How To Cook Salmon In Your Dishwasher and Other Surprising Uses!

About a year ago our dishwasher RUDELY stopped working! I was actually quite upset with this appliance because it wasn’t that old. In PROTEST I decided I would simply stop using a dishwasher!  I’d show THAT appliance who was boss!!  HA! I ended up eating those words with a large helping of CROW! I was practically begging the hubster to find us a new/used one after less than a week.

Not surprisingly he was ALL FOR the idea…because as domestically blissful as it sounds to wash and dry the dishes together after a meal…it isn’t! :-)

Washing and drying everything by hand just made us grumpy. Grumpy and bitter.

Since that time I can honestly say I’ve never taken my dishwasher for granted. But I HAVE, apparently, underestimated its’ capabilities!! I recently came across several articles and forum threads listing surprising things you can use your dishwasher for BESIDES just washing dishes!

Some of them are little bit of a stretch…but a lot of them are downright SMART!  So I knew I had to share them with you….because I know you like smart ideas as much as I do. :-)

cap shaper

#1 Baseball caps.

This one is probably the ONLY thing I’ve ever heard of putting in the dishwasher that isn’t dishes. Makes sense. Baseball caps are usually ruined in the washing machine, but will hold their shape pretty well in the dishwasher, especially if you use a Cap Shaper thingie (this one is $6 on




#2 Potatoes.  

If you’re in charge of the mashed potatoes for the next Thanksgiving Dinner, instead of washing each one individually by hand….try placing them on the top rack of your dishwasher (NO soap!) and running them through on the rinse cycle. Makes mashed potatoes for a crowd MUCH quicker!



#3  Salmon.

Just wrap it well in foil with your favorite marinade. Make sure it is well sealed. Run an entire cycle, including dry. (Of course, do NOT add soap.) The salmon will be steamed perfectly, very moist and delicious with no smell in the kitchen at all.



#4  Garden Tools. 

Garden tools and household tools with plastic handles can go in the dishwasher. Wash them separately if they have had any chemicals on them.



#5  Sporting Equipment. 

Shin-guards, knee-pads and mouth-guards can all go on the top rack.



#6  Warming Oven.

If you’re entertaining and don’t have enough ovens to keep everything warm, just put the dishwasher on HEAT/DRY CYCLE, NO WATER and you have a makeshift “warming oven”.



#7  Vacuum Attachments.  

Shake loose dust into the trash first, stick the attachments in the silverware basket.

#8  Hairbrushes, Combs and Hair Accessories.

Hairbrushes and combs made of plastic can go in the cutlery tray, but not wood or natural boar-bristle brushes. Be sure to remove all the hair first to protect the drain.



#9 Plastic Toys.  

Little plastic toys and action figures can be tossed into the cutlery closure, plastic basket or in a mesh bag. Works for pet toys too!



#10  Flip Flops, Wellies, and Crocs. 

Run a wash with a little baking soda added to clean your plastic footwear.



#11  Vent Covers and Fan Grills.  

Instead of trying to clean inside all the grooves, remove them and run them through a dishwasher cycle.



#12  Window Screens.  

If it fits in the dishwasher you’ll save all that tedious detail washing and blast though dust and grime in one dishwasher cycle.




#13  Light Fixture Covers.

Wash on gentle setting. Much easier than dusting them.




#14  Refrigerator Shelving.  

Most modern refrigerator shelving is designed to be dishwasher safe (older appliances are likely not). Removal of the top dishwasher rack may be necessary to fit shelves in properly.


NOTE:  For most of these items, it’s best to wash them separately and not with your regular dishes.  And don’t forget to clean your dishwasher every few months (even if you’re not using it to clean anything but dishes!) to ensure your washer stays germ and bacteria free.

Some ideas and suggestions taken from and


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  1. Michelle says

    If you have a gas stove, you can pop the burner covers/grates from the top into the dishwasher. They get burned-on gunky stuff. Just put them in wherever they fit, and they’ll come out nice and clean.

    I also put our regular toothbrushes in there periodically to sanitize them, especially if we’ve had colds or stomach bugs.

  2. monique says

    If this works Ms. Jillee, I’m mailing you some of my world-famous gingerbread cookies! I’m going to try some tilapia in todays load AND oh heavens….I just put up a volkswagon full of peaches… I could have used this tip last week! My Husband makes fried chicken and keeps it warm in the oven which means, of course, I can’t make biscuits….I’m so excited about this tip I could kiss you! I’ll let you know how I get on!

  3. says

    I wash EVERYTHING in there. If it fits, I wash it.

    I used to use it to stearilize baby bottles. I still use it to wash, heat ball jars when canning. I don’t boil the jars I just pop those babies in the dish washer. I fill the clean hot jar with whatever i’m canning and process as normal.

    • liza_jane says

      I was just clippin’ along reading all these comments and couldn’t help but bust out laughing at This one. Haaaa! :) I’m the same way…

  4. Heather says

    I love these ideas! I could just see myself saying “dinner is ready. Honey, will you get the salmon out of the dishwasher please?” LOL!! I’m infamous for putting kitchen sponges & toothbrushes in mine ;o)

  5. Colleen says

    I have never heard of the salmon idea. That’s ingenious, and another great way to cook when the weather is too hot to have the oven on! Love it. I do use the dishwasher for a few ‘non dish’ things, but have picked up some new ideas from this post. Thanks, Jilly! Just remember to consider how the pressure of the water might affect some items negatively. It’s easy enough to adjust the temperature of the water and the dry cycle, but the pressure from the water spray is typically static, and can be very intense. If you have a delicate or stemware cycle, consider using it for certain things.

  6. says

    Dishwashers are also great for washing and sanitizing dental appliances like tongue scrapers and re-usable interdental brushes (just take out the brush part and wash the handle in the silverware basket)!

  7. kim says

    The potato one is a good idea actually… add a touch of vinegar to really help get the dirt off. I can’t see myself cooking fish in my d/w though.

  8. kim says

    Great ideas. I often wash non-dish items in my dishwasher… light fixtures, vacuum attachments, etc. You have to be careful with things like vent covers if they are painted. I stuck a bunch of wall grates in my dishwasher and some of the paint started peeling.
    You can also wash running shoes/tennis shoes in the dishwasher. Wash on the top shelf with the laces stuck inside the shoes so they don’t get tangled in the spinny arm. I turn the heater element off and stick them out in the sun to dry.