It’s truly a multitasking appliance.

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You’ve bought your first home—congratulations! But, before you buy a new doormattear up the carpeting, or embark on a painting spree, you’ll want to make sure to give your new digs a deep clean. While this may seem like a daunting task, there’s a trusty kitchen appliance that can make the process a lot easier. We’re talking about your dishwasher. Yep, your dishwasher is your ace in the hole for getting things spick-and-span. 

Ahead, a room-by-room guide to using your dishwasher to clean your new home

But first, how to clean your dishwasher.

Before you start throwing doorknobs and glass globes in the dishwasher, you’ll want to make sure your dishwasher is actually clean. How can you tell? If your dishes are coming out cloudy, if your dishwasher smells a bit funky, or if you notice it’s not draining correctly, chances are it could use a little love.

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One tried-and-true method for freshening things up: Place a cup of white vinegar on the top rack of an empty dishwasher and run a normal cycle. Another option? Affresh Dishwasher Cleaner ($8 for six tablets on Amazon). These tablets get rave reviews for their ability to get the grimiest of appliances sparkling like new.

Now that that’s taken care of, here are 22 surprising things that could benefit from a dishwasher cycle.

San Francisco bathroom with bathtub and large window

Thomas J. Story

From the bathroom

1. Manicure/pedicure tools: An easy way to clean and sanitize after every use.

2. Combs and brushes: But no wood handles and natural bristles. 

3. Contact lens cases: Your eyes will thank you.

4. Bathroom accessories: Those soap and toothbrush holders are prime candidates.

Bainbridge Coastal Cottage Bunkroom

Thomas J. Story

From the kid’s (or pet’s) room

5. Mouthguards: Come back from the game and pop it in. 

6. Pacifiers, teething toys, etc.: The dishwasher is a new parent’s best friend. 

7. Plastic toys: Blocks, LEGOs, miniature figures, etc. For really tiny items, put them in a mesh bag to keep them contained. 

8. Plastic pet toys: The more disgusting, the better for your furry friend, but sometimes enough is enough.


Thomas J. Story

From the entryway

9. Unlined rubber boots: Give this hard-working pair a refresh. 

10. Flip flops, Crocs, etc.: These hard-working pieces of footwear get crusted in dirt, sand, salt, and more. Use the dishwasher to get them clean (and sanitized).

11. Keys: Did your keys collide with something sticky in the bottom of your purse? Reset with the dishwasher.

From the cleaning closet

12. Sponges and brushes: Clean those cleaners—and be sure to use the sanitize option.

13. Vacuum cleaner attachments: Wash away built-up dust, allergens, etc. for maximum cleaning power.

Ashland Living Room Storage

Thomas J. Story

From the rest of the house

14. Vases: Whether it’s cleaning off a layer of dust or getting the hard-to-reach bottom of a vase clean after a week or so of service, the dishwasher is up to the task. 

15. Outlet covers and switch plates: Extremely satisfying. 

16. Lighting fixture glass globes and shades: They come out sparkling and clear. 

17. Drawer organizers: These attract dust and crumbs in corners. A wash cycle solves the problem.

18. Exhaust fan covers: These go from gross to great in one wash cycle.

19. Knobs: Wash away grime, grease, and more from cabinet knobs, stove knobs, etc.

Big Green Egg

Hugh Garvey

From outside the house

20. Garden tools: Give them a quick rinse and pop them in the dishwasher to come out looking new. 

21. Planters and pots: Wash away residue and sanitize to kill any lingering fungus, etc. 

22. Grill grates: Give these a quick pre-scrub to lose any big stuck-on bits and be barbecue ready in a wash cycle. 

P.S. There are some things (including wood, copper, cast iron, and Pyrex) you should never put in your dishwasher. Find out more.

This article originally appeared on

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