What has your dishwasher done for you lately? You know, other than wash your dishes and such….
Sometimes being a frugalista means having to have more time on your hands than money, to search out the great deals. With a second baby on the way at my house, I’m needing to find more and more ways to save time so that I can continue to “afford” to save money! That means finding more ways to multi-purpose everything, including appliances.
Some of these uses I’d heard of before, but others were a surprise to me. And while some seem like more trouble than they’re worth, a few of them were genius!
Here are 10 unusual uses for your dishwasher:
1. Washing kids’ toys. This one will save me a ton of time! Using a mesh bag (a laundry bag would work) to keep small pieces in place, you can wash and sanitize legos, plastic blocks, sand toys, action figures and more. Especially the plastic kitchen “food” that gets licked a lot in my house, during flu season! Avoid washing wood or soft plastics that may degrade with high heat.
2. Footwear. Most anything that can handle being wet can be cleaned in your top rack, though several sources advised against putting Crocs in. But rain boots and flip flops in particular were noted as shoes that can benefit from a thorough cleaning. Scrub/wipe all chunks of dirt, sand, or grass off before running a load (not recommended at the same time as washing actual dishes), and remove any liners first.
3. Tools with metal or plastic handles. Give greasy and grimy garage or garden tools a quick wipe down with a paper towel first, and dry them by hand as soon as the cycle ends to avoid rust. No wooden handled tools.
4. Baseball hats. They get clean in the wash, but usually get bent out of shape. Throw them on the top rack of your dishwasher (without dirty dishes, you don’t want food to get added to the equation) to chip away at the brow sweat.
5. Potatoes. Dinner party coming up? Mashed potatoes for 20? Throw those potatoes on the top rack on a rinse only cycle, with no detergent. They’ll be ready for cooking when they come out and you’ll have time for a glass of wine while they bathe.
6. Car parts. Particularly, hubcaps and wheel covers. Some people swear a trip through the dishwasher (rinse with a hose first if they’re really grubby) can save a lot of elbow grease.
7. Vent covers. When spring cleaning comes around, save time on those pesky little vent covers (with a million little slats too narrow to easily fit a rag/sponge through) and send ’em through the dishwasher.
8. Veggie and bottle brushes. These both get gross doing their cleaning work, so throw them in the dishwasher to sanitize them and keep them alive longer.
9. Soap dishes and toothbrush holders. Send ’em through to rinse off the layers of grime and buildup.
10. Food. Nope, not the kind stuck on plates… but food you want to cook! The method, called sous vide (explained briefly here in an NPR story) involves using the steam and hot water of the dishwasher cycle to slowly cook or poach foods like fish and vegetables. Though many sites recommend tightly wrapping the food in aluminum foil, there is a chance water can get in and you would need to cook the food alone, without soap. If you put the food in a vacuum sealed bag, you can throw in your salmon (like this recipe from Real Simple) with your pots and pans and really multitask. Leave a comment if you’ve tried dishwasher cooking and let us know how it goes!