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Surprising Uses for Your Dishwasher

22 unexpected items you can put in the dishwasher and 13 things you shouldn't. Plus, how to cook salmon in the dishwasher (seriously).

By Sarah Stebbins
Toy lizardTom Schierlitz

You Can Put These in the Dishwasher

Baseball caps can get bent in the washing machine but hold their shape in the dishwasher, especially inside a contraption like the Ball Cap Washer ($5, amazon.com). Don’t wash them with dishes; food can get trapped in the cloth.

Action figures and other small toys can ride in a mesh lingerie bag on the top rack (but don’t wash Barbie or she’ll have a horrible hair day).

Rain boots should have the liners removed and lie horizontally. Hook flip-flops on tines in the top rack.  (FYI, Crocs are not dishwasher-safe.)

Tools with metal or plastic handles will be fine. Towel-dry afterward to prevent rusting.

Ceramic cabinet knobs do well in the silverware basket, so if you feel like embarking on the process (remove, wash, replace), go for it.

Hairbrushes and combs made of plastic can take a spin, but not wood or natural boar-bristle brushes. Be sure to remove all the hair first to protect the drain.

Fan grilles, switch plates, and vent covers are in if they’re plastic, aluminum, or steel. Enameled, painted, or plated should stay out.

Shin guards, knee pads, and mouth guards―toss them all into the top rack.

Light-fixture covers are fine in the top rack, as long as they’re not antique, enameled, or painted.

Garden tools may have come in contact with pesticides or animals, so don’t mix them with a load of dishes. (And don’t wash those with wood handles.)

Potatoes can get nice and clean in the top rack with a rinse-only cycle (no detergent). Sound crazy? It makes mashed potatoes for 20 a lot quicker. 
 
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