Surprising Dishwasher-Safe Items
Sports equipment, toys, hats, hubcaps and more! Plus, some items to beware of...

While most homeowners use their dishwasher to clean dishes, cutlery, pots, and pans, some are pushing the envelope and asking far more of their dishwashers. A dishwasher can be an all-out cleaning machine if you know how to use it right. With a little research and a bit of courage, you can be cleaning everything from toys to hubcaps in your dishwasher. Just make sure you aren't mixing these items in with your regular dishes, unless you're okay with pasta sauce on your baseball cap!

Here are just a few ways you can use your dishwasher as a multi-purpose cleaning machine.

Car hubcaps and wheel covers

Hubcaps and wheel covers come squeaky clean when washed in the dishwasher. Use the pots and pans wash cycle for a deep cleaning.

Baseball hats

Place the hat on the top rack (this will help retain its shape). Use the normal wash cycle to clean the surface of the hat.


Pop off the keys and put them in the utensil container. Wrap the USB connector end in plastic to keep it dry. Lay the keyboard face-down on the top rack. Use the normal wash cycle and let the keyboard dry before putting the keys back on. The keyboard will be squeaky clean and germ-free.

Child/pet toys

Any toy made of hard plastic and not battery operated is dishwasher safe. Use the normal wash cycle to rid the toys of dirt and germs.

Plastic flip flops, rubber boots, and even Crocs

All types of plastic and rubber footwear is dishwasher safe and can be cleaned using the pots and pans wash cycle. Adding baking soda to the detergent dispenser will boost the cleaning power of your dishwasher.

Sporting equipment

Hockey pads, kneepads and shin guards can be cleaned and sterilized in the dishwasher. Use the normal wash cycle, but do not use detergent or the dry cycle.

Plastic, metal and glass wall shelving, refrigerator shelving, and storage bins

All are dishwasher safe and can be cleaned using the normal wash cycle.

Hand tools and garden tools

Providing that there is no rust or too much dirt buildup on the tools, they can be washed using the normal wash cycle. Prevent surface rust buildup by drying the tools when the wash cycle is complete.

Broom head and dustpan

All plastic types are dishwasher safe and will be revived after being washed on the normal cycle.

Household fans

Remove the face-plate/grill from the fan and lay it on the bottom shelf. Use the normal wash cycle. Dry off the faceplate/grill when the cycle is complete and the fan will be clean and dust-free.

Items That Surprisingly May Not Go in The Dishwasher

So, obviously your dishwasher is a lot more powerful than you'd expect, which is great, but also means you need to be careful. Some items may seem dishwasher safe, but require a little extra caution.

Travel Mugs and Flasks

While it may seem safe to throw your new Yeti, Hydroflask, or Nalgean bottle in with the dishes, you should be careful and check the manufacturer guidelines, and check the bottom of the bottle for any "dishwasher safe" indicators. When in doubt, hand-wash.

Hydroflasks are not dishwasher safe, while Yetis and Nalgenes are typically dishwasher safe, although you should still check the manufacturer's information, as not all models will be the same.

Tupperware and Plastic Containers

Although your Tupperware may seem sturdy, it is fairly weak to heat. They are considered "top-level safe", meaning you can put them at the top of your dishwasher, but if they come too close to the heating elements they can warp. Hand-washing is the best method if you have the time for it. If you are using another brand of plastic container, you can check the manufacturer's instructions and check the container for any "dishwasher safe" indicator.

Wow! Who knew a dishwasher could accomplish so much? If you try any of these innovative methods, just make sure to be careful, do your research, don't mix and match dishes with household items, and make sure your dishwasher is nice and clean before you go back to regular dish-washing. These are powerful machines and can do so much, but that also means you need to be careful with whatever you put in there. Make sure even with typical containers and culinary items to double check that they are dishwasher-safe, so you don't cover your fine china in melted plastic.

Happy Dishwashing!