What you can wash in your dishwasher aside from dishes – ABC Life

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There’s good news for those of us who can’t stand washing up.It turns out your trusty dishwasher can do much more than you’ve probably given it credit for.”There’s all sorts of things you can wash in your dishwasher,” says Ashley Iredale, whitegoods team leader at consumer advocacy group CHOICE, which tests dishwashers in its kitchen lab in Sydney.From kitchen sponges to kids’ toys, here’s what you can get away with stacking in your next load.Ceramic dishes, washing-up sponges and other kitchen itemsCeramic baking dishes can go in the dishwasher, as can enamelware.Your kitchen (or shower) sponge can go in your next dishwasher load: “They harbour bacteria and need to be washed regularly, and just popping one in your dishwasher is a great idea,” says Food Safety Information Council spokesperson Lydia Buchtmann.Ms Buchtmann says kitchen brushes (the type used to clean dirt off vegetables) can also be washed in the machine, as can plastic chopping boards.Toys, dummies and other kiddie itemsYour kids’ plastic building blocks also get Mr Iredale’s green light for the machine washing.”Kids are little germ factories and it’s great if you’ve got an easy way to wash their toys,” he says.”You just pop them in a mesh bag and put them in the top drawer” so the little pieces don’t get lost.Same goes for bath toys.In fact, pretty much all plastic kids’ toys are fine to pop in the dishwasher — just avoid squeaky toys (they’ll fill up with water) and anything with batteries.CHOICE says baby bottles, dummies, teething rings and breast pump parts are fine to wash by machine — but if your baby’s younger than 12 months, you’ll still need to sterilise. Small plastic blocks can go in the dishwasher; just pop them in a mesh bag and place them in the top shelf of the machine.(Unsplash: Kelly Sikkema)Combs and other surprising washablesThe list of OK-to-dishwash items gets even weirder: Combs and “hair brushes are OK, provided they don’t have wooden handles”, says Mr Iredale. If you’re tempted to throw your pet’s bowl or toys into the dishwasher, Ms Buchtmann points out that “dog saliva has many microbes in it and the risk of parasites too” and warns against washing them with human utensils.But machine-wash these items with caution…Stainless steel pots with heat-resistant plastic handles are fine to go in the dishwasher, but it’s best to only clean them that way occasionally as the detergent can weaken the coating.You can also get away with washing stemware in the dishwasher — but there’s a risk of etching and discolouration, says Mr Iredale.”If you are inclined to wash your delicate stemware in the dishwasher, leave it ’til the morning” — when the glass will have cooled — before removing them from the washer, says Mr Iredale.”You’ll be less likely to break them that way.” Non-stick pans are on the ‘do not put in the dishwasher’ list, while stainless steel pots can go in the machine (but only occasionally).(Unsplash: Tina Dawson)The handwash-only listThere are still a few no-go items when it comes to stacking the dishwasher (sorry).”Pretty much any material that predates the existence of the dishwasher” shouldn’t go in the machine, says Mr Iredale. “So that’s wood, timber and laminate [as well as] bone-handled cutlery.”Sharp knives should be washed by hand: Not only will high-carbon steel knives corrode in the dishwasher, but they can lose their sharpness bumping against other items, CHOICE says.It’s also not safe emptying the dishwasher with sharp knives inside.Avoid dishwashing non-stick pans: the dishwasher will damage the delicate non-stick coating.”Pewter, as well, because it has a low melting point and can warp very easily,” says Mr Iredale. “In fact, pretty much any alloy material can discolour or warp.”ABC Everyday in your inboxGet our newsletter for the best of ABC Everyday each week
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