10 things you didn’t know you could clean in a washing machine

You can wash so many things using the delicate cycle

Credit: Jackson Ruckar/Reviewed/Getty Images / skodonnel
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When it’s laundry day, what do you usually put in the washer? Sheets, towels, underwear, shirts, and pants. Always the same, right? But your washing machine can do a lot more for you than wash clothes.

If anything on this list could use a good cleaning, your washing machine can be a game changer. Here are some ideas.

1. Backpacks

Fjallraven-Kanken-backpack-
Credit: Reviewed.com / Jackson Ruckar
Backpacks can be cleaned in the washing machine, but make sure you shake them out first.

Backpacks can get really filthy, especially if they spend most of the day on the floor. But don’t put a backpack in the washer until you dump out any leftover lunches, school notices, and loose change. Once it’s empty, stuff the pack into a pillowcase or laundry bag, and wash it in cold water on a delicate cycle. Then, leave it out to air dry.

2. Shower curtains

Shower-curtain
Credit: Getty Images / Jamesmcq24
Vinyl shower curtains can get clean in the washer. Put in a few towels, to help scrub them clean.

If your vinyl shower curtain or liner is looking grimy, throw it in the washing machine with a few bath towels to help scrub it clean. Use a delicate cycle, and when it’s done, hang up the curtain wet.

3. Stuffed animals

Stuffed-teddy-bear-on-the-line
Credit: Getty Images / 8213erika

Your little one’s stuffed animals are loaded with germs. Get out your mesh laundry bag, stuff it with stuffies, and drop it in the washer. Just don’t include any animals with squeakers or loose parts.

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4. Legos

Legos
Credit: Getty Images / skodonnel
Pick up Legos and place them in a zippered laundry bag. Wash them in a cold, gentle cycle, and leave them out on a towel to dry.

Often, you encounter a Lego brick when you step on it in the middle of the night. Agony! Go around the house with a zippered lingerie bag and pick up every Lego piece you see. Then, wash them all in a cold cycle with kids’ clothes. When the cycle is over, the clothing can go in the dryer, but not the Legos. You’ll need to lay out them on a big bath towel, and let them air dry.

5. Uggs

Classic-Uggs
Credit: Uggs
When your Uggs get grungy, put them in a mesh laundry bag, and wash them in the washing machine.

You can clean sheepskin boots in the washer. All you need is a mesh laundry bag and a little bit of clear laundry detergent. Wash your Uggs with some old towels in a delicate cycle, and leave them out overnight.

6. Sporting equipment

Girl-in-hockey-uniform
Credit: Getty Images / bigjohn36
If your kids play sports, you can clean their uniforms and some of their gear in your washing machine.

We asked a hockey mom with three active teenagers, and she advised us that, in addition to their uniforms, shoulder pads and other fabric pieces that attach with Velcro can go in the washer. Detach them, and wash in a Normal cycle.

7. Pet beds

Dog-bed
Credit: Reviewed.com / Cindy Bailen
Remove loose fur before you throw your pet's bed in the washing machine.

Remove loose fur with a vacuum cleaner or a rubber glove first. Then, take the cover off, if possible, and pop the bed in the washing machine. You might need to wash very large dog beds at the laundromat.

8. Yoga mats

Yoga-mat
Credit: Getty Images / LanaSweet
Yoga mats can get gross and sweaty. If yours is washable, put it in the machine and run a delicate cycle with a small amount of gentle laundry detergent.

Some yoga mats are machine washable. If the manufacture’s site claims that yours is, wash it by itself, using a delicate cycle with a small amount of gentle detergent. (Using too much detergent may leave a slippery residue on the mat—dangerous when you’re doing your asanas.) Don’t let the mat go through the spin cycle. Take it out, squeeze out as much water as you can, and put it down on a bath towel.

9. Pillows

Assuming you’ve checked the labels to make sure they’re washable, put pillows in the washing machine two at a time, to keep the washer balanced. Use gentle detergent, and select the delicate cycle. You may need to run an extra spin cycle, with foam pillows. Put the pillows in the dryer with a few dryer balls.

10. Sneakers

Lots of runners don't realize that you can clean sneakers in the washer. Brush off loose dirt, and add the kicks to the washing machine with a few old towels to help balance the load. Pour in liquid laundry detergent, and run the washer on a cold delicate cycle. Always let sneakers air dry.

Our editors review and recommend products to help you buy the stuff you need. If you make a purchase by clicking one of our links, we may earn a small share of the revenue. Our picks and opinions are independent from any business incentives.

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Our editors review and recommend products to help you buy the stuff you need. If you make a purchase by clicking one of our links, we may earn a small share of the revenue. Our picks and opinions are independent from any business incentives.
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