Say What? 20 Unexpected Dishwasher Hacks to Start Using ASAP

Dishwashers are a great invention. Thanks to this nifty kitchen appliance, days of washing and drying dishes are long gone. Now, people can enjoy their meal without the thought of an hour-long cleanup hanging over their heads. But did you know that your dishwasher can do so much more than clean dirty dishes?

A dalmatian sniffing his toys in the dishwasher / Hairbrushes in the dishwasher
Source: Instagram / asherstylephotos (left and right)

From cooking full dinners (yes, inside your dishwasher) to disinfecting your car keys, your dishwasher is a multifunctional machine that is here to make your life easier. Prepare yourselves because once you read these 20 dishwasher hacks, you’ll want to start using them as soon as possible.

Come on, what are you waiting for? Let’s check them out!

Make Perfectly Steamed Shrimp

Ready to learn a new party trick for your next dinner party? Brace yourselves, because this dishwasher hack steams your shrimp in no time flat. And you want to hear the best part? You only need a Tupperware container. And, well, some shrimp.

Shrimp and some seasoning inside of a mason jar. / The mason jars with shrimp in the dishwasher
Source: Pinterest / Pinterest

You’re going to want to place your raw shrimp inside the airtight container with some slices of onion, garlic, lemon juice, and whatever seasonings you prefer. Place the container on the top rack of your dishwasher and run the “Rinse” cycle. Once the cycle is complete, take out the Tupperware and marvel at your perfectly steamed shrimp. Fun tip: if you don’t have a dishwasher-safe container, you can also use heavy-duty aluminum foil. Just make sure that you wrap the shrimp up tightly.

Say Goodbye to Dirty Baseball Caps

Sweaty baseball caps aren’t very fun for anyone: not for the people wearing them or for the people who have to be around them. But don’t be embarrassed, we’ve all been there. I accidentally made the rookie mistake of washing my favorite baseball cap in the washing machine. It completely changed the shape, and now it doesn’t fit my head. So here’s a little hack for you to consider.

A baseball cap surrounded by glasses in the dishwasher
Source: Pinterest

Instead of throwing the baseball cap into the washing machine (or into the trash), think about throwing it into the dishwasher. The kitchen appliance not only keeps the shape of your hat, but it comes out fresh and ready to wear.

Wash Loads of Produce

Tired of hand washing all of your produce before a big dinner party? I don’t know about you, but I seem to spend way too much time washing fruits and vegetables individually. I tried this hack at home, and it’s a great way to cut some time off your dinner prep.

Vegetables in the dishwasher
Source: Instagram / asherstylephotos

Throw all of your produce into the dishwasher and run it on a cold rinse cycle (without detergent!). When the cycle is over, you’ll have fresh fruits and vegetables ready to eat. This hack even works for delicate items, like tomatoes and peaches. Just place them on the top rack, and keep all of your heavier produce on the bottom.

Get Those Shoes Squeaky Clean

While it’s perfectly acceptable to throw your smelly shoes into the washing machine, they tend to make a lot of noise and throw your machine off balance. Instead, throw them in the dishwasher. Running your dishwasher on the regular wash setting will not only scrub them clean but get rid of any funky smells.

Shoes in the dishwasher
Source: Imgur

Just make sure that you remove your laces. Also, don’t forget to turn off the “Heat/Dry” setting because it could melt the rubber on your shoes! We know cleaning your shoes in the same place you wash your dishes may sound gross, but don’t fret. You can run an empty cycle after your shoes are ready, which should eliminate any possible shoe to plate contamination.

Ripen an Avocado Quickly

Avocados always seem to have a mind of their own. You’ll be waiting for them to ripen all week, and just when you go to whip up your favorite guacamole recipe, bam! They’re way too ripe. Well, avocado lovers, rejoice! I have a hack just for you.

Photo by imageBROKER, Shutterstock / John Powell, Shutterstock

Just place your whole, rock-hard avocados on the top rack of your dishwasher and run the appliance for 10 minutes. And voila, now you have soft avocados ready to eat. Something about the heat and humidity softens up even the hardest of avocados. Being a self-proclaimed avocado addict myself, I had to try this hack. Let me tell you, out of all the avocado hacks out there, this one actually worked.

Clean the Dirt off Your Potatoes

I know that we just went over-washing your produce in the dishwasher, but this potato hack deserves some time in the spotlight. If you ever have to wash potatoes in bulk, whether it be for a potato salad, or mashed potatoes, or baked potatoes, save yourself some time with this hack.

Potatoes in the dishwasher
Source: Pinterest

Handwashing potatoes individually just takes way too long. Instead, throw all of your spuds into, yes, you guessed it, the dishwasher! It won’t only save you time, but this trick will have your potatoes looking as if you spent hours cleaning them. Place your dirty potatoes on the top rack, set it to the rinse-only cycle, and walk away. You can use this time to prep other dishes or start cleaning up your kitchen.

Wash Funky-Smelling Kitchen Sponges

There’s nothing worse than going to use your sponge only to realize it’s crusty, somehow slimy, and smells just downright foul. No? Is it just me? Okay, maybe I exaggerated a little, but we’ve all been in this sticky situation once or twice in our lives.

Kitchen sponges inside of the dishwasher
Source: Pinterest

Instead of wasting money on replacement sponges, try this hack instead. Gather up all of your dirty sponges and stick them on the top rack of your dishwasher, along with your dishes. Run your dishwasher on its hottest and longest cycle, and make sure that the “Heat/Dry” setting is turned on. This will rid your sponge of any nasty smells while killing 99.99 percent of germs.

Use Your Dishwasher as a Drying Rack

Yes, I know a dishwasher is for washing dishes, but many people don’t like running it too often. It can waste an unnecessary amount of water, sending your water bills through the roof. I sometimes resort to hand washing, especially when I only have a few plates to wash.

A man placing washed dishes in the dishwasher to dry
Photo by Evgenii Vershinin / 123rf

But things get tricky when I don’t have anywhere to dry my clean dishes. Well, don’t worry because I’m about to make your life a whole lot easier. Just stick your wet dishes in the dishwasher to dry. The appliance has plenty of room, and dripping water won’t end up all over your counter or floor. Make sure to keep the dishwasher door open a crack, so there’s enough air circulation.

Clean Your Fur-Child’s Toys and Collars

All dog owners know that toys and collars can get a little gross, especially if your pets love playing outside. So remember this little hack for the next time your pooch comes waltzing into the room covered head-to-tail in mud, with their favorite squeaky toy dangling from their mouth. All you have to do is throw their collar and toy onto the top rack of the dishwasher and run it on a hot cycle with no detergent.

Dog toys in the top of a dishwasher with a dalmatian reaching in to grab one of them
Source: Instagram / asherstylephotos

This method kills almost all bacteria, mold, and any other nasty things that grow on dogs’ toys and collars. While this trick works with all dog toys, make sure to check the manufacturer’s recommendations, especially when it comes to rubber or plastic chew toys.

Wash Old Hairbrushes

Go take a good look at your hairbrush. I’ll wait. Okay, so besides clumps of hair (which is fine), you probably noticed tiny gray clumps clinging to the bristles. These are formed from hair product build-up, natural hair oils, dead scalp particles, and dust. Sounds kind of gross, right?

Hairbrushes in the top shelf of the dishwasher
Source: Instagram / asherstylephotos

If you’re like me, you probably just throw your hairbrush away and drive up to your local CVS pharmacy to pick up a new one. Well, put your wallet down and step away from the vehicle because this trick is about to save you money. All you have to do is remove all the loose hair and stick your brush on the top rack of your dishwasher. Run it on a normal setting and marvel at your like-new hairbrush.

Whip Up a Chicken Dinner

Hear me out! I know this one is a little weird, but some say it actually works. Place a thin, skinless chicken breast in a mason jar and add any seasonings that you wish. Then add an inch of water before closing the jar real tight. Place the jar on the top rack and run the dishwasher on a normal cycle.

Mason jars with different foods in the dishwasher
Source: YouTube

You can technically cook your chicken with dirty dishes since it is in a sealed container, but something about that scenario freaks me out. We recommend cooking the chicken alone. While you’re waiting, you can clean your kitchen or use your empty oven to whip up a tasty side dish. But before you take a bite, cut the chicken all the way through to be sure that it is fully cooked.

Sanitize Your Toothbrush

Although toothpaste kills bacteria, toothbrushes are a breeding ground for germs and bacteria. Instead of wasting money on new toothbrushes every so often, there’s another way to get them looking as good as new. Just place your toothbrush in the silverware rack, facing upright.

Toothbrushes in the silverware rack
Source: Instagram / asherstylephotos

Run your dishwasher on the “Hot” cycle, but make sure not to add any detergent because you’ll end up eating soap. When the cycle is complete, your toothbrush will be spotless, and your teeth will be thankful. While this hack is great for disinfecting your toothbrush, you still have to remember to buy a replacement every three to four months (or when the bristles begin to fray).

Warm Your Dinner Plates

Imagine you’ve spent all day cooking this amazing lasagna dinner for your friends or family, but the only plates you have are room temperature at best. By the time the food is placed in front of your guests, it’s already cold because the plates weren’t warm enough. Thankfully, there’s a dishwasher hack that will help keep your food at the ideal temperature.

A woman placing washed dishes in the dishwasher to dry
Photo by Uladzislau Salikhau / 123rf

A few minutes before everyone sits down to eat, place your dinner plates in the dishwasher, and set the appliance to “Plate Warmer.” Don’t worry if you have an older model without that setting because the “Heat/Dry” cycle works just as well. Once the cycle is complete, you’ll have warm plates for your meal!

Warm Up Dishwasher Water Faster

Growing up in Michigan was great, except for the extreme winters that are easily comparable to the Arctic tundra. It is harder and harder to get hot water in a reasonable amount of time in below zero temperatures, especially when you’re running a dishwasher. Thankfully, there’s a trick to warm up your dishwasher water more quickly.

Hot water coming out of a kitchen faucet with steam glowing in the sunlight
Photo by christingasner / 123rf

Instead of turning on and running your dishwasher right away, try turning on your kitchen faucet first. Run kitchen sink water until it becomes warm, and then run your dishwasher. The water will already be at the perfect temperature, so you won’t have to worry about your appliance taking too much time to heat up.

Disinfect Your Keyboard

According to an article published by The Huffington Post, your keyboard is 20,000 times dirtier than a toilet seat. Gross, right? Keyboards can be annoying to clean, and it can be hard to clean out all the nooks and crannies with a plain disinfectant wipe. While computer manufacturers wouldn’t recommend this hack as the go-to disinfection method, it works and makes your life a little bit easier.

Keyboards in the dishwasher
Source: Instagram / asherstylephotos

Make sure to remove any batteries, chords, or flash drives, and place your keyboard onto the top rack of the dishwasher. Set your appliance to “Rinse only” and make sure you don’t add any detergent. Also, make sure that the water isn’t too warm (the keys can warp) and that there isn’t anything else inside of the dishwasher other than your keyboard.

Steam Your Veggies

If you’re looking for a new party trick that isn’t as adventurous as cooking chicken or shrimp in the dishwasher, this one is just for you. All you need are some veggies (asparagus and green beans work best) and a few mason jars. First, wash your vegetables and trim them, so they fit into your mason jars.

String beans and spices inside of a mason jar sitting on a dishwasher rack
Source: Flickr

Then add a cup of water into each mason jar (this is what will actually steam them) and add some salt and pepper. You can even add some butter or lemon juice if you’re looking for some extra flavor. Finally, seal your mason jars extra tight and place them onto the top rack of your dishwasher. Turn on your dishwasher and run it on the normal cycle. When the cycle is complete, you’ll have perfectly steamed veggies!

Cook a Lasagna Dinner Oven-Free!

Did you know that you can actually cook lasagna in the dishwasher? Because I didn’t. Whether you’re cooking for a few friends, throwing a dinner party, or treating yourself, this hack promises you a perfectly cooked lasagna every time. Just prepare the lasagna as you usually do and then wrap it with aluminum foil. Make sure that you wrap it tightly so that dishwasher water doesn’t get inside.

A tin with lasagna sitting in the bottom of an oven
Source: Instagram / asherstylephotos

Next, place your lasagna on the bottom rack of your dishwasher (and make sure that it is flat!). You can also add dirty dishes and soap, but only if you’re confident that your lasagna is wrapped up tightly, otherwise you’ll end up with dirty, soapy lasagna. Set your dishwasher on a normal cycle and select “Heat/Dry” for extra heat.

Clean Light Fixtures

It’s amazing how much brighter your room will look after this hack. Grease and humidity cause dust to collect on light fixtures and, no matter how often you dust them, they never seem to be clean. Luckily, you can clean your light fixtures in the dishwasher! Just unscrew the fixture from the light bulb and place it on the top rack.

A nice glass and silver light fixture
Photo by Valery Bond / 123rf

Since light fixtures are a bit more delicate than dinner plates, you’re going to want to make sure that they are well secured. You can run your dishwasher with detergent, but make sure that you take the fixtures out before the drying cycle begins. The extra heat could ruin them, so try hand drying them instead.

Disinfect Your House Keys

Many of you may not have even considered cleaning your keys, but they also need some TLC. Just like anything we use daily, your house keys are covered in dirt, grime, and bacteria. So the next time you turn your dishwasher on, think about throwing in your keys along with your dirty dishes.

A set of keys in the dishwasher
Source: Instagram / asherstylephotos

Just make sure that you remove anything electronic, like a garage opener or the remote to your car, from your keyring before placing your keys in the dishwasher. Once the cycle is complete, you’ll have sparkly-clean, bacteria-free keys. It’s best to clean your keys once every few weeks so that there isn’t too much grime build-up.

Clean Your Faux Flowers

Faux flowers are great. You don’t have to worry about watering them or making sure they get enough sunlight. They just sit in their vase and look pretty, just like real flowers, until they get all dusty and grimy, that is. Unfortunately, just dusting them off doesn’t do the trick. And then you’re stuck with a vase of dirty, fake flowers. Yuck.

Fake flowers inside of the dishwasher
Source: Instagram / asherstylephotos

But don’t fret! You can give your faux flowers a deep clean by sticking them in the dishwasher. Just place your plastic flowers on the top rack of your dishwasher, and run it on a normal cycle without soap. When your cycle is done, your faux flowers will be as good as new.

Now that we know our dishwasher a little bit better let’s move on to our next kitchen appliance: the refrigerator. Did you know that there are certain fruits and vegetables that you aren’t supposed to refrigerate? Forget everything you know and let’s check out the list of foods that don’t belong in the refrigerator!

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