5 things you didn't know you could put in your dishwasher

The lazy person's guide to what you don't have to wash by hand.

You want to wash what in the dishwasher?

Dishwashers are one of modern life's great conveniences. What's not to love about avoiding washing dishes by hand?

But some people take things a little too far in their quest for convenience, chucking unusual items in the dishwasher with gay abandon. Crazy or clever? It's hard to say.

Here are the top five most surprising items that you can put through your dishwasher. Whether or not you actually should is a very different matter.

1. Combs and hairbrushes

black hair combs on white background

As long as they don't have wooden handles, you can pop your combs and hair brushes into your dishwasher to sanitise them. Probably a good idea after you've dealt with an infestation of head lice. (Shudder.)

2. Lego

 colourful lego blocks on white background

If you're a parent of young children, your home will invariably be full of Lego. It'll also be full of childhood germs and bugs – and so will said Lego.

"You can disinfect the Lego by throwing it into a laundry bag and popping it on the top shelf of your dishwasher when you're doing a load," says Ash, CHOICE's resident dishwasher expert and parent of a Lego-obsessed four-year-old.

You can do this with any kind of plastic toys – just not the squeaky kind, as they'll just fill up with water and then get mouldy.

3. Computer keyboard and mouse

a washable computer keyboard

In some strange corners of the internet, you'll find sites suggesting that you can put your keyboard in the dishwasher to clean it. We did a quick poll of our IT team and they were all horrified at the thought.

Having said that, there are special keyboards and computer mice that are specifically designed to go in the dishwasher – they're completely sealed and are IP68 rated, which means they won't allow water or dust inside. They're most commonly used in medical settings or anywhere that hygiene is imperative. You can also buy 'washable' keyboards, but they're generally not dishwasher-safe.

"To clean a keyboard normally, you'd take off all the keys and use a brush or vacuum to get all the crumbs and dust out," says CHOICE test coordinator Elias. "But if you have a special sealed keyboard you can just chuck it in the dishwasher to clean it." 

"But if your keyboard isn't IP68 rated or the manufacturer doesn't specifically state that it's dishwasher-proof, then all bets are off."

So, there you have it: we don't recommend that you put your keyboard through a cycle, unless you have one that's specifically dishwasher-proof.

But there are other places you can stash your electronics.

"I have put my laptop in the freezer before," says Bec, CHOICE's IT manager.

"It was a really hot day at work and my computer overheated, so I put it in the freezer for a few minutes to cool it down."

4. Your dinner

poached salmon on a white plate

We're not sure exactly why you'd want to cook your dinner in the dishwasher, but if the mood takes you, it's good to know that you can.

Ash, our dishwasher guru, whipped up a two-course meal in the CHOICE whitegoods lab and was pleasantly surprised with the result.

5. Toilet seat

a white toilet seat on white background

This one definitely falls under the 'just because you can doesn't mean you should' category. As in, sure, you can wash your toilet seat in the dishwasher, but should you?

This YouTuber not only washed his toilet seat in the dishwasher — he then ate his lunch off the freshly-washed toilet seat. Something tells us his friends frequently decline his dinner party invitations.

While we definitely don't recommend cleaning your toilet seat in the dishwasher, if you absolutely must then you'll want to load it correctly to make sure it gets clean.

Check out our article on how to load a dishwasher for advice on the best way to stack.

And more…

We asked CHOICE staff what they've put in the dishwasher. Here's what they said:

  • We regularly put our plastic dishwashing brush through the dishwasher. My partner put the Wettex cloth through too, but I'm not convinced that's a good idea. – Alana
  • A small fish tank. We wash the rocks and gravel away in the sink first so it's 'clean', then put it face down on the bottom rack. – Simon
  • The drawer of my washing machine where you add the detergent, and plastic-coated wire shower racks that hold your shampoo etc. –Rachel
  • Flip flops. As long as they're the rubber/plastic ones and not leather. – Martha
  • I put my plastic dishwashing brush in every wash. Stops it from getting yucky. It's also good for Lego bricks that are placed in a washing bag. – Uli
  • I put the filters from my kitchen extractor fan in there. – Marg
  • The trivets from our gas cooktop and the dish draining rack get chucked in our dishwasher whenever I remember. Much easier than washing by hand. – Alice
  • Kitchen sponges: put them in when you're putting a load on. It'll give them a good freshen up. – Ash

If you're going to put a dishwasher through its paces, you're going to need one that's up to the challenge. Find out which dishwashers we recommend in our dishwasher reviews.

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