Try some of these ideas to save you the drudgery of hand-washing:
1. Extractor hood filter
Kitchen extractor hood filters can collect some seriously oily build-up and they’re often fiddly to clean manually. If they’ll fit in your dishwasher then give them a monthly run through the normal wash cycle - the high temperature combined with a good dishwasher powder should be sufficient to cut through the grease and leave your filter sparkling clean without any effort on your part.
2. Dish cloths, sponges and brushes
These are perfect environments for bacteria and mould, not the kinds of things you want to be washing your plates and cups with. They come out really well in the dishwasher, plus the high temperatures will kill any bugs on them,
3. Toothbrush holders and soap dishes
Get the soapy, pasty grime out from all the nooks and crevices by washing these on the top rack.
4. Pet paraphernalia
You’ll be more inclined to handle your pets' toys if they’re not covered in gunk and (let’s face it) dog or cat spit. It won’t realistically matter, but run them through on a separate load from your own dishes if you're squeamish.
5. Plastic hairbrushes and combs
The top rack or utensil basket is a perfect place to get brushes and combs clean. Remove as much hair as possible before washing, and check the filter afterwards.
6. Plastic toys
Baby and toddler toys pick up all kinds of things from floors, hands and even (when they’re teething) mouths! A hot run through the dishwasher will have them clean and a post-wash spray with steriliser spray will complete the job – they’re clean and ready to play with again. Watch out for any with non-washable parts, or any battery-operated ones of course.
7. Globe-type light bulbs
Did you know you can wash these in the dishwasher?! Make sure they’re wedged securely in the top rack to avoid breakage, and that you dry the metal parts as soon as possible after the cycle’s finished.
Many people swear by washing their Crocs in the dishwasher, despite what Crocs themselves say! The wisdom is to use the top rack and avoid the “heat dry” setting if you have one.
9. Refrigerator shelves, drawers etc.
When it’s fridge cleaning time the dishwasher is great for all the plastic bits and pieces that are awkward to clean; the egg trays and dividers and in-door shelves etc. If the main shelves will fit in the dishwasher then even better.
10. Costume jewellery
Place non-precious jewellery inside a washing net or two and wash in the top rack. You can also buy special devices for washing your precious metal jewellery in the dishwasher too, including diamond and gold items, although pearls, opals and emeralds are heat sensitive and should be washed by hand.
Yes your dishwasher can be a multi-purpose cleaning machine so why not make the most of it!