You've finally learned how to load it correctly, but are you really taking full advantage of your dishwasher's scour power? A dishwasher can reach 155 degrees Fahrenheit to kill bacteria — just the ticket for sanitizing some of the more unsavory items in your household. Tossing these 10 soiled staples in the dishwasher will save time when hand washing or the washing machine just doesn't hold water.
Rubber boots and flip flops*. Freshen your step from summer's sweaty buildup by placing shoes horizontally in the dishwasher rack (make sure to remove the boot liners before hitting START). Add a little baking soda to the mix for extra deep cleaning.
Plastic hair brushes. To zap all the dirt, skin and debris that collect in the bristles, first use a comb to remove all the excess hair. Then, toss brushes in the quickest cycle available and finish the job by running the dry cycle. Note: Do not wash brushes with wooden handles
Stove burner grates. A hassle to clean by hand but a dream to throw in your dishwasher's bottom rack.
Potatoes. Yes, potatoes! Lay them flat in a dish or place them on the top rack and give them a bath in the rinse cycle sans detergent. A lifesaver during the holidays.
Baseball caps*. While caps can lose their shape in the washing machine, they do magnificently well in the dishwasher. The normal cycle is all it takes to tidy up these toppers.
Athletic accessories*. There's nothing like the smell of ripe sports paraphernalia to make the whole family run screaming out the door. Shin guards and knee pads are safe for the top rack. Just skip the dry cycle.
Dish sponges. Often the germiest frenemies in the entire kitchen, dish sponges can be successfully sanitized in the dishwasher with the rest of your dishes through a full wash and dry cycle.
Plastic or metal-handle garden tools. No wooden handles, please.
Refrigerator shelving. Newer models are usually dishwasher safe, but consult your user's manual to be certain. You may have to do some maneuvering to fit the shelves in the bottom rack.
Toothbrushes*. Sterilize brushes in the top rack. Your dentist will thank you.
*Avoid washing with dirty dishes
Tip: items that should NOT be placed in the dishwasher include:
Wood (it warps)
Cast iron (it rusts)
Crystal (it cracks)