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14 Everyday Items That Are Actually Machine-Washable

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1. Backpacks

So long as your bag is made out of canvas or another washable material, it’ll be fine going in the washing machine. Just put it in a pillowcase or a laundry bag so the straps and clips don’t get stuck or rattle around too much, and wash it in cold water.

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2. Gym Bags

Think about how gross our gym bags must get when they’re loaded up with sweaty gear every day. Just follow the same process as washing a backpack, but turn it inside out first so you make sure you’re targeting the really dirty parts.

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3. Hats

If your hat is made of a machine-washable material, then it’s good to go in the machine. You can put it in with the rest of your laundry on a cold cycle, and then leave it to dry in the the sun. Stuff it with a towel to make sure it doesn’t lose its shape as it dries.

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4. Pillows

While you probably know that your pillowcases need washing at least once a week, how often are you washing the pillows themselves? It’s good to wash them every couple of months to get rid of dust and other gross things that can creep in. While the majority of pillows are safe to go in the machine (except foam ones), make sure to check the tag on your pillow first. Use warm water and put your machine on a gentle, long cycle, with an extra rinse. If you’re using a top-loader, put in two at once so it’s balanced, and if your pillow is made from down, add a tennis ball to the machine to keep it fluffy. Line-dry in the sun.

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5. Doonas

It doesn’t matter whether you call it a comforter, duvet, or doona, it can go in the wash! Use cool/warm water and a very gentle cycle. Make sure to use a non-bleach detergent, and run it through an extra-spin drying cycle if you’ve got it. It’ll be best in a big machine, so if you can, take it to the laundromat and use one of their giant washers. Tumble-dry it on a low heat with some tennis balls to fluff it up.

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6. Shower curtains

You can put your plastic shower curtains in the washing machine with a load of towels, and wash like normal. The towels will stop the curtains from tearing. Add a cup of baking soda or vinegar if they’re extra stained.

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7. Sneakers

God, white sneakers are cool but they’re a bitch to keep clean. Well, you can very easily pop them in the washer and make them look brand new again. Just wash them with a load of towels on a gentle setting, which will stop them from banging around too much. If you want the laces to be extra clean, unthread them and put inside a laundry bag so they don’t tangle. To dry, stuff them with dry towels or newspaper and leave in the sun for a day.

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8. Yoga mat

Unless your mat specifically tells you not to machine-wash it, it’s good to go, so long as you don’t have an agitator in your machine. Wash it on a very gentle cycle, with mild detergent if you’ve got it. Once it’s clean, lay it out and roll it up with a big towel, to soak up some of the water. Then hang it up over the line, or lay it flat to dry in the sun so it doesn’t get mouldy.

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9. Soft toys

Teddy bears and other stuffed animals can easily go in the machine. Just pop them in a laundry bag or pillowcase, and use the gentlest cycle with only a little bit of mild detergent. Let them sunbake for a day to make sure they’re super dry before going back in your bed.

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10. Rugs and mats

These suckers get dirty pretty quickly because they have grubby feet on them all day. Don’t go putting your antique Persian carpet in the washer, but the majority of everyday mats and rugs can be easily washed with the rest of your towels. Put it on a gentle setting if it’s particularly delicate, and wash in cold if it’s brightly coloured.

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11. Mop heads

If you have a fancy mop head, like a Swiffer, double check it can be machine washed. Most detachable mop heads can easily be washed in the machine, and you can add in some extra disinfectant or bleach if it’s particularly manky. Just put it on a gentle cycle, and lay it out to dry in the sun. Make sure it’s 100% dry before you put it away.

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12. Eco bags

Considering you put your groceries in these, they definitely deserve to be washed. They can just go in with your normal load! Just make sure to use cold water if your bags are plastic-coated.

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13. Outdoor furniture pads

After a whole summer of being used, these pads might be a little gross. Luckily, they’re very easy to wash. Just put them in the machine, one at a time, on a gentle cycle.

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14. Car mats

If your car floor mats are still looking a little dirty after vacuuming, you can definitely whack them in the washing machine. Wash in cold water on a gentle cycle, and lay in the sun to dry. Just don’t wash them too often (no more than once every six months or so) because the rubber backing won’t be very happy.

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