10 Things You Can Actually Clean in Your Dishwasher

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Your dishwasher is more versatile than you might think. Some people even cook fish in them, though dishwasher salmon might fall into the category of "just because you can doesn't mean you should." Still, the dishwasher is surprisingly useful for cleaning a ton of household items. Just to be safe, run separate loads for dishes and nonfood-related items.

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1. Bathroom Accessories

If it lives in your bathroom, it needs regular deep cleaning. Your toothbrush holder, soap holder/dispenser, tissue box holder and other smaller bathroom accessories may be run through the dishwasher if they're made of plastic or glass. Wooden items or anything delicate shouldn't be put in the dishwasher.

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2. Golf Balls

Your dirtiest golf balls may become your cleanest after a quick trip through your dishwasher's cycle. Either place golf balls in a single layer on the top rack or put the balls in a mesh bag and put the entire bag on the top rack. Stubborn streaks and spots may not be removed this way, but it's an easy method for washing a big batch at once.

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3. Dish-Drying Rack

Even if you only use a towel when your body is clean, you still wash your towels, and even though it only touches clean dishes, your dish-drying rack needs cleaning too. As long as it's metal or plastic, it shouldn't be damaged by going through the dishwasher.

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4. Plastic Hair Tools and Accessories

Parents of young kids are all too familiar with the protocols following a lice outbreak. They're often advised to run brushes, combs and plastic hair accessories through the dishwasher because the high heat will kill anything lingering on these items. Use the dishwasher to keep your favorite plastic hair tools clean but don't use this method for bristle brushes.

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5. Vacuum Attachments

Keeping your vacuum attachments clean helps you keep every room of your home clean. Plus, regularly cleaning the vacuum prevents odors from starting. Certain removable vacuum parts may be safe to run through your dishwasher. Check the instruction manual first to see what the manufacturer suggests.

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6. Pet Toys and Dishes

You love your pets, but handling their slimy toys ... not so much. Many pet accessories are dishwasher safe. Hard plastic and rubber toys may be sanitized in the dishwasher. Stuffed toys and rope toys shouldn't be cleaned this way. Don't use detergent; the high heat is enough to kill germs. Pet bowls and feeders are often dishwasher safe too.

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7. Refrigerator Shelves and Drawers

The shelves and drawers of your fridge can get really grimy really quickly, and have you ever tried to wash these big, unwieldy items in your kitchen sink? Water gets everywhere, you get frustrated and your fridge may not get truly clean. Pop those shelves and drawers into the dishwasher so they're completely sanitized and sparkling.

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8. Shower Loofahs

Have you ever cleaned your shower loofah? You probably haven't because there's no obvious way to clean the thing that you use to clean your body. Considering that the warm, damp shower makes a perfect environment for bacteria to flourish, sanitizing your loofah should be a very frequent occurrence. Dishwasher to the rescue!

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9. Kids' Toys

It's not exactly controversial to say that little kids can be gross. They put toys in their mouths, grab them with sticky hands and share them with their equally sticky little friends. Sanitizing toys in the dishwasher gets them clean and ready to go before the next round of play begins. Hard plastic and rubber toys are often dishwasher safe; check the packaging just to be safe.

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10. Manicure/Pedicure Tools

Your favorite salon is (hopefully) diligent about cleaning and sanitizing nail tools between uses. There's no reason you shouldn't be just as careful at home. Keep these tools clean so you don't introduce bacteria to the delicate skin around your nails. Place metal or plastic manicure and pedicure tools in the utensil compartment of your dishwasher.

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