Cleaning Hacks: How to Wash Almost Anything in the Dishwasher or Freezer

Tools? Toys? Clothes? There’s almost nothing your handy kitchen appliances can’t handle.


There’s a shortcut for everything — even cleaning. Case in point: Tossing your dirty stuff in the dishwasher or the freezer is the equivalent of giving it a hand wash and detail, according to Debra Johnson of Merry Maids. Here’s how it’s done…

Everything You Can Clean in the Dishwasher (and How to Do It)

  • Baseball Caps: “Throw them in the dishwasher by themselves every once in awhile, and they’ll come out clean and smelling fresh,” Johnson recommends.
  • Combs and Brushes: “First, remove all the hair,” Johnson suggests. “Then, check if they’re heat-safe. If they are, toss them in the dishwasher.”
  • Golf Balls: “Just throw these on the top rack of the dishwasher with nothing else in there,” Johnson says. Then, display your sparkly clean balls to all your buds at tee off.
  • Dog Toys and Collars: “Just like the golf balls, throw these on the top rack and they’re good to go,” Johnson explains.
  • Hub Caps: Put these in the dishwasher with one cup of white vinegar (in the bottom of the dishwasher) to make them look brand new again.
  • Sponges and Rags: “There’s no need to go out and buy a new sponge or microfiber cloth every time you clean — just pop them in the dishwasher to get rid of the germs,” Johnson says.
  • Sports Gear: Mouth guards? Knee pads? Shin guards? Helmets? Athletic cups? All of them can run through the dishwasher directly after a game for a quick clean, according to Johnson.
  • Stove Hood Filter: These get pretty gross from all of the grease and grime that comes with cooking. “For a cleaner filter (and cleaner air), all you need to do is put the filter on the top rack of the dishwasher [with detergent],” Johnson says. “For best results, do this on a weekly basis.”
  • Tools: “Put your screwdrivers, pliers and other hand tools in the dishwasher on the hottest setting with a normal detergent,” Johnson says. That way, they’ll be grease-and-grime-free for your next project.
  • Plastic Toys: There’s no telling how much gunk is crawling on your kid’s toys, but cleaning them is simple: “Throw them in the dishwasher on a normal setting with a regular detergent to de-gunk and sanitize them in a jiffy,” Johnson explains. Just be sure to remove any moveable parts or batteries before washing.

Everything You Can Clean in the Freezer (and How to Do It)

Jeans: Rather than constantly washing your jeans, which ruins their shape and drains them of their color, if there are no obvious stains, simply put them in the freezer overnight once a month to rid them of sweat and bacteria. Even if you do have stains, “you can pre-treat them with a stain removal spray before freezing,” Johnson says. Here’s how to do that correctly:

  • Shake out your jeans.
  • Place white vinegar in a spray bottle, and spray it on the outside and inside of the jeans.
  • Hang the jeans to air dry.
  • Keep the jeans turned inside out, fold them and place them in a plastic bag.
  • Place the bag in freezer for 24 hours.

Gum on Clothes: Sitting in gum sucks, but it’s easy to remove: Stick your pants and shorts in the freezer for a few hours to allow the gum to harden, then it will come right off.

Shoes: “Because the freezer loosens materials, it can make cleaning the soles of your shoes ten times easier,” Johnson says. Just place the shoes in a plastic bag, and once the mud freezes, it will come right off. “Plus, the cold temperatures kill bacteria, so you can throw your stinky shoes in there to get them smelling fresh,” Johnson adds.

Besides being incredibly easy, these methods of cleaning put you in close proximity to the snack drawer — which is a plus in every situation.