For me, a half empty dishwasher happens about as often as a lunar eclipse, so empty space is prime real estate!
A half-full dishwasher is a conundrum because you don’t want to start it with so little to be washed, but you also don’t want it to sit there allowing food to harden and get smelly.
There are all kinds of things that can be washed very efficiently in your dishwasher, making great use of those spaces and getting the most out of each cycle.
Forgotten leftover containers
Now is the time to dig through your refrigerator and even freezer, dumping out old food and giving those containers a wash.
Sink stopper/food catcher
I often clean my sink, but the food catcher is the grottiest part. I will gingerly spray it with bleach, but for a more thorough cleaning, the dishwasher makes perfect sense!
Coffee pot / Keurig parts
The coffee carafe, the filter, the spill catcher/drain, even the little pod holder, can all be washed and look way less dull and brown.
The tray/drain below your ice and water dispenser on the fridge door
These are most often removable and tend to get GRIMY and even covered in lime scale. The dishwasher may take care of it altogether, but if it’s really bad, spray it down with some vinegar or lime-away and then toss in the dishwasher.
Dry food storage canisters
When pantry containers are empty or near empty, that is a good time to wash them. So often they just keep getting refilled and never see a good bath, and boy do they need it.
If you have one, you know how crumb covered and greasy it can get.
Toaster Crumb-Catching Tray
Speaking of crumbs, here you can find mountains of them caked on. Let’s be honest, most of us forget this is even a part of the toaster, and may never even bother emptying it. If you do though, you will see a lot of stuck on burnt stuff, etc., and giving it a good wash will keep the crumbs off your counter and improve the function of your toaster.
Another thing we tend to keep refilling, for the love of coffee. But it can get splattered and sugar somehow, mysteriously, gets caked on the inside.
Plastic children’s toys
This one has been circulating the web for awhile, but I threw it in here in case you hadn’t caught wind of it. Legos, Little people, Plastic Animals, etc. Throw them in a mesh bag to contain lots of little parts.
Crocs/plastic flip flops
What!? Well when you think about it they are plastic/silicone right? Who really knows? lol. I don’t own any, but they seem to be owned by many a toddler these days, so you betcha those could use a scrub.
Glass light fixture globes/shades
Many of these can be easily removed and are usually super dusty or full of bugs (yuck).
Return-air Vents and other grates
Obviously not the large ones, but the small ones easily fit in the dishwasher and could certainly use a cleaning. *Take note if they have a seal around the inside. The ones on my ceiling have a foam seal and I would not advise putting these in the dishwasher.* Think about other vents on appliances, like the one beneath your refrigerator or the ones in your stove range hood that pull in steam/smoke (boy are mine a greasy mess!).
Removable Cup Holders in your Car
Not all cars have removable ones, but if yours does, then you can easily remove those coffee splatters and whatever else is lurking in the creases.
The smaller plastic or metal vacuum attachments, which tend to accumulate crud.