We all know the rules of what can and can’t go into the washing machine. But, as the saying goes, rules were meant to be broken! Read on to find out how you can save yourself the hassles of going to the dry cleaner by carefully washing some of the trickier items yourself.
The kids will probably hate the idea of their favourite soft toys being given a few spins in the washing machine but because these guys are a hotbed of germs, washing them is a necessary evil. Do it once a week, at a time when the kids won’t notice that they’ve been missing for a few hours.
As long as the stuffed toy isn’t filled with foam balls, nor has any delicate embellishments or electronic parts then it should be fine in the washing machine. Place it in a mesh laundry bag to protect the plush material and any plastic parts (eyes, nose, etc.) and wash on a delicate cycle. A dryer could melt the plastic parts so simply hang up to dry.
Big and fluffy as they are, pillows can comfortably go into the washing machine, as long as they’re not full of feathers. You can even wash two at a time! For extra cleaning oomph, add a drop of bleach to the water to kill all the nasties. Pillows can go through the dryer as well, but add 4 or 5 tennis balls to the machine first – these will tumble around and keep the pillow from lumping up.
Curtains traditionally shouldn’t be thrown into the washing machine because of the delicate fabric. But, if you put them on a low spin cycle with cold water you can save yourself a trip to the dry cleaner.
Lo and behold, contrary to popular belief silk can survive the much-feared washing machine! So long as it’s done properly of course. The gentle setting with cold water is the ticket to silk-in-the-washer bliss.
Surely sneakers are too chunky for the washing machine! Another myth busted: sneakers are actually A-Okay for the wash. Just remove the laces and insoles or they’ll get tangled around the drum.
Rugs could be considered the ultimate “Dry clean only” items. They’re bulky yet made of delicate fibres that are dyed. If your rug can fit into your washing machine comfortable, here’s to wash it safely: roll it up, topside facing out, and slide into a big pillowcase, pin the pillowcase opening to keep the rug from sliding out and put in the machine on the gentlest cycle with cold water. Don’t let the rug go through the dryer though, hang it up on the line or inside over a door.
Plastic shower curtains
Shower curtain a little grimy on the bottom? Wash it on a delicate cycle with warm water but no spin. If the shower curtain is heavily soiled, first scrub at the dirty areas and soak it in a tub with laundry detergent before putting it in the washing machine.
Hang the curtain up as soon as you take it out of the washing machine so that it doesn’t dry wrinkled.
Don’t sweat the small stuff. Giving the yoga mat a refresh is as easy as putting it in the washer. Use a gentle laundry detergent and don’t run it through the spin cycle or the dryer, simply air dry it.
Backpacks, school bags, lunch bags and gym bags
The key thing to remember when about to wash a backpack is: take everything out of the bag and pockets first! Also, the straps could get caught in the machine, so remove them (if you can) or put the entire backpack in a laundry bag or pillowcase. Add a mild laundry detergent and check on the bag once the machine goes into spin, as it might start to bunch up. When done, hang up to dry on the line.
And, most surprising of all, Lego bricks!
Lego’s official site pleads that you don’t put your bricks in the washing machine. But a few rogue parents have taken to Lego’s message boards proclaiming that they always wash their Lego bricks in the washing machine. Their trick: to put the pieces into a pillowcase to minimise the noise and keep the pieces from damaging the drum.