The Great And Wondrous Powers Of Your Washing Machine
Here’s a helpful tip: your washing machine can do far more than you may think. Forget clothing; washing machines can equally clean a whole bevy of household items–from stuffed animals to car mats. Cleaning your world is about to get so much easier. It’s time to think outside the blouse.
[Disclaimer: You should certainly consult any legible care tags and abide vehemently by their instructions. Never assume that because an item is a candidate for the washing machine it can play as nice in the dryer. In general, the dryer is where things go to shrivel and die in my book, but the washer, ah, the washer, that’s where they go to come back to life.]
1. Backpacks & other bags
I wouldn’t suggest throwing your leather handbag in the wash, but generally speaking, I haven’t met a backpack or beach bag that couldn’t survive a gentle cycle.
Remove any straps and buckles that can be removed and then throw that baby in. You can target interior crumb/goop situations by turning the bag inside out.
Sneakers are such a prime candidate for the washing machine that it pains me most people don’t realize it’s even an option. I wash my sneaks on a regular basis (I mean not weekly, I’m not that crazy), and I have yet to have a pair complain about the experience.
As with anything, consult the care instructions for your particular shoe if you’re concerned. Many fancier athletic shoes aren’t supposed to be put through the wash (although I’ve done it and look, we’re all still alive over here), and leather shoes are an obvious no-go. Suede can be touchy too, although to be frank I recently bit the bullet and put a pair of my suede-adorned footwear through the gentle cycle and they came out dancing.
Canvas and nylon sneakers do particularly well with a good old wash.
Remove the laces from your shoes before washing, as well as the insoles (if you can). These things can be given a sink bath. Use cold water only so as not to melt any shoe-glue, and throw a stupid towel into the load if you have a babe napping nearby and want to curb the noise. And don’t, for heaven’s sake, even think about putting those tennies in the dryer, you dip.
Some curtains require dry cleaning, but many can DIY-cleaned in the washing machine. Be aware of the size of the panels in proportion to the size of your gasket; if they’re particularly large or of a heavy material you might want to wash individual panels in separate loads.
If you had any idea how much dust is currently coating your window coverings you’d scurry right over, yank those suckers down and throw them in for a spin around the dust-death ring.
4. Shower curtains
This might fall into the above category, only sometimes the mind doesn’t lead to obvious places, and so I figured I’d call out the shower curtain especially.
Let’s just put it this way: if shower curtains couldn’t be put in the washing machine, I would have had to have bought about thirty by now.
Dude. Did you know you can put pillows in the washing machine? ‘Cause you totally can. Down and fiberfill pillows are generally allowed to be cleaned in the machine. As long as you don’t get over-excited and over-stuff the pillows into one load, you should be safe with a gentle cycle and some warm water.
A low or air fluff dryer and dryer balls or clean tennis balls can puff those pillows back up after the fact.
You’ll sleep so much better knowing you’re not resting your keppey on a vilely plush bacteria-infested mound.
6. Stuffed animals
Put ’em in.
They’re covered in boogers and jelly and they’re going to come out swinging, I swear it.
7. Car mats
Alright, so this is the one item I’ve never personally attempted, but I have heard tell you can safely remove the stench of carpool from your car mats by throwing them in the washing machine.
You know what? I say live on the edge, stop being so cautious, and put that thing you want cleaned in the washing machine! Except cashmere. Don’t put that in. And also a friend of a friend shoved his comforter into the washer and subsequently broke the washing machine, flooded the entire upstairs, and likely risked dumpage from his fiance in the process, so I mean, I’m saying be daring, not dumb.
What crazy thing have you (un) successfully put through the washing machine? Weigh in here would you please!?
Image credit: BHG
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