrascrub" or "extra clean" setting.

10. Wet-Mop Heads

Even your cleaning supplies need to be cleaned. After mopping your floors, you can throw a detachable mop head in the top rack of your dishwasher with a cup of vinegar in the detergent dispenser. Be sure there's nothing else in the dishwasher. Wring out the mop head and let it air dry before storing.

11. Dog Toys

Fido needs to be protected from germs, too! According to Hartz, your dog's nylon and rubber toys can be washed in the dishwasher on a hot cycle without detergent or soap. The hot water and pressure should be enough to kill any lingering germs.

12. Plastic Hairbrushes and Combs

We've already chimed in on this particular topic, but if you're pressed for time, the dishwasher is a perfectly safe place to clean your plastic brushes and combs, according to Jolie Kerr, a cleaning expert and advice columnist for Esquire. Just be sure to pull out any hair from the brushes and combs before placing them in the top rack of your dishwasher.

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Southern Living is committed to using high-quality, reputable sources to support the facts in our articles. Read our editorial guidelines to learn more about how we fact check our content for accuracy.
  1. Good Housekeeping. How to clean a sponge. Updated April 25, 2022.

  2. Golf Week. How to clean dirty golf balls.

  3. Hartz. Toy maintenance.

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