6 Unconventional Uses for your Dishwasher

A rundown of the most unconventional uses for your home dishwasher.


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It takes the right mix of ingenuity and desperation to discover new uses for old tools, but whoever first tried steaming a salmon fillet in their dishwasher must’ve been drunk. For folks who are curious about what else their kitchen contraptions can do, here’s a rundown of the most unconventional uses for your home dishwasher.

Steam Fish Fillets

The best part about steaming fish in your dishwasher—other than novelty of steaming fish in your dishwasher—is how simple it is. All you need to do is season a cut of your favorite fish, wrap it (tightly!) in aluminum foil, place it in the top rack, and allow it to run through an entire normal cycle. There’s no single recipe that works best; just make sure you wrap it tight enough to keep water out. Also, don’t forget to engage the dry cycle, and for the love of fish don’t load the detergent!


Make this meal in your dishwasher—but don’t load the detergent!

If you’re feeling extra adventurous, check out these recipes for dishwasher lasagna and dishwasher potatoes. There’s a whole culture of dishwasher chefs with too much time on their hands!

Wash Baseball Caps

Baseball caps can fade and become misshapen in traditional washing machines. So instead of washing them that way, try loading them in the top rack of your dishwasher and running it on a full cycle. Of course, you don’t want to run the machine with dirty dishes in it; this will just spray food all over your precious Diamondbacks hat.

For fledgling roller derby enthusiasts, you can also clean knee pads, shin guards, and other sports equipment in your dishwasher. But we don’t recommend putting your jock strap in there. That’s just gross.

Clean Footwear

Okay, so maybe this is crossing the line, but some people aren’t weirded out by feet. We wouldn’t suggest tossing sweaty running shoes in your dishwasher, but flip-flops and rain boots are fair game. (Crocs, however, are not—does anybody still wear those anyway?) Just remove any lining, hang them from the top rack and run them through a full cycle—and don’t forget the dry cycle.

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One cycle in the dishwasher will clean up dirty rainboots, no problem.

Wash Tools

A proud man or woman will frown upon the idea of a pristine, unblemished tool kit, but sometimes your little analog gadgets need to be rinsed of all that gunk, mold, and rust. They can be placed anywhere in the tub (preferably the top rack); just make sure you don’t load any tools with wooden handles—metal and plastic only.

Sterilize Toys and Other Nasty Home Products

Action figures, brushes, dog toys, and even sponges—these are all notoriously filthy items found around the average home, and they can all be washed (more importantly, sanitized) in your dishwasher. Place small items in mesh bags, sponges in the cutlery basket, and be sure to rid brushes of all hair. Also, be wary of the high temperatures that Sanitize cycles reach (upwards of 155 degrees Fahrenheit), as you don’t want to melt the face off your daughter’s Barbie dolls… Or do you?

Clean With... Kool-Aid?


It’s ironic that your dishwasher—a machine devoted to cleaning dishware—can itself get dirty. Apartment Therapy recommends using Kool-Aid drink mix (that’s right, Kool-Aid drink mix) to rinse out lime deposits and iron stains. Just empty a packet of the Lemonade flavor into the detergent dispenser and give it a go. As the big guy would say, Ohhhh yeah!

The fact that this popular sugary beverage can help clean stainless steel interiors makes us worry about what it can do to our stomachs, but we’ll leave that for Mythbusters.

Do you use your dishwasher in any odd or unconventional ways? Share them with us in the comments section below!

Photo: qlinart, Flickr [CC-BY-3.0]

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