Tip: Use Your Dishwasher to Wash Produce

fresh produce loaded in dishwasher Washing vegetables under the faucet uses up a lot of water, even if you are efficient (keeping the faucet off when needed, and rinsing large amounts all at once). Long ago I considered washing produce in the dishwasher, but I didn’t actually try it until reading about it in unplgged.

You can see from the picture how I distributed the vegetable in the upper and lower racks, in a single layer. I had to arrange them so that nothing would fall through, or hang below the rack and interfere with the spinning jets. As you can see, I used the flatware holders for some of the shorter celery racks.

Important: Use only the cold, rinse cycle with no detergent. I didn’t put any potatoes in this load, but I will next time. You’ll get the most efficiency by using all of the available space.

Results: Clean, although there was still some loose debris on some of the vegetables, so I will need to check each one. I blame this on the vagaries of my dishwasher, not the method. There’s a definite savings on water. As for time, It took several minutes to arrange the vegetables, but not as long as scrubbing each one.

Update: This should be obvious, but avoid washing sandy produce in the dishwasher as dirt can get stuck in the wheels.

Here’s a better view of the top rack:

washing fresh produce in the dishwasher

Would you try this method? Why or why not?

Ten Ways to Save Money When Using Your Dishwasher

Save Time and Money by Washing Fewer Dishes

Tips for Choosing Fresh Fruits and Vegetables


  1. That is so funny! I guess your dishwasher has a ‘cold wash and dry’ setting? Mine doesn’t…I guess this could be an additional time-saver as it would cook the vegetables as well!

    My method is to fill up a dish-washing plastic bowl with cold water, add a couple of teaspoons of Sterili or other vegetable wash, add all the fruit and vegetables together, and then rinse them off after a few minutes, before drying on towels on the worktop or in the drying rack.

    • Actually you can wrap food in foil and cook it in the dishwasher. That will have to wait for a different post, I guess. The cycle I used rinses, but not dries. It’s intended to hold you over when dirty dishes sit for a couple of days until the machine is full.

    • Ayala, a colander works well for rinsing. Try to save the water. The cycle I use only rinses in cold, it doesn’t dry. Thanks for the visit!

  2. No, I have 2 dishwashers, one for meat & one for dairy. I’d like to keep my veggies parve.

    • Your veggies will stay pareve (neutral) if you wash them in cold water. Just like in the sink. Probably no problem even with hot water.

  3. This is brilliant. I will try this the next time I get a load of fruit and vegetables from the farmer.

  4. I LOVE this idea! I really hope my dishwasher has a cold rinse cycle.

  5. “Actually you can wrap food in foil and cook it in the dishwasher. ”

    Oh get out of here Hannah! That is hilarious. This type of posting is one reason I love your blog.

  6. Thanks, Ms. K.
    tdr, I hope I’ll be up to the challenge.

  7. WOW! just when I thought I couldn’t possibly use my dishwasher more than I already do! (PS I once whatched a show with GIl Hovav where he wrapped salmon in foil and cooked it in the dishwasher. I was cusious but did not try it….yet?

  8. truth is I don’t really see the advatage- steamed fish is nice but it can be made in a lot less time and energy in other ways. other than the “gimick” it doesn’t seem to have a point…

  9. This won’t work in most american dishwashers as most people use “jet-dry” rinse agent, which is not something I want on my vegetables…

    • AidelMaidel: 1. If you don’t mind it on your dishes, you should be okay with it on your vegetables. 2. The rinse cycle only uses water, not the rinse agent. It’s meant to prevfill ent a bad odor when waiting to fill up the washer.

  10. Speaking of rinse agent, I HAVE licked my plates, and they tasted
    awful! Have been experimenting with putting vinegar in the rinse agent spout. Any other suggestions for substitutes Hannah?

  11. I have heard of making butter in the spin cycle of your clothes washer…in a plastic jar, apparently.

    I think it was Jamie Oliver in his Naked Chef TV show that cooked salmon in the dishwasher. But what’s the point? Does it save more energy than baking it in the oven?

    If I had a dishwasher, I would definitely use it to wash my veg.

  12. Mimi, I would think that cooking salmon would cost less than the oven, especially if you are washing dishes anyway.

  13. Sima Herzfeld Navon says

    I just came up with this great idea for leftover soup.

    Check out the Kosher Goldfish recipe on http://www.justaddflax.com


  14. Faye Levy says

    This may be practical for large families but I think a lot of produce doesn’t keep as long after it has been washed. I usually cook for 2, and I rinse produce for the same day or occasionally for 2 days.

    • I agree that it’s not worth doing for only a small amount of produce. I avoid using it for more delicate fruits and vegetables, but haven’t notice a problem with potatoes.

  15. Shalom Hannah!
    This is Kathy, from “is chicken left out all night safe to eat?” fame. I am in the process of starting a blog called arthritisonthego where I will be looking at joint friendly ways to do tasks, among other topics.. Washing produce this way sounds wonderful for the many who have arthritis of the hands; I plan to link to this post after I try the method! 🙂

  16. Hi Kathy!! I am excited about your new blog, as my mother suffered from rheumatoid arthritis. This encouraged her to develop many of the techniques that I share on this site. She disliked dishwashers though, as bending down was quite difficult for her.