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10 Surprising Items You Can Clean in the Washing Machine

When something becomes dirty, it’s pretty obvious that the right thing to do is to clean it. You mop the floors and dust the shelves, and when clothes get dirty, you just throw them in the washing machine. But every once in awhile, we find ourselves looking at an item that obviously needs cleaning and think: ‘How in the world do I get that thing cleaned?’
Well, turns out that the washing machine is the answer to more than just clothing. We are pretty sure you will find a few of those puzzling items on this list of 10 things that can be cleaned in the washing machine in your home, too.  

1. Sneakers

Washing your sneakers can be very refreshing. You almost feel like you got a whole new pair of shoes. All you need to do is remove the laces, the insole inserts, and any other padding you may have inside the shoes. Toss them in the machine, add the normal amount of detergent plus a tablespoon of vinegar to deodorize, and set the machine on cold-water delicate cycle. To avoid the sound of shoes bumping against the machine walls you can throw in a few old towels or mats to soften the noise. 

2. Pillows

It’s safe to assume we all wash our pillowcases regularly, but what about the pillows themselves? Apparently, it is recommended to wash them about twice a year, and unless they have a ‘dry-clean only’ label, there is nothing wrong with sticking them in the washing machine. It is best to wash two pillows at a time to balance the load and ensure the water and detergent circulate more effectively.
  • Down and feather pillows – wash with a small amount of powder detergent and avoid the liquid kind. It may cause the content of the pillow to clump. 
  • Polyester Pillows – wash with warm water using a gentle cycle, and add one tablespoon of liquid soap. Add a rinse of cold-water at the end to make sure all the soap is washed out.

3. Yoga Mats

Yoga Mats
It’s important that yoga mats be cleaned regularly. You do quite a bit of sweating on them, not to mention the dirt they collect off the floor. Double-check that the label of your mat doesn’t advise against a machine washing. If you’re in the clear, you can pop your yoga mat in the washing machine on a delicate cycle in cool water (30°C/ 86°F or less). You can add mild detergent if you want, but it’s perfectly okay to only use water. 

4.  Silicone Kitchen Utensils

Silicone Kitchen Utensils
Silicone baking mats, spatulas, and even oven mitts are all completely safe to toss in the machine alongside your kitchen towels, for example. You will need a strong detergent to battle the oils left from foods, though. Use the gentle spin cycle to prevent deformation of the tools. 

5. Car Mats

Car Mats
You don’t have to wait until your next visit to the car wash just to clean your car mats. Being on the floor under everyone’s feet is a sure way for them to accumulate dirt faster than the rest of your car anyway. Before putting them in the washing machine, vacuum them thoroughly on both sides and rub some baking soda into the cloth to help remove stains and unpleasant smells. Afterward, you are free to wash them in the machine with regular detergent and a stain remover if necessary.

6. Mop Heads

Mop Heads
It’s no wonder mop heads need to be cleaned quite often, they collect all of the dirt you don’t want on the floor. To avoid a situation where a mop is too dirty to actually do its job, maintain its cleanliness by simply sticking it in the washing machine. All you need to remember is to add half a cup of bleach and wash it by itself on a normal cycle. Once the cycle is finished, rinse it to get rid of the excess water and let it dry.

7.  Stuffed Animals

Stuffed Animals
A fact we tend to forget is that stuffed animals collect A LOT of germs. They get dragged around the floor, taken to parks, friend’s houses, the list goes on. Once you’ve made sure the beloved stuffed animal doesn’t contain any electronics, batteries, or foam filler balls, you can place it in a mesh bag and wash on a gentle cycle in cold water. Afterward, leave it out to dry and it’s as good as new.

8.  Small Toys

Small Toys
Here's another one from the toy category that may surprise you – it is possible to wash small toys like Legos, action heroes, or building blocks in the washer. It’s the perfect solution to avoid the tedious task of cleaning each piece separately. Place all of the toys in a washing bag for delicates and set the machine to a delicates or wool cycle (low temperature). When it’s done, simply place them on a towel to dry out. 

9. Shower Curtains

Shower Curtains
You can easily wash your shower curtains in the washing machine to remove soap scum and mildew. Cushion the machine by adding a few old towels to the load, add a bit of your regular detergent as well as some bleach for the mildew and gunk (chlorine bleach for white curtains and oxygen bleach for colored ones).

10. Backpacks

Firstly, open all of the pockets and hidden spots to make absolutely sure nothing is left in the bag. Use a vacuum if you need for any crumbs or larger pieces. Then clean the straps with liquid laundry detergent and let them soak for 30 minutes. Finally, place the backpack in an old pillowcase or a large mesh bag and wash in a gentle cycle using either cold or warm water, with a bit of your regular detergent.  
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