By Barbara Pronin
When the sink is full of dirty dishes, your dishwasher may be your best friend. But, point out the editors at Real Simple Magazine, you may not be aware of how many other useful things your dishwasher can do.
Here are a few examples:
Baseball caps – Don’t you hate it when they get crushed or bent out of shape after a spin in the clothes washer? But that favorite cap will look like clean and new again after a top-rack cycle in the dishwasher. (Don’t wash it along with dirty dishes. Food particles can get trapped in the fabric.)
Action figures and other small toys – If your little hero’s had them out in the dirt or mud, get them squeaky clean by throwing them into a mesh laundry bag and giving them a ride in the dishwasher’s top rack. (Don’t wash Barbie or she could have a really bad hair day.)
Flip-flops and children’s rain boots – Get rid of sand or mud in the dishwasher. Hook dirty flip-flops onto the top rack’s tines. Lay boots (without liners) flat in the top rack. (Tip: Crocs do not like to be washed.)
Plastic hairbrushes and combs – Remove any hair to protect the drain, then sanitize your polyurethane brushes with a top-rack spin. (Do not wash brushes with wooden handles or natural boar-brush bristles)
Fan grilles, switchplates and vent covers – Clean them in the dishwasher safely if they are plastic, aluminum or steel. (Your air conditioning filter may be dishwasher-safe as well. Follow manufacturer’s directions.)
Shin guards, knee pads and mouth guards – Toss them all into the top rack to wash away mud and grime.
Garden tools – Unless they have wooden handles, small garden tools are safe in the dishwasher. (Since they may have come in contact with pesticides, don’t throw them in with a load of dishes.)