15 things you can wash in the dishwasher you wish you'd known about

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Most people don't rank spending hours scrubbing and cleaning miscellaneous objects as one of their favorite pastimes. Fortunately, many homes are equipped with a dishwasher that, despite its name, can clean much more than your plates and cups.
Before you whip out the rubber gloves and sponges to start scrubbing the floor mats in your car, check out this list of 15 things you can wash in your dishwasher.
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1. Hubcaps
Not sure this one actually saves a lot of time since you actually have to remove them from your vehicle, but if you want to get them really clean, toss these in the dishwasher. Just make sure to wash them separately from your dishes and run the washer empty for a cycle afterward to be safe.
2. Toys
Kid toys need to be cleaned (especially if your tots are still shoving their favorites into their mouths). Instead of washing them by hand, put them in the dishwasher. You may want to stuff smaller toys in nylons to keep them from tossing around inside the dishwasher.
3. Ziploc bags
If you're keen on using zipper bags for food storage and transportation but you'd like to be a little more eco-friendly, toss zipper storage bags in the dishwasher. Just turn the heat down, and don't dry them using the heating setting on your dishwasher.
4. Tools
Sanitizing garden tools and tools from the workshop is a great way to make sure they stay in top shape longer. Run them on the hottest cycle with regular dish detergent.
5. Plastic hairbrushes
Running a brush or comb through product-filled hair makes your brushes gunky in a snap. Don't toss them out. Instead, toss them in the silverware holder of your dishwasher and run through a regular cycle.
6. Sponges
Your kitchen sponges should be washed and sanitized regularly to eliminate bacteria and reduce the risk of illnesses. Help them last a little longer by tossing them in the dishwasher and running through a regular cycle with your dishes. ​
7. Drip pans
Covering those babies up with tin foil only helps so much. Keep your drip pans spic and span by tossing them in the dishwasher every few weeks. Even GE recommends tossing them in the dishwasher!
8. Floor mats
Be kind to your arms and skip scrubbing those nasty car mats by hand! Lay them in your dishwasher and run on a regular cycle. Make sure you remove any debris before putting them into the dishwasher.
9. Glass light fixture coverings
The next time you're spring cleaning, toss that glass light fixture covering into your dishwasher for a scrub. Let it wash while you clean the rest of your house, and you may find your light bulbs are a bit brighter than you thought. Just remember to never put any wire or electrical components in the dishwasher.
10. Shoes
You can give most shoes a quick wash by putting them in the dishwasher. You'll want to avoid leather and suede because the material can crack or shrink.
11. Vent covers
While you're washing your light coverings, take your vent covers and toss them in the dishwasher too. You'll save yourself a lot of frustration and have vent covers so clean your mother-in-law will be jealous!
12. Vacuum cleaner attachments
If you want to amp up your vacuum power (and reduce allergens in your home) you should regularly wash your vacuum cleaner attachments. But there's no need to scrub them by hand -- just fit them into the dishwasher and run on a normal cycle.
13. Keys
Remember that time you accidentally dropped your keys onto the nasty bathroom floor at that hole-in-the-wall bar? Or how about the 12 times you've dropped them in the parking lot while juggling groceries? Your keys are germ central. Get rid of the nasty germs by washing your keys in the silverware compartment of your dishwasher. Note: Keep any key with electronic components out of the dishwasher.
14. Flip flops
Give your favorite summer footwear a quick refresh by hooking the strap over the bowl hooks on the top shelf and running on a regular cycle. If your shoes are plastic, you should probably skip the dry cycle to avoid melting or cracking.
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15. Contact lens cases
Ignoring your contact lens case can be very hazardous for your health. You should sanitize them completely at least once a month. Remove the lids and toss them all in the silverware compartment. Run on a full cycle at the hottest temperature -- even 1800Contacts approves!
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