12 Surprising Uses for Dishwasher Tablets

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Dishwasher tablets do a grand job of cleaning plates, bowls, and cutlery, but they're not necessarily cheap, so allow us to let you in on a little secret — there's even more bang for your buck packed inside. These tablets and pods contain chemicals, bleaches, enzymes, and surfactants that dissolve food, lift tough stains, and leave surfaces gleaming, so there's no good reason to limit their use. Here are 12 clever ways to use them outside of the dishwasher — just make sure to wear rubber gloves!


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1. Clean the toilet. Drop a tablet in the bowl, let it dissolve and then scrub!

2. Lift stains from white clothing. Dishwasher pods contain bleach, so add one to your next load of white laundry along with the usual amount of detergent. Your clothes will be stain-free and bright white once again!

3. Clean the washing machine drum. Run the washing machine on hot with just a dishwasher tablet inside and make sure to take a peek after about 10-15 minutes — you might be amazed to see how much dirt and grime was living inside, not to mention relieved it'll all be gone once the cycle is through.

4. Polish metal. Dissolve a dishwasher tab in a bucket of warm water and allow metal cutlery and utensils to soak. At the same time, dampen a sponge or rag in the soapy water and use it to polish metal fixtures in the kitchen and bathroom.

5. Scrub the oven. Stick the oven racks in the bathtub and fill with just enough hot water so they're completely submerged. Break a dishwasher pod into chunks, toss them in the tub, and let them soak. In the meantime, dampen another dishwasher tablet like you would a sponge and use it to scrub the inside of the oven and the door, then rinse with a wet sponge. Leave the door open so the inside can start to air dry and then head back to the bathtub to rinse the racks clean.

6. Make scorched cookware look good as new. Restore blackened pots and pans by adding half of a dishwasher tablet to boiling water, then turn down the heat and allow to simmer for five minutes. Similarly, you can clean glass casserole dishes with baked on food stains by filling with hot water and allowing half of a tablet to soak overnight.

7. Remove crayon and marker scribbling from walls and floors. Fill a bucket with warm water and add a dishwasher tablet, giving it a little time to dissolve. Then dampen a sponge and wipe down scribbled surfaces. If a stain is particularly tough, grab a chunk of the still-dissolving tablet from the bottom of the bucket, and work it into the offending area.


8. Disinfect trashcans. If your garbage smells full even after it's been emptied, it's time for a deep clean, friend. Fill the trash can with hot water, drop in a dishwasher tablet, and let it dissolve and soak for an hour or two. Scrub away any stains if necessary, thoroughly rinse and then give it a whiff ... much better, right?

9. Wash dirty patio furniture. Summer has arrived, but, oh dear, your outdoor seating hasn't been cleaned since last year? Dampen a dishwasher pod and use it like a scouring pad to scrub away pollen, bird poop and other grime.

10. Remove oil and gas stains from your driveway and garage floor. Add just enough warm water to a dishwasher pod so that it crumbles and starts to form a paste. Apply the mixture on top of the stain, let it sit for a day or two, then rinse!

11. Get rid of coffee and tea stains. If your mugs are looking dingy no matter how hard you scrub, fill them with hot water, break a dishwasher tablet into chunks, and allow one chunk per cup to soak for a few hours. Then wash and rinse!

12. Deep clean the cat box. No matter how frequently you change your kitty's litter, the nostril-burning stench of ammonia finds a way to linger. Every few weeks, empty the box, fill with hot water, drop in a dishwasher pod and let soak overnight.


I'm a freelance writer and reporter for outlets like Rolling Stone, the Village Voice, BUST, Nylon, Woolly, and the Appeal, a podcast host for Undisclosed, and once upon a time, I was the founding editor of The Frisky.