|Check out 11 things you can put in the dishwasher, 8 things you thought could go in the dishwasher but really shouldn’t, and 3 items that are technically acceptable for the dishwasher, but a little to questionable to endorse. |
|Baseball caps can get bent in the washing machine but hold their shape in the dishwasher, especially inside a contraption like the Ball Cap Washer ($5, amazon.com). Don’t wash them with dishes; food can get trapped in the cloth. (Image by: Andrew McCaul) |
|Action figures and other small toys can ride in a mesh lingerie bag on the top rack (but don’t wash Barbie or she’ll have a horrible hair day). |
|Rain boots should have the liners removed and lie horizontally. Hook flip-flops on tines in the top rack. (FYI, Crocs are not dishwasher-safe.) (Image by: Anita Calero) |
|Tools with metal or plastic handles will be fine. Towel-dry afterward to prevent rusting. |
|Ceramic cabinet knobs do well in the silverware basket, so if you feel like embarking on the process (remove, wash, replace), go for it. |
|Hairbrushes and combs made of plastic can take a spin, but not wood or natural boar-bristle brushes. Be sure to remove all the hair first to protect the drain. (Image by: Anna Williams) |
|Fan grilles, switch plates, and vent covers are in if they’re plastic, aluminum, or steel. Enameled, painted, or plated should stay out. |
|Shin guards, knee pads, and mouth guards? Toss them all into the top rack. |
|Garden tools may have come in contact with pesticides or animals, so don’t mix them with a load of dishes. (And don’t wash those with wood handles.) (Image by: Ngoc Minh Ngo) |
|Light-fixture covers are fine in the top rack, as long as they’re not antique, enameled, or painted. |
|Potatoes can get nice and clean in the top rack with a rinse-only cycle (no detergent). Sound crazy? It makes mashed potatoes for 20 a lot quicker. |
|Cast-iron, enameled-cast-iron, and copper pots and pans are on the never list. Why? Cast iron rusts; enameled cast iron chips; copper dents. (Image by: Wendell T. Webber) |
|Formal dishes and nice flatware can get worn with repeated washings. Rule of thumb: If it’s something you would cry over harming or losing, don’t put it in. (If you do put sterling silver in the dishwasher, use about a tablespoon of detergent and don’t mix it with stainless-steel flatware; a chemical reaction between the metals can discolor the silver.) |
|Crystal glasses are especially vulnerable. Food particles can etch them; heat can cause cracks. After hand washing (it’s usually safer than using the china/crystal setting), dry with a cloth that hasn’t been laundered with fabric softener, which can leave a film. (Image by: Debra McClinton) |
|Wooden spoons can warp and crack. If you don’t mind replacing them frequently, throw them in; otherwise wash them in the sink. |
|Brass items should never see the inside of a dishwasher. Hot water can remove the natural protective layer that forms on brass. |
|Good kitchen knives and steak knives aren’t cheap. Why risk dulling their blades? (Image by: James Baigrie) |
|Wooden cutting boards can swell and contract, leaving them teetery and essentially useless on a counter. Most bamboo boards are susceptible, too. (But we found one that uses a heat-resistant adhesive, making it dishwasher-safe: Totally Bamboo GreenLite collection, $11.50 to $40, totallybamboo.com.) |
|Insulated mugs and containers feature vacuum seals, which can be destroyed if water seeps in. |
|Why you would: Because you spilled coffee on it. A crazy, last-resort attempt to save something that may be ruined, but some techies swear by it. Terry Jarrard, a computer programmer in Collinsville, Oklahoma, has washed his keyboards “at least a half-dozen times and never had a problem.” |
Why we wouldn't: We don’t believe in Santa Claus or unicorns, either.
If you're so inclined: Place the keyboard facedown on the top rack, don’t use detergent, and skip the drying cycle. Afterward, unscrew the back, if possible, or pop off the keys (take a picture beforehand so you remember where they go). Air-dry two to five days. Pray the Computer Fairy is looking down on you, then reassemble.
| Why you would: It’s the only way to get them clean. |
Why we wouldn't: Ick.
If you're so inclined: Shake loose dust into the trash first, says Shannon Lowe, the Tulsa-based author of the blog rocksinmydryer.typepad.com. Stick brushes and attachments in the silverware basket and broom ends and dust pans on top.
|Why you would: Because it’s an Internet cliché that happens to work. Impress friends! Make kids laugh! |
Why we wouldn't: Our food editors tested this “recipe,” and though the fish did cook, the dishwasher reeked afterward (shocker). Plus, you’re actually cooking the salmon with your crusty dishes and coffee-stained mugs.
If you're so inclined: Bob Blumer's Dishwasher Salmon Recipe.