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Can I put this in the dishwasher?
March 23, 2010 1:21 PM   Subscribe

Have any of you ever washed clothing in a dishwasher? How'd that turn out?

Presumably, you would stop washing dishes in it or use a baking-soda type detergent. No, I haven't done this, but at nearly $5/laundry load, the idea has certainly crossed my mind.
posted by whatzit to Home & Garden (33 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
 
Plates and glasses have hard surfaces you can spray to wash and rinse - but clothes aren't going to get clean or rinsed that way.
posted by moxiedoll at 1:27 PM on March 23, 2010


I think the idea of a washing machine is that it agitates the clothes and stuff within, which helps the dirt fall out and the detergent penetrate the fibers. In a dishwasher your stuff would just sort of sit there in a big wet pile, then you've got to worry about it getting all tangled up in the spinny sprinkler things, and on top of that it could fall onto the heating element on the bottom and burn the shit out of everything. I would say no to this. Why not just hand wash in a tub? You could pretend you were Thoreau's mother.
posted by turgid dahlia at 1:28 PM on March 23, 2010 [3 favorites]


Your dishwasher has no spin cycle. Your clothes will come out SOAKED, and take forever to dry.
posted by mollymayhem at 1:30 PM on March 23, 2010


I put my ballcap in the dishwasher every few months to de-nastify it, and that works pretty well. But that's it.
posted by COBRA! at 1:31 PM on March 23, 2010 [2 favorites]


Hell, at that rate a dishwasher is an even more fantastic waste, considering the water and electricity - you're paying so much in utilities and time loading and unloading it that it seems like a sort of pointless endeavor.

Use the kitchen sink. Simple, easy, quick. Stopper the drain, fill the sink with hot water and soap and clothes. Let soak a few minutes, stir it up a bit with a wooden spoon, then drain and repeat with rinse water. Dry on a line.

Works well, and it's not very difficult at all.
posted by koeselitz at 1:38 PM on March 23, 2010 [2 favorites]


I've done this to certain casual types of shoes with success. I regularly throw my 'J-Cloth' rag-things in, and they come out okay. This is probably doable for certain things. Not many things, but.
posted by kmennie at 1:39 PM on March 23, 2010


If you put too much laundry in the bottom rack, it will block the stream and your top rack of clothes would get no water action.

The only thing I could think of is using the slats in the dish rack to hang your garments, providing plenty of room to let the water reach everywhere. I also would turn off the drying function.

Finally, if there is any cleaning action, I would be concerned about the buildup of lint and fibers clogging up the strainer attached to the drain, causing everything to back up.
posted by Think_Long at 1:40 PM on March 23, 2010


My friend put her kids' Crocs in the dishwasher and swears it works just fine.
posted by MonkeyToes at 1:41 PM on March 23, 2010


I've tried washing kitchen sponges and rags in the dishwasher and they came out super gross. They were soaking wet and still stained and gunky. The only upside was that they were a little less smelly.
posted by keep it under cover at 1:44 PM on March 23, 2010


I would agree this wouldn't work, especially seeing what a poor job most dishwashers do with stuck-on food that's been sitting there exposed to the nozzles for two hours. It would also not be a trivial task to prevent water-loaded garments from ponding where they hang over the grille openings and eventually falling down to the bottom of the dishwasher, where the spray nozzle and heating elements live. If you're really curious you can always try it and let us know what happened, but secure the clothes really well and supervise things closely if you're going to risk the heating cycle.
posted by crapmatic at 1:48 PM on March 23, 2010


Yeah, my baseball caps go through, but that's about it.
posted by unixrat at 2:09 PM on March 23, 2010


Of course, I throw them in the wash too. I guess it's just whatever is more convenient at the time. Or it fell in the dishwasher or something.
posted by unixrat at 2:10 PM on March 23, 2010


DUDE. Don't try this. Your kitchen will overflow with suds.

I mean, it's not going to be a Brady Bunch-style overflow. But the possibility of a leak is huge.

Dish detergent doesn't foam anything like clothing detergent does, and a dishwasher isn't sealed like a clothes washer. Sure, it keeps water in, but suds will start leaking out the sides, and heaven help you when you go to open the door, which is designed to open wide open to get the dishes in and out.

Clothes washers are either top-loading, which means the suds are fighting gravity to get out, or front-loading with a locked door, and the doors are still set at an angle against the barrel to keep suds from overflowing.
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 2:11 PM on March 23, 2010 [2 favorites]


Tip: if you do much driving, you can put your clothes in a bucket in the trunk of your car with detergent. The movement of the car will agitate the clothes kind of like a washing machine does. Great for road trips.
posted by Emanuel at 2:18 PM on March 23, 2010 [19 favorites]


I've tried washing kitchen sponges and rags in the dishwasher and they came out super gross. They were soaking wet and still stained and gunky. The only upside was that they were a little less smelly.

To de-gunk sponges, put a dampened sponge in the microwave for fifteen seconds. The sponge will be hot, so be careful taking it out. The microwave action boils the bacteria that make the sponges smelly and gross.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 2:24 PM on March 23, 2010 [1 favorite]


Hand-washing and air drying isn't as bad and doesn't take as much time as it might seem. I don't hand wash everything but I do with some stuff and I haven't had a dryer for years, I've gotten used to air drying and don't miss the dryer at all. I just wash my clothes on the weekend (in the machine or by hand) and then hang them outside/over radiators/on drying racks while I go about my normal weekend business. It dries quickly enough. The only drawback is that you have to iron everything but even that isn't such a big deal once you're used to it and your clothes always look neater as well.
posted by triggerfinger at 2:31 PM on March 23, 2010


Aw, you guys are all a bunch of wet blankets.

It'll be easier to stop entertaining the idea now that Emanuel has put a slightly less catastrophic version out there. Not only do I have to drive a lot, but I drive on old bumpy cobble-stone pot-hole roads with a jerky car. THIS I might actually try someday.
posted by whatzit at 2:32 PM on March 23, 2010


There are several products that can help you with doing small loads of laundry at home. It is really hard to beat a washing machine though. This is what I found on Amazon, don't know if it works good

http://www.amazon.com/The-Laundry-Alternative-Wonderwash-SpinDryer/dp/B002C8HR9A

I have washed all kind of things in dishwasher-car parts, keyboards, disassembled guns (it is the best thign for getting cosmoline out of stocks), really anything hard that won't fall through the racks. BTW a mesh bag is great for washing a bunch of little hard things. But I wouldn't try clothes. Just not what it is designed for.
posted by bartonlong at 2:32 PM on March 23, 2010 [3 favorites]


In "Travels With Charley", Steinbeck washed his clothes exactly how Emanuel describes. I've also heard of people washing vegetables in their dishwasher.
posted by shinyshiny at 2:42 PM on March 23, 2010 [1 favorite]


Here's the relevant passage from Travels with Charley (click on page 36).
posted by mudpuppie at 2:55 PM on March 23, 2010 [1 favorite]


...a bunch of wet blankets.

Which is exactly what you're going to end up with if you do them in the dishwasher!

Boom-tish!
posted by turgid dahlia at 2:58 PM on March 23, 2010 [1 favorite]


Never use laundry deterg in the dishwasher, unless you really need to clean the floors, for an hour or so.
posted by theora55 at 3:14 PM on March 23, 2010


Nthing baseball caps and a subset of casual footwear.
posted by box at 3:16 PM on March 23, 2010


I've had one of those wonder wash things. If I were going to do it again, I'd just go to home depot and get one of their big 5 gallon buckets and a good sealing lid. Either do the thing in the car, or just roll it around. The problem of course is all the rinsing, but that's what you pay the big bucks at the laundromat for.
posted by lemniskate at 4:56 PM on March 23, 2010


I washed a dish rag once by accident. I'm not sure what happened in there, but there was not much left of it besides strings, which were slung around the twirly thing at the bottom (great fun unwinding it!) and some dropped to the bottom, where the heating element is, so there was additional smoke-filled excitement.

Do not recommend.
posted by Houstonian at 5:50 PM on March 23, 2010


How about a couple of 5 gallon buckets and a Breathing Mobile Washer?
posted by bentley at 5:58 PM on March 23, 2010


Only clothes I've washed in the dishwasher is ball caps and canvas belts. Dishwashers also do an amazing job on valve covers and air cleaner housings though.

Cool Papa Bell writes "Dish detergent doesn't foam anything like clothing detergent does, and a dishwasher isn't sealed like a clothes washer. Sure, it keeps water in, but suds will start leaking out the sides, and heaven help you when you go to open the door, which is designed to open wide open to get the dishes in and out."

Automatic dishwasher detergent is in great part anti sudsing agent for just his reason. I've been on a call where the home owner filled both detergent dispensers on there dishwasher with some kind of super concentrate soap. When I got there the foam was knee deep over the entirety of the kitchen and the homeowner was holding a TV tray up against the entrance to the kitchen to prevent the spread to other areas.

PS: if that happens to you vinegar will knock the suds down.
posted by Mitheral at 6:34 PM on March 23, 2010 [2 favorites]


Nthing baseball caps also, and noting novelty catalogs actually sell a wire mesh form that goes around a ball cap to hold its shape while being washed in the dishwasher.

Ahh, Lillian Vernon!
posted by werkzeuger at 6:38 PM on March 23, 2010


THANK YOU for asking this. it has often occurred to me but i've never done it, and i've wondered how it would work. apparently, not well.

on the other hand, you can cook lasagna in it.
posted by sdn at 7:19 PM on March 23, 2010 [1 favorite]


Fish and vegetables in foil, too.
posted by box at 7:24 PM on March 23, 2010


Yeah, pretty much anything you can cook in a sealed aluminum foil pouch, you can cook in a dishwasher. It's actually a pretty fun trick if you're cooking for a small number of guests who can see the dishwasher (that is, you don't want to have to get them up to go "look at the wacky way i'm cooking this stuff!").
You could theoretically do an entire meal in there, really. Especially if each thing needs a different (increasing) amount of time to cook. You put it all in with the desert dishes, and then open the door and pull poached eggs for the salads halfway through, lasagna, braised ribs, poached salmon, etc. as it's just done, and then have some sort of custard-based desert waiting in there with the drying plates.
posted by The Esteemed Doctor Bunsen Honeydew at 8:22 PM on March 23, 2010 [1 favorite]


Most of the power consumption from washing your clothes comes from your dryer (or anything else that involves heat generation, for that matter). The bucket in the trunk idea is a good one. If it were me though I would just use cold water and air dry.
posted by nel at 12:01 AM on March 24, 2010


As a single data point, fencing masks (which often have cloth on the inside) go in the dishwasher.
posted by Tell Me No Lies at 10:45 AM on March 24, 2010 [1 favorite]


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