When we say laundry, we typically think of the usual clothing, towels, and bedsheets. Not many people know that the washing machine can be extremely helpful when cleaning other items, too. In fact, you may notice many items on our list of surprising things you can toss in the washing machine – and some of them you haven’t even considered before!
1. Yoga Mats
Do you love yoga? Did you know that you can easily clean your yoga mat in the washing machine? It’s best if your washing machine does not have a center agitator, but, even if it does, you can still clean it. All you need to do is unroll the mat and place it evenly inside the washer. You can fill up the cavity with a few towels to prevent the mat from rolling around.
Use a good washing liquid, such as Tide, to clean your yoga mat. Make sure you choose the gentle program with either warm or cool water. This will cut through all the dirt and body oils.
2. Shower Curtains and Bath Items
When was the last time you cleaned your shower curtain? If the answer is not “recently”, then it’s about time you gave it a proper cleaning in your washing machine. Place it in the washer along with towels until it is full. If the curtain developed mildew, put some chlorine bleach (on white curtains) or oxygen bleach (on colored curtains) to clean it. Do not use a hot dryer; rather, let the curtain air dry before you put it back.
3. Sheepskin Boots
Apart from sneakers and other shoes, you can also toss your old Uggs in the washing machine to bring them back to life. Firstly, brush them properly to remove all the dirt and debris. Put them in a mesh bag and then place them inside the washing machine with two or three towels. Using the delicate program, wash your sheepskin shoes with cold water. Fluff the lining when the cycle is over and let them air dry.
4. Pet Beds
Our pooches surely love their fluffy beds, but they can get quite smelly at some point. The good news is that you can put them into the washing machine. If the bed is too large, check to see if the cover is removable and only wash that one. If not possible, take the doggy bed to a laundromat.
5. Bed Pillows
Pillows can get quite dirty, even though you wash the case periodically. Specialists recommend to wash our pillows twice per year. Feather pillows are too sensitive for the washing machine, but synthetic ones or foam-filled pillows will not get damaged. Choose the shortest, most gentle cycle. Add a good-quality detergent and wash only one or two pillows at a time. Place them outside on a sunny day to dry.
6. Mop Heads, Rubber Gloves, and Cleaning Tools
Mop heads and other cleaning supplies collect all the bacteria and dirt when we clean our homes. Fortunately, you can put all of these in a mesh bag and toss them right into the washing machine along with lots of towels. Choose a program with hot water, then let them air dry thoroughly. This will clean them properly without any hassle while killing all bacteria and germs.
Bathmats absorb all the water and moisture when we step out of the shower or bathtub. A moist environment is the best home for bacteria and germs, so you must consider cleaning them frequently. If you have rubber or plastic mats, wash them using a delicate program.
Make sure the mats are not damaged (peeling, cracks) before you put them in as it will get worse. Microfiber or other bathmats usually come with washing instructions; generally, a delicate program and a mild detergent are the best options.
8. Patio Chair Cushions
Patio chair cushions can be really comfortable and fashionable. However, after a season outside, they collect dirt, dust, and sweat, so washing them is a must. You can wash these on a gentle cycle; if there are any stains, clean them before putting them in the washing machine. Make sure they are thoroughly dried before using or storing them.
9. Backpacks and Gym Bags
Unless they are made of leather, backpacks and other bags can be easily washed in the machine. You can also mix them with other clothing or items, but make sure they have the same color. Do not forget to empty each compartment and pocket and treat stains before washing. Turn the bags or backpacks inside out and use warm water with a mild cycle. If you are worried about bacteria and germs, you can add some disinfectant to the wash water to eliminate pathogens.
10. Small Toys
Kids do not always wash their hands when they come indoors or after certain activities. To protect your baby from germs and bacteria, place small toys, such as action heroes, building blocks, and others in the washing machine. Make sure you put them in a mesh bag, wash them on a gentle cycle with warm water and air dry them.
11. Reusable Canvas Grocery Bags
Many stores have completely switched from plastic to reusable bags, but these can become quite dirty. Spills, leaks, and other residues can be cleaned in the washing machine. Reusable bags should be cleaned after each shopping trip to prevent bacteria, especially those used for pre-cooked foods, produce, and meats.
12. Stuffed Toys
If you have a child who loves to play with stuffed toys, has their favorite blankets, and other items which are not mechanically operated, you can wash them in the washing machine, too. Any stubborn stains should be treated before washing them in warm water. You should also avoid washing damaged items as the machine could further damage them.
13. Cloth and Silicone Oven Mitts
While we use mitts to protect our hands from burns, they absorb all the oils and stains from our food. Fabric mitts can be washed in the machine as usual; if you have silicone ones, you can simply wipe them off or even put them in the dishwasher because they are waterproof, stainproof, and can resist a plethora of other types of damage.
Tarps are used for camping, or to cover the floor during a DIY project. When was the last time you properly washed them? Using cold water, put them in the washing machine. There is no need to add detergent unless they are badly stained and you do not want to scrub them by hand.
15. Canvas Shoes and Sneakers
Canvas shoes are the perfect choice during walks or when we want to feel comfortable, but the fabrics can easily get dirty or stained, especially if they are white. Put the shoes in a mesh bag without laces or other detachable items before placing them in the washing machine.
16. Cloth Lunch Boxes
The traditional lunchbox used to be made of metal, then plastic and, finally, insulated little containers made of cloth. This means that they are not as easy to clean as the other options. You can wash them into the machine with warm water. If the design permits, turn them inside out to clear all the goo.
17. Silicone Kitchen Tools
Silicone kitchen tools are the must-have items in our kitchens. They do not burn, are easy to clean, and do not scratch surfaces, among others. Toss all of your tools, including molds, mitts, and others, into the washing machine. Use hot water and a good detergent to eliminate grease and oils.
18. Baseball Hats
If you have a vintage baseball cap, there’s nothing much you can do because it has cardboard inside. Fortunately, the modern designs have a plastic core that will not get damaged when washed. You can toss them into the washing machine and use the delicate cycle with cold water. Let them dry and enjoy your new freshly washed baseball cap!
19. Sports Gear
To keep going with sports equipment, you can simply wash all your sports gear in the washing machine. Eliminate all the body oils and sweat by tossing them into the washing machine! Make sure you close all the straps, Velcro and other compartments, put padded or plastic pieces in a mesh bag, and choose the delicate washing cycle. Do not put them in the dryer – let them dry naturally away from heat sources.
20. Rubber-Backed Rugs and Mats
Cleaning fluffy rugs can be quite cumbersome, especially if we have pets. Some mats have a rubber backing in order to prevent slipping. These can be washed only occasionally in order to maintain the grip. It’s highly recommended to vacuum them as often as possible instead of frequent washes.