40 Dishwasher Hacks to Help Make Life EasierBy Anglina Roberts
The dishwasher is without a doubt one of the greatest modern inventions. Gone are the days of washing dirty plates, glassware, or cookware by hand; now, all you have to do is pop them in, add some dishwashing detergent, push a few buttons, and you’re good to go! Did you know that dishwashers can do more than just clean dirty dishes?
From cleaning sports equipment to cooking entire meals, the dishwasher is one of the most versatile appliances you can own. If you’ve never owned a dishwasher before, you may want to consider getting one! Here, we’ll give you a list of dishwasher hacks that can help make your life a lot easier. We’ve also included a few helpful tips to keep in mind so that your dishwasher stays in good condition.
Keep your food warm
Need to keep your food warm until you’re ready to eat? Your dishwasher can do the job for you. A dishwasher uses heat to clean kitchenware, and that same heat can also be used to warm your food.
First, place your food in a glass jar or keep it neatly wrapped in aluminum foil. Then, put your food on the top rack and select “Heat/Dry Cycle, No Water.” Your food should be nice and warm in no time!
Why spend so much money at a fancy steakhouse when you can cook a steak using your dishwasher at home? Yes, the appliance you use for cleaning your dirty dishes can also be used to whip up a tasty steak dinner, and the process is fairly simple.
Place a vacuum-sealed steak in the dishwasher and set it to wash-cook at 122 degrees for 90 minutes. Then, open the bag and use a napkin to remove the excess moisture. Put the dried steak in a preheated pan and sear it in olive oil on high heat. Leave it for ten minutes, then add seasoning to taste.
Keep plates warm
If you don’t want your food to get cold too quickly, serve it on a warm plate. This is one easy trick many of the world’s most experienced chefs and restaurant managers use. It’s not a must, but it’s worth trying, especially if you’re looking to impress your guests.
Minutes before everyone sits down to eat, place your plates inside the dishwasher and use the “Plate Warmer” feature. If your dishwasher doesn’t have one, just use the “Heat/Dry” cycle to achieve the same result.
Make mashed sweet potatoes
Sweet potatoes — especially when boiled or mashed — are a great source of fiber, potassium, beta-carotene, and other nutrients, making them an ideal snack for your kids. Preparing them is fairly easy and could even be a fun bonding activity for you and your little ones!
Simply cut the sweet potatoes into tiny pieces, place the slices inside an airtight bag, and add butter and seasoning. Shake the bag, place it inside the dishwasher for a full cycle, then when the bag is cool enough, have your kids mash the slices with their bare hands.
Clean your gardening tools
If your gardening tools are getting a bit too dirty, it’s time to put them in the dishwasher! Giving your tools a regular wash prevents issues like rust, which can shorten your tools’ lifespan.
When placing your tools in the dishwasher, make sure to put them on the top rack to minimize the risk of damage during the drying cycle. Don’t include tools made of copper or cast iron or those with wooden handles, and remember to run separate cycles for your tools and kitchenware.
Make cinnamon apples
You don’t need to be a world-famous chef to make cinnamon apples! They’re quite easy to prepare — all you need is a glass jar, some apples, brown sugar, butter, ground cinnamon, water, and your dishwasher.
Wash the apples thoroughly, cut them into thin slices, and place them inside the glass jar. Add the rest of the ingredients, screw the lid back on, and give it a shake. Finally, place the jar inside the dishwasher and run for a full cycle.
Clean small trash cans
It shouldn’t come as a surprise that trash cans are among the most germ-filled items in your home. Emptying and cleaning them regularly is necessary to remove foul odors and bacteria that could make you or your loved ones sick.
To disinfect your trash can, empty its contents and place the bin on the lower rack of your dishwasher. Then, use the high heat setting and run a regular cycle. Once it’s done, take the bin out of the dishwasher and wipe it thoroughly before reusing.
Disinfect children’s toys
Your children’s toys are a perfect breeding ground for germs and bacteria, which is why it’s important to keep them clean. Placing them inside the dishwasher can make the job a whole lot easier.
Place large toys on the bottom rack, medium-sized toys on the top rack, and small toys inside a mesh bag. Remember to secure any detachable parts to avoid clogging the drainage system. Use a light wash cycle and avoid the heated dry option to keep plastic toys from melting.
Clean air conditioning vents and filters
If you think your AC unit isn’t functioning as well as it should, take a closer look at the filters and vents. If you’re seeing layer upon layer of mold and dust, it’s probably time to give them a thorough wash.
Place the filters and vents inside the dishwasher and run a regular cycle without detergent. Then, remove the filters and vents and dry them properly before reinstalling. This should help solve the problem of your AC unit underperforming.
Remove calcium buildup on faucets
Tap water contains many minerals, including calcium. Faucets are likely to catch a lot of calcium sediment, which can cause damage. To keep this from happening, remember to clean your faucet aerators and other removable parts regularly.
To do this, soak them in a cup of white vinegar for at least an hour, then place them in the dishwasher. Not only will this process clear up any calcium buildup, but it can wash off mold or bacteria as well.
Clean dirty keyboards
This may be hard to believe, but you can safely clean your computer keyboard by tossing it in your dishwasher! Not all experts recommend doing this, but it can certainly help save you a lot of time as long as you do it right.
Before putting your keyboard in the dishwasher, remove all cables and other water-sensitive parts. Avoid using soap, make sure that the water isn’t too warm, and don’t put anything else inside the dishwasher. Remember to let your keyboard dry for three days first before using it again.
Cooking an egg usually requires a stove, a frying pan, or a microwave, but there are other unconventional methods you can use! For instance, why not try making hard-boiled or soft-boiled eggs in your dishwasher?
All you need to do is to put the egg inside an airtight jar filled with water and place it in the dishwasher. Choose a higher temperature to make hard-boiled eggs and a cooler temperature for soft-boiled eggs. To avoid wasting energy, use this method only when the dishwasher is full.
Some people might find it hard to imagine cooking ribs on anything but a grill, but this is certainly possible with a dishwasher! This method is ideal if you’re planning to run your dishwasher for a cycle that’s two hours or longer.
First, add the usual dry rub seasonings like paprika, chili powder, garlic powder, cumin, and so on, then wrap the ribs in aluminum foil or an airtight bag. Finally, place the ribs on one of the dishwasher racks, but make sure they are in an upright position so that heat is distributed evenly.
Sanitize nail clippers
Your nail clippers need to be sanitized as often as possible. While most people tend to use rubbing alcohol, hot water, or bleach, your dishwasher can be just as effective at keeping your nail clippers in excellent condition.
Simply place your nail clippers in the cutlery rack and run a regular cycle at high heat. Doing this at least once a month can help prevent the accumulation of germs or bacteria that can cause skin infections.
Wash resealable plastic bags
Resealable plastic bags, more popularly referred to as Ziploc bags, always come in handy for storing food and other personal items. Throwing them away after a single use can be wasteful, which is why it’s a good idea to wash and reuse them whenever possible.
Ziploc bags can easily be washed in the dishwasher using the low heat setting. Be careful not to turn the temperature up too high as this can melt the plastic. Ziploc bags can typically be reused up to five more times before they’re worn out.
Clean your vacuum filter
Vacuum filters are notoriously difficult to clean, especially if you don’t do it often. All that dirt and debris can cause long-term damage if you’re not careful. Save yourself from the hassle of cleaning by letting your dishwasher do it for you!
If you have a washable vacuum filter, all you have to do is to remove the filter, sprinkle some detergent on it, and let your dishwasher do all the rinsing and scrubbing. Remember to let the filter dry before reinstalling to avoid any damage.
Clean your dishwasher
You might think that the dishwasher can clean itself, but that is certainly not the case. Even your dishwasher could use a little bit of TLC. Just like any appliance, dishwashers must be kept clean and in tiptop shape so they can last longer.
First, remove any food bits in the well or the bottom rack. Then, wipe away any grime on the door and walls and rinse the filter. Finally, place a cup of white vinegar on the top rack and run an empty cycle at the highest temperature possible.
Clean your dog’s toys and collars
If you’re a dog owner, then you’d surely know how dirty pet toys and collars can get. Washing them regularly can help get rid of bacteria, mold, and other nasty things that can grow on them. If you want to save time, just throw them in the dishwasher and run for a hot cycle without detergent.
Never wash leather collars in the dishwasher, and be sure to check the manufacturer’s cleaning recommendations for each toy before throwing them in for a cycle. This is especially important when it comes to rubber or plastic chew toys.
Wash hair ties
You probably don’t think about cleaning your hair ties that often, but they can get pretty dirty with repeated use. Hair ties can accumulate harmful bacteria over time, and you surely wouldn’t want that anywhere near your hair or face.
To wash your hair ties, place them inside a mesh bag and toss them in the cutlery rack of your dishwasher. Run a full cycle, but don’t use too much detergent. A tiny amount should be enough to make your hair ties look and smell as good as new.
Clean sports equipment
Baseball gloves, elbow pads, shin guards, shoes, and other sports equipment can be a nightmare to clean. They’re usually covered in sweat and tend to smell awful, which is why they need to be washed immediately after use.
Shin guards, shoulder pads, and other protective gear can go on the top rack, while the rest can be placed at the bottom. Run the dishwasher on a normal heat cycle but make sure to skip the dry cycle. Avoid washing them together with your dishes!
More cleaning tips
Here’s another cool hack to clean your dishwasher: use Lemonade Kool-Aid! Remember to get the unsweetened kind or this trick won’t work. The citric acid from the Kool-Aid can help remove unwanted stains while adding some shine to your dishwasher.
First, you need to make sure that the dishwasher is empty. Then, pour the entire packet of Kool-Aid into the detergent dispenser. Next, run the dishwasher on any cycle. Finally, use a sponge or cloth to wipe off any remaining stains. These should come right off.
Clean faux flowers
Faux flowers can be a great addition to any home, especially if you lack the time or skills to take care of real ones. Unfortunately, they can be major dust magnets, which is why you need to give them a regular deep clean.
Place your faux flowers on the top rack of your dishwasher and run a normal cycle without detergent as soap can easily damage silk petals. Let them air-dry for a while, and they should be as good as new in no time.
Clean cabinet handles
Despite being one of the most-touched surfaces in the home, cabinet handles are often ignored when cleaning the house. Layers of grime and grease around these handles can make your kitchen look tired and dingy, and if bacteria builds up, it can make you sick.
If you want to clean your cabinet handles, gently take them off using a screwdriver. Then, place them in the dishwasher and run a cycle with either a quart of white vinegar or one cup of baking soda. Once done, take them out and dry them using a soft cloth before reinstalling them.
Use it as a dish rack
Even if you already own a dishwasher, you might still need to wash dishes by hand. After all, using your dishwasher when you only have one or two plates or pans that need washing seems rather wasteful.
If you live in a tiny house or apartment and don’t have the extra space for a dish rack, just use the racks inside your dishwasher to dry any dishes you wash by hand. After drying, put the dishes back where they usually belong, and don’t forget to close the dishwasher door!
If you loved the steak and ribs hacks, then you will surely love this one! This dishwasher lobster recipe is super simple – all you need is a fresh lobster, a glass jar, some seasoning, and a stick of unsalted butter.
Start by cutting the lobster into small pieces (removing its shell and veins in the process), and place them in the glass jar together with the stick of butter. Close the jar tightly, then send it through a heavy-duty cycle. Scoop the freshly cooked lobster out, lay it on a plate, and enjoy your meal!
Wash light fixtures
When was the last time you cleaned your light fixtures? If you don’t wash them regularly, this can affect the quality of light that a room receives. Luckily, you can easily clean them in your dishwasher.
Simply unscrew your light fixtures and place all non-electrical pieces in the dishwasher, then clean the rest using a damp cloth. Make sure to run the dishwasher at a lower temperature as the extra heat could damage the light fixtures. Carefully take the components out of the dishwasher and let them dry before screwing them back on.
Wash cleaning brushes
After using your cleaning brushes around the house, they’re likely to be covered in dirt and germs. To wash your brushes, place them on the top rack of your dishwasher and run a regular cycle. This should be enough to give your brushes a thorough wash.
If your brushes aren’t dishwasher safe, mix three to five drops of liquid soap with one cup of distilled white vinegar. Place the top end of the brush inside, stir, and leave it for an hour. Rinse the brush, then let it dry.
Reuse as storage space
If your dishwasher has reached the end of its lifecycle, don’t throw it out just yet! You can still use your old dishwasher to store your personal belongings, which can be especially helpful if you don’t have that much space to go around.
For instance, you can use it to store cookware, books, gardening tools, brushes, or art supplies. You can also remove the top rack and hang it on the wall of your garage or attic to store smaller items that can easily get lost amid the clutter!
Ripen avocados quickly
If you want to ripen avocados faster, one popular method is to put them inside a brown paper bag with a banana. Bananas contain a natural hormone called ethylene, which can help expedite the ripening process. Your avocados should be ready to eat in about two or three days.
If you really can’t wait that long, place the avocados on the top rack of your dishwasher. Run a regular cycle for ten minutes and the avocados will come out soft and ready to eat!
Wash dryer filters
If your clothes are still damp even after a full drying cycle, or if the outside of your dryer is hot to the touch when in use, it may be time to wash your dryer filters. If you don’t want to do this manually, just place them in your dishwasher.
When washing dryer filters, avoid placing other items in the same load. Use the dishwasher’s hot water settings to wash away all the dirt that may be trapped. After the filter has been washed, let it dry completely before putting it back.
Rinse fruits and vegetables
Why waste so much time rinsing fruits and vegetables by hand when you can put them in the dishwasher instead? Run a cold rinse cycle without any detergent, and you’ll have pesticide and germ-free produce in a matter of minutes!
Pro tip: place delicate items like tomatoes and berries on the top rack, and sturdy ones like apples and melons on the bottom rack. If you want to make your fruits and veggies extra clean, consider pouring white vinegar into the detergent dispenser.
Disinfect your house keys
Your house keys can come into contact with all sorts of surfaces throughout the day, which makes them the perfect place for bacteria and viruses to thrive. The next time you use your dishwasher, you might want to throw in your house keys as well.
Before washing, remove anything that shouldn’t get wet, like garage door openers, loyalty cards, and keychains. Once the cycle is complete, take out the keys, thoroughly dry each one, and rub them with oil to keep them from rusting.
Clean golf balls
Golf balls go through a lot on the golf course, which is why we highly recommend that you clean them thoroughly after each game. Clean golf balls are not only more elegant-looking, but they are also much easier to spot around the course.
To clean your golf balls, simply place them on the top rack of your dishwasher and run a full cycle. However, make sure not to wash any dishes at the same time! If you have high-quality golf balls, then you shouldn’t have to worry about them getting damaged in the process.
Wash your makeup brushes
Any object that comes into contact with your face should be kept clean – no exceptions. Makeup brushes, for instance, contain all sorts of germs and bacteria that can cause acne and other skin problems. So, washing them at least once a week is a must!
Place your makeup brushes in the top cutlery rack of your dishwasher and run a normal cycle to eliminate gunk, dead skin cells, dirt, oil, and bacteria. However, remember not to use the highest temperature setting as this could damage your brushes.
Cook turkey breasts
Before you shove an entire turkey in the dishwasher, we just want to make one thing clear: this recipe by American chef David Burke requires two boneless turkey breasts – not the entire bird!
Start by combining herbs, garlic, shallots, salt, and pepper with olive oil and rubbing this mixture onto the turkey. Pack the meat tightly in plastic wrap in a sealed container, and place it on the top rack of the dishwasher for three cycles (about three hours and 25 minutes). Finally, let the turkey pieces sit for 25 minutes before broiling.
Clean mop heads
You usually use a mop to clean your floors, but how do you clean the mop itself? In some cases, a simple rinse will do, but sometimes, your mop may need a deeper clean. Luckily, your dishwasher can help you with that!
If your mop head is removable, place it on the top rack of your empty dishwasher. Pour a cup of white vinegar into the detergent dispenser, and run the machine on a high heat cycle. Then, squeeze out the excess water and let the mop dry before using it again.
Sanitize kitchen sponges
No one wants to clean dishes with a filthy sponge, which is why it’s important to always keep it clean. The frequency may vary depending on how often you use it, but most experts recommend sanitizing sponges at least once every three or four days.
First, mix ¾ cup of bleach in a gallon of water and soak the sponge for five minutes. Rinse the sponge thoroughly with clean water, place it in the dishwasher with your regular load, then use the “heated dry” feature.
Wash car floor mats
No matter how hard you try to keep the inside of your car clean, dirt can build up and spills can happen. Car floor mats, in particular, tend to get dirty very easily. Fortunately, you can pop them in the dishwasher to make them look as good as new!
Start by shaking off the hard muck on the floor mats, give them a quick rinse, and place them in the dishwasher for a regular cycle. If your mats are made of rubber or plastic, run a low-temperature cycle as they could melt or become deformed.
Turn it into a raised garden bed
Using a raised garden bed has several benefits, including keeping away weeds, preventing soil compaction, and giving your plants more growing space. However, good-quality ones can easily cost hundreds of dollars. If you have an old dishwasher lying around, why not use that instead?
Start by taking out the racks and giving the inside of your dishwasher a good rinse. Next, drill a hole at the bottom for drainage. Finally, fill your dishwasher with garden soil and compost so you can start planting. You may also paint or decorate your dishwasher, but this is completely up to you!
Reduce cycle time
A dishwasher works best when it uses hot water. However, hot water doesn’t always get directed to your dishwasher right off the bat. Your machine may also need to pause a few times during the cycle to heat the water, increasing the time it takes to complete a cycle.
To minimize your dishwasher’s cycle time, run the water at the faucet closest to the dishwasher until it turns hot. Having hot water enter the dishwasher when the cycle begins can reduce the need for long heating pauses, thus cutting down the amount of time it takes to complete each cycle.