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Dishwashers are fantastic. They are one of few electrical appliances that we can all agree genuinely enhance our lifestyles by providing us with more time for the family and helping lower water and electricity bills.

According to Energy Star, dishwashers with 4 or 5 star energy ratings use around half the electrical energy required to fill a kitchen sink with hot water. They also use around half the water needed to fill a sink, so you can save money by using the dishwasher to clean a lot of things.

Plates and cutlery aren’t the only things people put through a dishwasher. Knowing what items you can wash safely will help you maximise the benefits and reduce the risks of using your dishwasher. The team at Metropolitan Electrical have put together this list of items that are safe and unsafe to put in yours, and the inclusions might surprise you.  

1. Cleaning Toys? Plastic Toys are Dishwasher Safe

How often do you pick up the kid’s toys only to discover a gross, sticky residue coating the plastic? Those little fingers get everywhere!

The simplest way to fix this is by cleaning the toys in the dishwasher. So long as they don’t contain electronic components, plastic toys are dishwasher safe. This includes bath toys and even LEGO bricks. Just add them to the cutlery basket, so they don’t clog the filter. 

2. You Can Safely Put Potatoes in the Dishwasher

Brushed potatoes are cheaper than washed ones but ultimately require more work to prepare them for that marvellous mash. So when you’re catering for a dinner party and running short on time to get everything done, you can always reduce the prep time by washing the spuds on the rinse-only cycle on the top shelf of the dishwasher – without detergent, of course!

3. Dish Cloths and Multipurpose Wipes

Improve kitchen hygiene by washing dish cloths and reusable wipes in the dishwasher. Place these on the top shelf after wiping down the benchtops and expect a more thorough clean than if you had simply rinsed cloths and wipes under the tap.

4. Even Thongs or Flip Flops

Thongs, flip flops, jandals, whatever you call them, slide a pair in the dishwasher, and they should come out looking as good as new! They may even warm your toes if slipped on afterwards.

5. Various Bathroom Accessories

The soap dish, toothbrush holder and various bathroom accessories that build up with soap scum can all be washed in your dishwasher. Plastic, ceramic and tough glass items can be cleaned this way to save your hands from being caked in undesirable slimy substances.

6. A Dishwasher Can Be Used to Clean Rangehood Filters & Exhaust Fan Covers

Your range hood filter or kitchen exhaust fan can get greasy from all that cooking, and the same can happen to the bathroom exhaust, but with dust and grime. Slide the covers off the filters or exhaust fans and place them in the dishwasher. Save yourself some strenuous scrubbing and get these covers clean with your new favourite appliance. 

7. Plastic Hairbrushes and Combs

How often do you clean your hairbrush? Never? What about germs? It’s safe to clean your plastic hairbrush and comb in the dishwasher to help keep bacteria at bay. Just avoid this technique for wooden brushes as they may not survive the cycle, and you do need to manually remove any hair from the hairbrush beforehand so it doesn’t clog the dishwasher. 

8. You Can Wash Dog Toys and Plastic Pet Accessories

Plastic pet accessories, including chew toys, food and water bowls, are dishwasher safe. So give these items a much-needed clean to eliminate germs and bacteria. Whatever grot is picked up from your fur babies misadventures.  

9. Even Cleaning Gardening Tools Can Be Fine

Those with a green thumb will appreciate the news that hand tools like spades, picks, forks and hoes with plastic and rubber handles can all get a good clean in the dishwasher. So can those stylish pots when plants do not occupy them. There’s really no shortage of gardening gear that’s dishwasher safe. No wood, though, It can crack and split. 

10. Golf Balls are Dishwasher Friendly

Regardless of your thoughts on golf days, dirt on golf balls can affect their travel. Place balls on the top shelf or in the cutlery basket to get them clean, and your significant other can’t use dirty balls as an excuse for his poor score. 

And Here Are 10 Items that are NOT Dishwasher Safe

While you can save work cleaning certain items in the dishwasher, other everyday items are not suited for a machine’s heavy-duty wash. Consider these 10 items NOT dishwasher safe:

1. Wine Glasses May Break

Wine glasses are just as fragile as you’d expect, and the heavy-duty clean provided by a dishwasher can crack the glass. Instead, wash these delicately by hand.

2. Non-stick Cookware in the Dishwasher is a No

Unless the manufacturer states explicitly that an item is dishwasher safe, do not put cookware with a non-stick coating in the dishwasher. Over time, the dishwashing can wear away the coating, ruining the non-stick finish.

3. No Sharp Knives (If You Want Sharp Knives)

Sharp knives are durable, but the high carbon steel corrodes as the dishwasher tablet/powder uses harsh alkaline to cut through grease. This can break down the blade, and having it bang around with other items will dull the sharp edge. 

4. Or Hand-painted Ceramics

Wash the kid’s crafts and artisan market purchases by hand. These items are unlikely to feature the same protective coatings as store-bought items and will lose their colour, among other features.

5. Wooden Spoon and Other Utensils

It might seem like a no-brainer to place the wooden spoon in the dishwasher. But this, along with other wooden utensils, will warp, crack and splinter when exposed to the high temperatures of a dishwasher. It may not matter when a two-dollar wooden spoon splits, but keep valuables out!

6. Wash Cast Iron Skillets by Hand

Like the non-stick pan, cast iron should never go in the dishwasher. The detergents will strip away the coating leaving your expensive cookware vulnerable to rust. 

7. Never Put Candle Holders in the Dishwasher

The wax is the issue here. It can break away from candle holders and congeal on drinking glasses and clog the dishwasher, resulting in costly repairs. Put the candle holder in the freezer for a couple of hours. In colder temperatures wax shrinks, which will cause it to gradually detach from the surface of the candleholder and make it easier to remove – or even come off completely. Then it can be thrown in the bin.

8. Dishwashers Wreck Insulated Travel Mugs

The thermos or insulated mug requires a tight seal for the contents to remain at the desired temperature. The dishwasher can warp the seal, letting air in and potentially letting the contents spill out.

9. Gently Wash Your Fine China by Hand

Fine china and antique items can discolour in the dishwasher and lose their detailing or patterns. Conduct a delicate hand clean on these items, especially if you plan on handing them down to future generations. 

10. Wash Anything With Important Labels and Detailing by Hand

Any items with labels or written detailing must be washed by hand. Labels peel off in the dishwasher, and writing can fade. What use is a measuring cup if you can’t actually use it for measuring?

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  • Wow I don’t have dishwasher but was suprice with some of those .

    Reply

  • Great list!
    I am always throwing toys in the dishwasher. Even LEGO ????

    Reply

  • There are so many things on here I didn’t know could go in… and also a lot of answers as to why things aren’t the same as they were before! My sharp knives for example, and my wooden chopping board! I guess they need to stay out from now on!

    Reply

  • I knew about toys and other stuff but never thought about a toothbrush holders. That is an excellent idea and I might just do that. But I draw the line at shoes and dog accessories. Sorry but ewww

    Reply

  • I’ve heard of most of these ideas but never knew what NOT to put in a dishwasher. I’ve been putting my wooden spoons through the dishwasher for a few years now. They’ve been fine but they are only the cheap ones.

    Reply

  • I think I’d heard of most of these over the years. I’m in a bad habit of putting wooden spoons in the dishwasher as I’m sometimes too tired/too lazy to wash them myself and I’ve noticed one or two of them cracking….
    Potatoes was one that I hadn’t heard of though…

    Reply

  • Some of those you can’t put in are interesting and now good to know. Some of those you can, well I had no idea!!!

    Reply

  • Never thought of potatos lol

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  • I’ve been putting my wooden spoons & bamboo spoons in the dishwasher for years. No probs.

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  • We put a lot of things through our dishwasher but potatos and thongs – I would never even have thought about doing that.

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  • Brilliant ideas here ! I love being able to put other stuff in the dishwasher to clean them :)

    Reply

  • I have to say but I love washing dishes, clothes and other items that need cleaning. I honestly don’t really like a dishwasher. I feel my cutlery etc is never washed to perfection.

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  • I also use the dishwasher to clean my range hood filters. They come up beautifully clean.

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  • Did not think about potatoes or thongs! Or bathroom things, exhaust and rangehood things- brilliant idea!

    Reply

  • How interesting!!!
    Don’t know that I would want things like thongs, dog toys, gardening tools or bathroom accessories in there though.
    I just don’t think it would keep the dishwasher sanitary!

    Reply

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