As anyone with kids—especially babies and toddlers—knows, all that feeding gear seems to come with tiny bits and pieces that need to be disassembled and individually sanitized. When you've got a newborn, buying a sterilizer might feel like it makes sense, but by the time your kids are older, you've moved it out of the way to make room for other gear. And even as adults, there are all kinds of random items—water bottle tops, lids to tiny food storage containers, and the like—that really should be properly cleaned and not just given the occasional rinse.
The dishwasher is the logical solution. It cleans and sanitizes beyond my own abilities (or at least, beyond my threshold for patience at the kitchen sink). But those little bits and pieces can easily get dislodged and re-lodged into unideal spots.
Fortunately, there is a cheap and surprising way to wash all those items in the dishwasher—without sending them to the depths of your dishwasher. And it comes from the laundry aisle: I'm talking about little mesh laundry bags.
Although these bags are designed to protect delicate unmentionables (your bras and undies!) in the washing machine, they serve a similar role in the kitchen: They keep small and fragile items from getting lost in the fray, while still allowing hot water and soap to do their magic.
Just load up the pouch and put it on the top rack of the dishwasher (many of these pieces are plastic or silicone and that's where you'd put them for a cycle anyway). This way, the items can get cleaned and the bag will keep them contained.
Here's a tip, though—don't pack the bag super full. Spread the items out as well as you can over the rack so that the water can get in there. One more tip: Maybe don't also use this bag for the laundry. I mean, you could (it gets clean during the cycle!), but it just seems a little odd to use the same pouch for undies and spoons, doesn't it?
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This post originally ran on Kitchn. See it there: The $4 Amazon Buy That Will Make Your Dishwasher 100 Percent Better