Flickr: Kick Photo

12 Dishwasher Hacks You'll Want to Start Using ASAP

It may look like an ordinary, mild-mannered kitchen appliance, but your dishwasher is actually a mighty, multifunctional machine with powers you may never have imagined. To start making the most of your dishwasher besides dirty dishes, check out these 12 dishwasher hacks you'll want to start using ASAP.

Whether or not your dishwasher uses hard water or has a drying heating element, you can still use this kitchen appliance for more things than just playing clean up on your hand wash dishes. Whether you're looking for a quick solution to handwashing fruits and vegetables or a way to minimize your use of cleaning products when it comes to odd laundry loads, your least favorite chores are made easy. Here are 12 dishwasher hacks we live by!

1. Rinse veggies.


To save time when cooking a big meal, run your veggies through a rinse-only cycle in your dishwasher. Just remember not to add dishwasher detergent!

If you want to run them through a more thorough clean, add a tiny bit of white vinegar to the dishwashing detergent slot for a filtered, purifying clean from a nontoxic rinse agent. If you do so, just remember to briefly run your vegetables under the faucet to make sure there's no white vinegar left from the wash cycle.

2. Cook a salmon fillet.


The trick to perfectly cooked salmon? Wrap the marinated filet completely in foil with lemon slices on top, then run it through your dishwasher on the highest setting. With the dishwasher running, temperatures will not typically exceed 170 degrees Fahrenheit, so you won't have to worry about overcooking it.

The citric acid in the lemon will release slowly at the lower cooking time and infuse the salmon flesh with a bright, tart flavor that cuts through the fatty richness associated with seafood.

3. Keep food warm.


Your dishwasher can double as a warming oven. To keep freshly cooked food warm in the dishwasher, choose the "heat/dry cycle - no water" setting.

Most new dishwashers will have this setting, though, if you're working with an older model, you might not have a choice for no hot water.

4. Enhance your dryer and oven.


You can send your dryer filter through the dishwasher get rid of built up fabric softener. This will help your dryer function more efficiently. You can apply the same tactic to eliminate grease from your oven vent filter.

Clean dishes, clean laundry, and a clean oven. What else could you need?

5. Sanitize toys.


Using the dishwasher, you can sterilize action figures and other small toys for kids and pets. Avoid anything that might melt, such as doll hair.

6. De-germ cabinet knobs.


If you haven't washed them in a while, there's a good chance your cabinet knobs may be crawling with germs. De-germ handles by sending them through the dishwasher, but stick to ceramic and metal knobs—nothing painted, plated, or enameled.

Create fewer loads for yourself by popping one or two in at a time with every load you run for clean dishes. This is one of those indispensable kitchen tips no one ever really teaches you, huh?

Related: 10 Uses for White Vinegar

7. Clean your keyboard.


You heard us. You can sanitize your computer keyboard in the dishwasher. Just set it face down on the top rack, and run a rinse cycle. Remove the keyboard before the drying cycle and let it air dry face down for several days.

Most keyboards are dishwasher safe, though it's not recommended by most manufacturers to run them through a cycle. If you have little to lose like NPR's Nell Greenfieldboyce in this article, "Are Computer Keyboards Dishwasher-Safe?"

8. Clean makeup brushes.


You can pop makeup brushes in the dishwasher to cleanse bristles of bacteria and oil. Keeping brushes clean can help keep skin healthy and acne-free.

Please don't use dishwashing liquid on your brushes, though. Instead, opt for a nontoxic cleaning solution that will treat your skin with care.

9. Clean shoes.


Shoes looking a little grungy? Place them on the top rack of the dishwasher, add a little baking soda, and send them through a cycle. They'll emerge squeaky clean!

Just make sure the heat-dry setting is off to avoid messing with the rubber, and run an empty cycle to get rid of any lingering shoe gunk before washing your next load of dishes.

10. Clean sweat bands and marks from baseball caps.


Running a baseball cap through the washing machine may distort its shape. You can avoid this problem by washing your caps in the dishwasher instead.

If you have a hat that needs to hold its form, check out this Ballcap Buddy Washer that maintains the shape of your baseball hats whether in the dryer, a suitcase, or the dishwasher. And the best part? It's only $7.95.

11. Clean garden tools.


You can clean trowels, forks, and other garden tools by running them through the dishwasher with your super-dirty dishes. The sprayer arm does wonders for caked-on dirt.

Be sure to leave out anything with a wooden handle that could be damaged by the heat.

12. Shine hubcaps and wheel covers.


Banish grime from your hubcaps and wheel covers by running them through the dishwasher. Sure beats scrubbing tire grime by hand.

Watch: The 8 Health Benefits of Drinking Pickle Juice