Dishwashing vs. hand washing —when it comes to efficiency and killing bacteria, the dishwasher wins. To kill most bacteria, water must reach a scalding 140° Fahrenheit. That temperature is easily reached in a dishwasher, but is nearly impossible with a sink, as hot water heaters are typically set to 120 degrees to prevent burns.
Not every home has a dishwasher, but if you’re lucky enough to have a one, are you utilizing it to your best ability? Check out these 6 unexpected household items you can clean in the dishwasher:
1. Sponges and Brushes
If you’re cleaning with dirty sponges and brushes, are you really cleaning? Kitchen sponges can contain 10 million bacteria per square inch—yuck! It’s important to wash sponges and brushes on a regular basis. These cleaning utensils will fare best on the top shelf of the dishwasher.
2. Toothbrush Holder
Have you ever looked at the bottom of the toothbrush holder or cup that you store your toothbrushes in? Chances are it’s covered with layers of grimes. Water and excess toothpaste drip down toothbrushes in between uses and are left to crust over at bottom. To clean, place the toothbrush holder face down on the top shelf, just as you would to wash a normal cup.
3. Car Cup Holders
Much like toothbrush holders, the bottom of cup holders in cars are home to a sticky mess of spilled liquids. From dark brown coffee to sugary pop, it’s not a pretty sight at the bottom of a cup holder in a moving vehicle. The whole cup holder contraption or just the individual cup units may be able to be removed.
4. Plastic Toys
Children’s plastic toys are home to colonies of germs. In this study, a toddler’s plastic giraffe, which doubles as a teething toy, had a bacteria count of 450 colonies. Put plastic toys on the top rack to wash. If the toys are small and will likely fall through the cracks during the wash cycle, place the toys in a mesh bag.
Baseball caps quickly get covered with sweat and grease from foreheads and hair. Use a cap shaper to retain the shape of flat brimmed hats. In addition to hats, sports equipment such as mouth guards can also be washed in the dishwasher.
6. Refrigerator Shelves
If food spilled or leaked in the back of the refrigerator, it’s likely it’s had a long time to congeal. Don’t waste time scrubbing shelves while all of the cold air escapes. Take removable shelves out of the refrigerator and place on the bottom shelf of the dishwasher just as you would a plate.
Keep your dishwasher clean and it will continue to keep your household items clean. What other unexpected items have you cleaned in the dishwasher? If you run into any plumbing issues in the kitchen, contact George Brazil. Our Smell Good Plumbers are ready to help you through any plumbing emergency.