It's all about making things a little easier for yourself.

Updated October 14, 2019
Matthew Williams

Let's face it: If you had to hand-wash everything, you'd have pruned hands for life. The better way to get all your cleaning done? Head to the laundry room and let the washing machine do as much of the dirty work as possible. Here are seven items you can toss right into your machine for a wash.

Related: How to Wash and Care for Cashmere and Wool Sweaters

Pillows

Did you know that pillows should be cleaned every three to six months to remove mold, bacteria, and odors? Whether yours is made of natural fibers (like down) or synthetic materials (like polyester), most pillows can be washed in the machine. Pro tip: It's best to use a front-loading washer since pillows tend to float and stay dry in spots in a top-loading machine.

Backpacks

Whether it's worn from hiking mountains or trekking to and from school, a working backpack needs cleaning. This cleaning technique works best for canvas bags—be sure to check the tag for "machine-washable" and spot-test it first for discoloration. Remember to empty out the pockets, turn it inside out, and remove key chains, patches, pins, and other embellishments.

Shower Curtain

When was the last time you cleaned your shower curtain? Your liner needs a good wash at the start of every season. To clean a vinyl, nylon, cotton, or hemp liner, machine wash it using hot water and mild detergent. Then shake and rehang the liner to dry. Whatever you do, don't put it in the dryer.

Stuffed Toys

They get a lot of love from your kids, but stuffed toys come look less than lovable when covered in bacteria and grime. While this is not recommended for plush toys, it can work for soft toys as long as there are no excessive embellishments sewn on the outside or musical machinery in the stuffing inside.

Related: 12 Things You Should Do Before Tossing Your Laundry in the Washing Machine

Sports Equipment

Shin guards, elbow pads, kneepads—fabric-lined protective gear like this needs a good, thorough washing after game day. Before tossing these items into the wash, close velcro straps and zippers to avoid snagging, and use a lukewarm cycle to prevent disfiguring the structure of the items.

Mats and Rugs

From the front door to the hallway, these see the most grime from traffic. Your protective mats and rugs will have different cleaning specifications depending on the material, but generally, you can clean machine-washable throw rugs and runners with your weekly load of laundry.

Pet Bed

After all, Fido needs a clean place to sleep at night, too. First, make sure the bedding base cushion is machine-washable. Then, wash both the fabric lining and the cushion in the machine. It's best to wash these two pieces separately from the rest of your load of laundry, unless it's with like colors.

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