Clothes. Socks. Towels. The usuals – but do you know that there are non-clothing items you can put in the washing machine? Here are a few examples:
1. Stuffed Toys
A kid’s stuffed toy will get dirty at some point. If it builds up too much dirt and grime, it can be a breeding ground for bacteria and allergens.
Pre-soak your stuffed toy and spot clean noticeable stains before putting it in through the wash cycle
Place your stuffed toy inside a mesh bag to protect it from being damaged by the tumbling or spinning action. An unused pillow case can substitute for a mesh bag if you don’t have one.
Not all stuffed toys can be chucked in the washing machine; if it contains the following delicate parts, it may be best to just wash it by hand:
- Electrical parts (voice box, lights)
- Leather parts
- Paper fillings
2. Loofah Sponge
With its porous structure, a loofah sponge has a lot of surface area for soap gunk and dead skin cells to stick to – a buffet table for bacteria to breed in.
Just give it a quick wash using the good old vinegar + baking soda solution instead of detergent (we’re trying to get read of soap gunk, remember?).
If your washing machine has the ‘sanitize’ course or a hot water setting, it would be better.
3. Small Mats and Rugs
Yes, this also includes car mats.
First, shake off all the dust and debris outside to prevent it from clogging up the washer. Pre-soak and spot clean as needed. Don’t use either hot or cold water settings because this can end up shrinking your rug and damaging its rubber parts.
Set your washing machine at delicate. Because this is a heavy item, you may need to add a few towels or mats in to balance the load.
Spin drying mats and rags are fine; never dry them with heat for same reason why you shouldn’t use a hot water setting during the cycle.
4. Shower Curtains
Plastic shower curtains can also grow moldy and gunky when left unchecked.
To wash this, add warm water and your choice of detergent to your washing machine and put it on the heaviest setting. Don’t dry it with heat as this can damage the plastic. There is no need to spin dry it as well; you can hang it back on the rod to air dry.
5. Canvas Belts
Cloth belts are fine to include in your regular laundry session. Just place it in a mesh bag (or a pillowcase) so that the metal bits won’t damage your washing machine’s tub.
Spilled your baon inside your bag? No problem, you can toss it in the washing machine to get it smelling and looking brand new again.
Start by cleaning out the dust and debris outside, and spot cleaning hard stains. Next place your bag in a mesh or a pillow case inside-out; this will prevent straps from getting caught on the washing machine.
Put your washing machine on the delicate setting. Once done, hang your bag to dry.
7. Eco Bags
Whether its made from vinyl or from cloth, you can throw an eco bag to the washing machine if it gets too dirty.
If it’s made of pure cotton, you can use your dryer (whether spinning or heating) with no problems. You should opt for air drying if its made from vinyl.
8. Mouse Pads
Sweat, chips, and energy drinks – these are the most common causes for dirty mouse pads. They can also be a breeding ground for bacteria.
Clean your mouse pad mat once a month in the washing machine with detergent and warm water on a delicate setting. Skip the spin or heat drying and opt for air drying.
9. Mop Heads
If your mop head is detachable, it can be washed in the washing machine.
Place the mop head in a mesh bag (or the ever-trusty pillowcase) to keep it from scratching the tub, and throw it in the washing machine with your usual detergent. Don’t use either hot or cold setting as this can damage its plastic parts.
10. Small Toys
We’re not talking about your husband’s Gundam collection.
Load small toys like Legos and your pet’s squeaky toy in a mesh bag (or again, a pillowcase). You can wash this along with towels and other heavy items so that they won’t bang on the tub too much.
Don’t use the hot or cold setting as this can damage plastic parts. Skip the spin drying and heat drying as well.
Miguel Mores worked for 5 years as a member of the product management team for a home appliance company in the Philippines. He started 101appliance to answer the most common customer questions that he has encountered during his time in the industry. He now works in the digital marketing field and manages a small online bookstore on the side.