14 surprising items you can clean in the washing machine and dishwasher

The common household items can be cleaned simply and easily

The surprising items you can clean in the washing machine and dishwasher
(Image credit: Future / David Parmiter)

Light fixtures, toothbrushes and shower curtains are three of the surprising items that can actually be cleaned in the dishwasher or washing machine.

Research has revealed 14 household items that can be spruced up using two common kitchen appliances.

Cleaning out the fridge can be a hassle, so households have been advised to take out each shelf and stick them in the dishwasher to make the job easier.

See: Cleaning tips – our essential guide to keeping your home spotless

thing you can clean in the washing machine dishwasher

(Image credit: Tom Meadows)

Things you can wash in a washing machine

Yes, you can put these in a washing machine. Don't forget, you will need to know how to clean a washing machine, too, if you are going to put these into yours.

1. Mop heads

Throw dirty mop heads in the washing machine on a hot wash, instead of throwing it away and replacing it.

How to clean

(Image credit: Polly Eltes)

2. Car mats

As long as your car mats aren’t too big or heavy, you can wash them in your washing machine.

3. Plastic shower curtains

You can wash your shower curtain liner to remove soap scum and mildew. Just make sure to add a few bath towels to the load to cushion the liner and stop it from tearing.

See: Bathroom cleaning tips - to keep your space smart

things you need to clean in a bathroom

4. Children's toys and stuffed animals

Most toys hold up totally fine in the washing machine and dryer, as long as you use a low heat setting. Place them in a pillowcase for extra protection.

5. Yoga mats

If the care instructions on your mat don’t specifically advise against putting it in the washing machine, you most likely can.

6. Reusable grocery bags

Reusable canvas grocery bags can go straight into the washing machine on a hot water, regular cycle with the recommended amount of detergent.

thing you can clean in the dishwasher

(Image credit: Tom Leighton)

7. Silicone kitchen tools

Silicone baking mats, moulds, tools, oven mitts and trivets can all be tossed in with regular laundry to clean. Use warm or hot water and a heavy-duty detergent to cut through the oils left from foods.

Things you can wash in the dishwasher

This is what you can wash in the dishwasher – other than kitchen equipement. Don't miss our kitchen cleaning tips, too.

1. Plastic toys

Plastic toys and figurines can become a hotbed for germs. Pop them in the cutlery compartment of your dishwasher to get them squeaky clean and looking brand new.

2. Refrigerator shelves

Cleaning out the fridge can be a hassle. Instead, take out each shelf and run stick them in the dishwasher to make the job easier.

3. Toothbrushes and bathroom accessories

Soap dishes and toothbrush holders can get caked up with toothpaste and soap. Put them through a dishwasher cycle and they’ll be good as new.

thing you can clean in the dishwasher

(Image credit: Polly Wreford)

4. Plastic brushes and combs

One of the easiest ways to clean hairbrushes and combs is to put them in the dishwasher. Just make sure you remove all the hair first – otherwise it could clog up the machine’s drain and damage it.

5. Light fixtures

Plastic or metal lamp shades will shine up beautifully if put through a quick, gentle wash.

6. Pet leads and collars

Woven, synthetic fibre collars leads (but not leather ones) can be cleaned on the top rack of the dishwasher.

7. Sports equipment

Shin guards, mouth guards, golf balls and shuttlecocks are just some of the sports items that can be cleaned in a dishwasher. Place smaller items in the utensil holder or a mesh bags before washing.

Home gym ideas

Of course, once you're done, it's worth running the dishwasher on an empty cycle to allow it to clean itself, too.

Jennifer Ebert
Deputy Editor (Digital)

Jennifer is the Digital Editor at Homes & Gardens. Having worked in the interiors industry for a number of years, spanning many publications, she now hones her digital prowess on the 'best interiors website' in the world. Multi-skilled, Jennifer has worked in PR and marketing, and the occasional dabble in the social media, commercial and e-commerce space. Over the years, she has written about every area of the home, from compiling design houses from some of the best interior designers in the world to sourcing celebrity homes, reviewing appliances and even the odd news story or two.