10 Things You Didn’t Know Your Washing Machine Can Clean

4 min


The laundry room houses your most useful ally in the fight against life’s most intractable messes. But that’s not all it can do; did you know it can wash dishes, too? In this article, you’ll learn how to maximize the efficiency of your washing machine.

Most of the time we use our washing machines to clean clothes, but many other household items can also benefit from being put through the spin cycle. If you need to freshen up your laundry room, here are 10 unexpected things you can throw in the washing machine.

Plastic Shower Curtain Liners

A plastic shower curtain liner can quickly become disgusting due to mildew and stains from hard water, soap, and residual moisture. Yours will stay smelling fresher for longer if you wash it on the delicate cycle with a load of bath towels once every few weeks.



To revitalize dirty running shoes, simply wash them in the machine. Remove the laces and insoles first; the laces can be thrown in with the load, but the insoles must be washed by hand. Wash them in cold water with a load of old towels or rags, then let them dry naturally before lacing them up again.


Lunch Boxes

Your kids’ insulated lunch boxes put up with a lot of abuse every day. Worse yet, sticky, odorous messes are left behind when beverages are spilled or thermoses are not tightly sealed. You can clean lunchboxes in the washing machine by placing them in a load of towels and washing them in cold water.


Yoga Mats

A stinky yoga mat will not help you achieve inner peace. You can wash yours in the washing machine with a load of towels or sheets using a cold water gentle cycle. Remove the mat before the spin cycle and allow it to air dry before moving on to the next downward dog.


Stuffed Animals

Parents are well aware of the fact that children’s most prized possessions often end up filthy. Even though most plush toys’ care labels warn against machine washing, you can get away with it as long as the toys don’t have any music boxes or a lot of extra sewn-on decorations. This is the catch: To wash the toys with the rest of the load, simply place them in a mesh laundry bag or a pillowcase and toss them in with the other items of similar color. When the wash is done, hang the items to dry.


Lego Bricks

If you take out the bricks with stickers or paint, Legos that are covered in fingerprints and germs can be washed in the washing machine. Throw all of the bricks into a pillowcase and secure the opening shut. Then, throw it in the washer with your other cool-water washables. Do not put them in the dryer, as this could cause them to melt. Instead, spread them out to dry on a towel and then gather your friends for a sorting party.


Pet Collar & Leashes

Collars and leashes made of materials other than leather can be washed in the washing machine to be refreshed, provided there aren’t too many studs or other ornaments on them. Due to the close proximity of the collar to the skin, it is important to use a detergent formulated for sensitive skin to avoid causing any irritation to Fido or Fifi.



Most pillows, contrary to popular belief, are actually machine-washable. It’s a good idea to clean your pillows every so often, whether they’re down or synthetic. Place two in the washing machine at a time to maintain equilibrium and run a warm, gentle cycle. To prevent them from bunching up, toss them into the dryer on a low heat setting with some dryer balls.


Sports Equipment

Sporting activities are both enjoyable and physically demanding. When it comes to minimizing odor, have your kids toss their shin guards, kneepads, elbow pads, and any other fabric-lined gear they wear under their uniforms into the washing machine on a warm wash cycle. After that, either lay them flat or hang them on a clothesline to dry in the fresh air. Everyone will be grateful, but especially those who have to come into close contact with your heavily armored athlete.


Baseball Caps

Hats and caps made of higher-quality materials, such as those with plastic crowns and good stitching, can be machine-washed. Use cold water and a gentle cycle to wash with clothes of the same color. Put some crumpled newspaper inside while they dry to keep their shape.


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