Put Your Washer to Work by Cleaning These Surprising Things

Even though your washing machine is best suited for your dirty laundry, there are lots of other - often surprising - things that can be cleaned in the washer. Here are just a few to keep in mind.

Sports Gear

You probably already wash your workout clothes after you've used them, but you might not know that you can also wash pads, compression sleeves, and other kinds of workout gear that don't always make it into your clothes hamper. Keep all velcro straps closed, place plastic pieces into a mesh laundry bag, and wash your dirty sports gear on the gentle cycle. Air dry them when you're done for the best results.

Yoga Mats

Just like your workout gear, yoga mats can be safely cleaned in your washing machine. It's best to use a machine without a central agitator if you can since they work best on delicate fabrics, but if you have a machine with a central agitator, simply unroll your yoga mat and arrange it around the agitator as evenly as possible.

Canvas Shoes

Unless the directions from the manufacturer say otherwise, canvas shoes can be washed in a washing machine. Remove the laces and any insoles, place the shoes in a mesh laundry bag, and wash with warm water and detergent. There are even some leather shoes that can be washed this way, but never assume that all shoes are safe for your washing machine. Always read the care and cleaning directions from the manufacturer before you do anything.

Toys

Stuffed toys and even some plastic toys can be cleaned in your washing machine. Plastic toys can be placed in a mesh laundry bag and thrown into a load of laundry with some warm water. If you have a sick child and you want to disinfect their toys, add some disinfectant to the wash.

Stuffed animals can be put in the wash as well, providing they don't have any mechanical components or they're too old and delicate for it. Place a stuffed animal in a mesh laundry bag and put it in with the rest of your laundry.