The Smartest Ways to Use Dishwasher Tablets to Clean Your House

The Smartest Ways to Use Dishwasher Tablets to Clean Your House
Photo: Ruslan Lytvyn, Shutterstock

Did you know you could use dishwasher tablets in way more places than just your dishwasher? Turns out, we’ve all been sleeping on the lesser known uses of these compact cleaning agents. Since they’re designed with bleach and enzymes to remove stains, combat hard water, and eat through grease, those little pods can pack a mighty cleaning punch in areas of your home beyond just the dishwasher.

Where to use dishwasher tablets outside the dishwasher

De-funk your trash can: If your kitchen (or outdoor) trash can is smelling funky or looking crusty, give it a dishwasher tablet “bath.” Fill it with a few kettles of boiling water, drop a tablet in and let it soak for an hour before lightly scrubbing (if necessary) and rinsing.

Wash the washing machine: It’s counterintuitive, but washing machines actually need to be cleaned. Drop two to four dishwasher pods in the drum and run a hot water cycle to combat the mould, bacteria, mildew, and general black gunk that builds up in its grooves over time. (If you don’t want to waste water, toss in a load of rags, sheets, or other whites you’d like to brighten.)

Clean the toilet bowl: You can skip the fumes from most toilet-cleaning powders by just dropping a dishwasher tablet in the bowl, waiting for it to dissolve, then scrubbing and flushing as usual.

Lift oil stains: If unsightly gas or oil stains are blighting your garage or driveway, try lifting them with a dishwasher tablet paste. Wet the pod (or several, depending on the stain’s size), spread it liberally on the affected area, and let sit for a period of several hours — up to two days. Then rinse. While traces may still be visible, it should noticeably diminish the size and concentration of the stain.

Clean your oven door: If your oven door is looking dark and dingy, put on those rubber kitchen gloves, grab a hold of a dishwasher tablet, dip it in warm water, and use it to scrub the glass and door to gleaming effect.

Clean refrigerator spills: The next time a hardened, sticky substances of unknown origin suddenly appear on one of your refrigerator shelves, use a pod dipped in warm water to break up the crud.

Remove coffee, tea, and water stains: The bleach inside dishwasher tablets will eat away at stubborn stains inside coffee mugs, flower vases, and carafes. Simply fill the stained vessel with warm water and a dishwasher tablet and let it soak for an hour before washing.

Shine up your sink: Sinks take a daily beating of food scraps, dark liquids, and clanking pots, pans, and sharp objects all jostling for space. Using a gloved hand, rub the tablet around the sink to remove stains and surface scuffs.

Plastic patio furniture: When those plastic patio chairs start to look like they’ve been living under a bridge all winter, spruce them up with a dishwasher pod. Either let the pod dissolve in hot water and apply with a sponge, or use the tablet itself as a scouring pad.

Remove brown crust from pots and pans: We’ve all let a pot or pan accidentally burn on the stovetop. For a burn inside the pot, fill it with water, add a dishwasher tablet, bring to a boil, then simmer for five to 10 minutes. For stubborn crust on the bottom of the cookware, glove up and use the tablet dipped in warm water as a scouring pad.

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