The advent of residential automatic dishwashers in the 1950s helped revolutionize kitchens everywhere. No longer were people subject to raisin fingers while scrubbing pans and dinnerware.
Dishwashers are still a major appliance, and their benefits are not necessarily limited to dishes. There are a number of things you can place on the interior racks that might wind up saving you time and effort. Pro tips: Put the below items only on the top rack of the dishwasher, so the appliance's heating element won't damage them, and check your owner's manual beforehand.
1. Oven Mitts
Got a crusty silicone oven mitt and aren’t sure if it should go in the washing machine? Stick it in the dishwasher instead. Silicone mitts are typically dishwasher safe, though you’ll want to check the label to make sure.
2. Refrigerator Shelves
Removable refrigerator shelves can accumulate all kinds of gunk; their large size can make cleaning them by hand in the sink an awkward task. Instead, try putting them in the dishwasher. Most shelves should be safe, unless they feature built-in LED lighting. Some plastic produce bins might also be too fragile. Your refrigerator’s manual can let you know for sure. It’s also a good idea to let them warm up to room temperature first.
3. Plastic Toys
Thanks to baby slobber, hard plastic toys for infants and kids are germ traps. To knock off bacteria, you can run solid plastic and bath toys through the dishwasher. (Avoid putting plush or electronic toys on the racks, though.) Small toys can be placed in a mesh bag to keep them from bouncing around. To make sure they don't warp in the wash, dry them on a cool or non-heat setting.
4. Golf Balls
If you play golf, you know that dirty equipment can impact your game. You can clean golf balls in the dishwasher, though some persistent grime in the dimples might need a hand scrub afterward.
5. Stove Knobs
Range knobs can become caked in grease and other unpleasantness. Drop them in the dishwasher for a deep clean.
Yes, potatoes. Rather than rinse spuds in the sink, you can send them through a detergent-free rinse cycle.
Dishwashers are versatile, but they can’t handle everything. As a general rule, avoid putting anything made of metal (except stainless steel) or wood, mechanical tools (like pasta rollers), and light plastics in the dishwasher. And while some people—including horror icon Vincent Price—have endorsed the practice of poaching foil-wrapped salmon in the dishwasher, we don't recommend it.