Dog collar, dish scrub brush and a sponge inside a dishwasher

7 things you can actually wash in the dishwasher

We all know that the dishwasher is a timesaver when it comes to cleaning dishes. But what you might not know is that the dishwasher may also be able to clean a few surprising items. From kids toys to sports equipment, read on below to discover how a Whirlpool® dishwasher can handle a variety of household items and take care of the cleaning for you.

Surprising things you can clean in your dishwasher

Your Whirlpool® dishwasher is designed to help you take on your family’s messes, and it may be able to clean more than just cups and plates. With a quick wash cycle and a little bit of know-how, your dishwasher may be one of the most versatile appliances in your home.

A variety of items being washed on the top shelf of a dishwasher

1. Kitchen tools & items

A dishwasher can help you tidy your kitchen by cleaning more than just dishes and cookware. If you’ve had a spillover in your microwave, you may be able to give the turntable a proper clean by adding it to your load of dishes. Silicone trivets with food splatters and stains can also be added to your dishwasher if stated on the product’s packaging.


It’s also possible to give your kitchen’s cleaning tools a quick spruce-up with the help of your dishwasher. Scrub brushes used to clean your dishes can be added to the utensil holder of your dishwasher. To freshen up kitchen sponges, you can put the sponges in the microwave or add them to the top rack of your dishwasher. Select Whirlpool® dishwashers like the Quiet Dishwasher with 3rd Rack offer 35%1 more rack space so you can fit your family’s dishes along with your other kitchen tools in one load.

Bathroom accessories on the top rack of a dishwasher

2. Bathroom accessories

The accessories in your bathroom might need some cleaning after every day wear-and-tear and may benefit from a dishwasher cycle. Many toothbrush holders, soap dispensers and soap dishes are top-rack dishwasher safe and can be added in along with a load of dishes. You can also put small plastic shower caddies in your dishwasher to help temporarily remove mildew growth.

Kids toys and accessories on the top rack of a dishwasher

3. Kids toys & accessories

You may be able to give your child’s favorite sippy cups, placemats and even some plastic toys a thorough cleaning by running them through the dishwasher. Toys made with thick plastic like bath toys are typically dishwasher safe and can be added to the top rack along with a load of dishes. Never place toys with electronic components in the dishwasher. Always check product labels to ensure that these items are safe to clean in your dishwasher.


The Whirlpool® 51 dBA Quiet Dishwasher with 3rd Rack offers an Adjustable 2nd Rack to accommodate tall or unusually shaped items, like childrens’ toys, and a 3rd Rack that allows you to load smaller or hard-to-fit items so you can get more of your dishes and utensils clean in a single cycle.

Home decor on the top rack of a dishwasher

4. Home decor

There are many home decor items that you can possibly clean inside your dishwasher. Light fixtures, vases, candle holders, outlet covers, pencil cups and even small trash cans may benefit from a proper dishwasher clean depending on their material. Wood, non-stainless steel, some plastics, thin glass and painted items should never be washed in a dishwasher. You should always consult the product’s label or website to see if an item is dishwasher safe before loading it into your appliance.

Pet accessories on the top rack of the dishwasher

5. Pet accessories

Depending on the material of your pet’s toys and food bowls, you may be able to wash them in the dishwasher. Pet toys made of hard plastic and rubber are typically dishwasher safe and can be loaded into your dishwasher on the top rack. You can also use your dishwasher to wash treat canisters and food bowls made of ceramic, stainless steel or certain types of plastic. To avoid any cross-contamination, you may choose to wash pet items separately from your family’s dishes.


The Fingerprint Resistant Dishwasher with 3rd Rack & Large Capacity from Whirlpool brand offers a 3rd Rack with Extra Wash Action that provides targeted cleaning for items loaded on the upper racks.

Sports equipment on the top rack of a dishwasher

6. Sports equipment

From mouth guards to golf balls, you may be able to clean your family’s sports equipment in the dishwasher. Items like athletic cups, shin guards, mouth guards and golf balls might benefit from being cleaned through a dishwasher cycle. You may want to separate plastic or rubber pieces from any foam or fabric before cleaning them in a dishwasher as it is not recommended to use a dishwasher to wash fabric items. Since these items come into contact with sweat, dirt and mud, you may want to wash them separately from your dishes to avoid cross-contamination.


Always remember to check care labels and product websites to ensure that these items are safe to clean in your dishwasher.


Grooming tools in the utensil holder of a dishwasher

7. Grooming tools

Hair brushes and combs can collect buildup from your hair products, which may leave you wondering how to get them clean. Plastic brushes and combs can be washed in the dishwasher separately from your dishes after you have cleared them of any remaining hair. Your dishwasher can also help you clean your metal manicure and pedicure tools to help keep your nail care supplies sanitary. Grooming tools with wooden handles or natural bristles should never be washed in a dishwasher. 


Select Whirlpool® dishwashers offer the Sani Rinse Option that is certified to eliminate 99.999% of food soil bacteria by reaching a final rinse temperature above 150ºF to sanitize dishes.

Can I use my dishwasher as a washing machine?

No, it is not recommended to use your dishwasher as a washing machine. Dishwashers and dishwasher detergents are not designed to wash clothes and will not get your clothes clean. Always consult your product manual and warranty before cleaning anything other than dishes in your dishwasher.

How do I avoid cross-contamination when washing other things in my dishwasher?

To prevent cross-contamination from occurring in your dishwasher, it is recommended that you wash items other than dishes in a separate load, then cleaning your dishwasher before adding dishes for the next load.

Shop all types of Whirlpool® dishwashers

Dishwashers from Whirlpool brand can help you stay on top of dish duty with innovative features that get dishes, cookware, utensils and glasses clean and dry. Browse select models with the Sani Rinse Option that helps eliminate food soil bacteria and the 3rd Rack that adds more dish capacity to your appliance.

Learn more about kitchen & household cleaning from Whirlpool brand

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1. Compared to Whirlpool® Dishwashers without a third level rack.