By now you know that your hair dryer and your microwave can do way more around the house than frizz your locks and zap your coffee (if not, check out Multi-Use Bathroom Tech: The Hair Dryer & 12 Home Hacks for Your Microwave). But did you know your dishwasher has some multi-tasking skills of its own? Check out our list of 14 home hacks for your dishwasher.
Sure, some of these involve putting dirty or edible items into a place that should remain fairly clean and soapy. But that's why we've brain-filed tips about cleaning your dishwasher with Lemonade Kool-Aid and removing stubborn odors, right?
Wash baseball caps.
The Ball Cap Buddy Cap Washer is designed to let baseball hats keep their shape inside the washing machine or dishwasher. But even without one, the dishwasher can keep our cap in shape.
Finally get your dustpans and vacuum attachments clean. We know, gross. But there's no other way to get them spotless, right? Shake any loose dust into a trash bin, then place brushes and attachments in the silverware caddy and dustpans on the top rack.
Keep makeup brushes dirt-free.
Makeup brushes collect oil and bacteria that—surprise!—clog your pores and lead to acne. Run them through the dishwasher for clean brushes and clear skin. Then air dry them, if necessary.
Prep potatoes for holiday cooking.
No, it's not going to cook them for you, but you can easily wash a ton of potatoes or veggies for a big meal (we've heard Alton Brown loves the D.W. for cleaning greens) by sending them through a rinse-only cycle with no detergent.
Cook entire meals.
The potatoes might not be done when the dishwasher clicks off, but there's a surprising number of meals you can cook in the convection of a dishwasher. Here's recipes for Dishwasher Lasagna and Dishwasher Salmon with Cilantro Sauce.
Clean the germs off of cabinet handles.
The ceramic and metal cabinet knobs and pulls in the kitchen can be covered in bacteria. Send 'em through the dishwasher in the silverware caddy. But anything enameled, painted, or plated should stay out.
Wash fan grilles, switch plates and vent covers.
They're always filthy. But if they're plastic, aluminum or steel—but again, not enameled, painted or plated—they're easy to clean. Send them through the dishwasher for a spin.
Use it to air-dry.
If your dishwasher is empty in the middle of a cleaning spree, leave it open with the trays pulled out to air-dry and strain your hand-washed dishes, pots and pans.
Refresh your kitchen sponge.
Drop one in with the dishes to kill odors and get your kitchen sponge clean.
Clean your computer keyboard.
With the keyboard face down on the top rack, send it through a rinse cycle without detergent and skip the drying cycle. Then pop off the keys and let it air dry face down for a few days.
Get shiny hubcaps.
If you're too busy (or too boushy) to scrub that tire grime yourself, run your hubcaps and wheel covers in the dishwasher on the pots-and-pans cycle for shiny rims.
Sterilize kids' and pets' toys.
In a mesh bag, action figures and other small toys (like a puppy Kong toy stuffed with peanut butter) can get a quick, thorough cleaning with a cycle through the dishwasher. Just make sure to be on the look for things that might melt, like anything with doll hair.
Hard-to-clean hairbrushes can take a spin.
Just make sure you follow a few guidelines: Brushes and combs made of plastic are good to go, but not anything made of wood or natural boar-bristle brushes. And make extra sure to remove all the hair from them first to protect the drain.
Use it for storage.
If your dishwasher is broken (or you're a hand-wash-only household), use it like an extra cabinet. It's a great home for tupperware!
(Images: Baseball caps, DailyDanny.com; makeup brushes, TheGloss.com; dishwasher lasagna, PartSelect.com; dishwasher salmon, CleanerPlateClub.com; air-dry plates, WAToday.com; keyboard, ShoppingBlog.com; Kongs, TheFunTimesGuide.com.)