Sure, your dishwasher makes quick work of dirty plates and cups. But lots of other stuff will get squeaky-clean in there, too. "Dishwashers are real time-savers for cleaning many household and personal items," says Liz Trotter, owner of American Maid Cleaning in Olympia, Washington. Read on to find out how you can save yourself some serious scrubbing.

1. Glass Globes from Light Fixtures
It's amazing how much brighter a room will look after this cleaning task is checked off your to-do list. "Run these through on the top shelf and make sure there's space between them because the glass is more fragile than what's used for drinking glasses," says Trotter. Use the delicate, china or crystal cycle if available, and skip the heated dry option. And to be safe, avoid washing antique or hand-painted globes or those with gold-leaf trim in the dishwasher.

 

2 . Baseball Hats and Visors
"The dishwasher is a fantastic way to make sure hats keep their shapes," says Linda Cobb, a cleaning expert who is also known as the Queen of Clean. Put hats on the top rack, head opening down, on a separate wash cycle from dishes because you can't use dishwasher detergent (many contain bleaching agents). Instead, fill the detergent cup with borax, found in the supermarket laundry aisle. Run a regular cycle without the heated dry option, then place hat over a glass or jar to dry. Reshape brim while damp.

 

3. Plastic Toys
Small plastic items such as baby toys, teethers and action figures can get funky pretty fast. Toss them in a mesh bag or dishwasher basket and place on the top rack. "Wash these on a normal cycle along with your other dishes," says Donna Smallin, author of The One-Minute Cleaner.

4. Shower Heads and Faucet Handles
If your shower head is spraying sporadically from clogged holes or your faucet handles aren't as shiny as they used to be, place these on the top rack and run the pots and pans cycle. It's fine to run cookware through at the same time, so you're not wasting a wash for these few items.

5. Personal Care Items
Toothbrushes, toothbrush holders, goopy soap dishes, nail brushes, plastic makeup brushes and bathtub drain plugs all benefit from an occasional run through the dishwasher. Place on the top rack with smaller items tucked in a dishwasher basket, and wash on a normal cycle with your other dishes.