Surprising Things You Can Put in Your Dishwasher

Its name can be misleading, but your dishwasher is an effective way to get rid of dirt and bacteria from a variety of household items. Check out these 5 surprising things you can put in your dishwasher for cleaning and sanitizing:

1. Kitchen Sponges

Your cleaning tools need cleaning, too. Try giving your sponges and scrub brushes a break and let the dishwasher give them a good cleaning. Without a clean brush, you could be making your dishes dirtier instead of cleaner thanks to all those old food particles hiding inside.

2. Plastic Toys

Some children toys can be placed in the dishwasher to get clean.All those action figures and toys your kids are playing with can be full of germs and dirt. When children put items in their mouths, they can transfer bacteria to the toys that’ll be there longer than you think. Most items should be placed in a mesh bag on the top rack, and they’ll come out sanitized and like new.

3 .Sports Equipment

Sports equipment and hats can go in the dishwasher.Yes, that mouth guard or those filthy volleyball kneepads can be placed in the dishwasher. That hat you always wear running can take a beating, too. Though securing a hat in the top rack where your coffee mugs normally sit may seem strange, the dishwasher will do its job and your athletic equipment will be clean and odor-free.

4. Kitchen Cupboard Knobs

Kitchen cupboard drawers can go int he dishwasher to get clean.Think of everything you touch in a day. Think of all of those germs sitting in your kitchen. You often open cupboards and touch multiple handles and knobs while cooking, so these can become a haven for germs and bacteria. Food contamination, where it’s raw food contaminating your kitchen or kitchen germs contaminating your food, is a real health hazard. Giving kitchen fixtures a good cleaning every so often will keep your space cleaner and help you stay healthy. All you need to do is unscrew them and secure them in your dishwasher—a mesh bag will work for this, too.

5. Gardening Tools

Gardening tools can go in the dishwasher to get clean.Is all that dirt really cleaned off your gardening trowel? Your gardening tools are a prime place for germs and can result in fungus transfers from plant to plant. When you’re ready to take a short break, shake the dirt off your small gardening tools and throw them in the dishwasher.

Your dishwasher is an efficient cleaning method for a variety of items, but sometimes it has problems of its own.


Maintain Your Washer and Dryer

Here are some tips on how to take care of your washer and dryer, courtesy of

Your washer and dryer are two of the hardest-working appliances in your home. Keep them in good working condition, and they’ll add loads of convenience to your life for years to come. Read this guide for easy ways to maintain your washer and dryer.

Problem #1: Your Washer Rattles and Walks During the Spin Cycle

Though most machines jiggle occasionally because of an unbalanced load, a machine that shakes, rattles or shuts off during the spin cycle may not be level.

How to Level a Washing Machine: Stop a walking washer, and end up with cleaner clothes in the process, by leveling the machine in five steps:

  1. Use a carpenter’s level to check whether the machine is level side-to-side and front-to-back. Place the level along all four edges of the appliance to determine which leg or legs need to be adjusted.
  2. Working with a partner, slide the washing machine about a foot away from the wall. Be careful not to strain any cords or hoses.
  3. Tip the washer and place a block of wood under the corner for support. Use a wrench or pliers to adjust the foot. Typically, turning the foot counterclockwise lowers it, while turning it clockwise raises it.
  4. As necessary, remove and reposition the block to other corners of the washer to adjust other feet.
  5. After adjusting all feet, remove the block entirely and check to see if the washer is level. Run a test load of laundry. If the washer stays in place, the machine is now level. Once the load is finished and the washer has been leveled, slide the washer back into position.

    Problem #2: Your Washer’s Water Supply Hoses Are Old or Worn

    The rubber hoses that supply hot and cold water to your washer can become brittle over time, potentially leading to flooding.

    How to Prevent Supply Hose Disasters: Avoid coming home to find a flooded laundry room by following a few simple steps:

    1. Check your hoses once a year for kinks, cracks, stiffness or brittleness.
    2. Replace old hoses with stainless steel-clad hoses, or for a less-expensive alternative, try hoses with mesh-wrapped ends.
    3. Keep your washer at least four inches away from the wall so the supply and drain hoses don’t become kinked.

    Problem #3: Your Dryer Takes Forever to Dry

    If your clothes aren’t drying well or there’s excess moisture in your laundry room, you probably have a blocked dryer vent.

    How to Clean a Dryer Vent:

    1. Every three to six months, disconnect the exhaust pipe and remove any lint.
    2. Run a flexible dryer vent brush or a vacuum hose through the pipe to remove as much lint as possible.
    3. Make sure the outdoor area where the tube vent is free of obstructions.

    Problem #4: Your Washer Has an Odor

    Prevent odors caused by bacteria:

    • Top-Loader: Leave the lid up to help dry it out.
    • Front-Loader: Towel-dry the washer drum and rubber gasket after removing wet laundry. Leave the door open until the drum is completely dry.

    Tips to Increase the Life of Your Washer and Dryer

    1. Don’t overload it. When washers and dryers are overloaded they perform inefficiently. Break big loads up into smaller piles to extend the life of the motor and use less energy.

    2. Use it or lose it. If you’re not planning to use your washer for an extended period of time, turn off the water flow to the washer. Otherwise, constant water pressure may cause or exacerbate leaks.

    3. Give it some air. Over time, small amounts of stagnant water can lead to mildew and odors. Leave the lid open between washings to allow the drum to dry.

    4. Soap is for interiors, not exteriors. Clean spills quickly, as most appliances are painted with synthetic enamel that may be damaged by chlorine bleach, ammonia, solvents and other chemicals.