Make Your Washing Machine Work for You

Unconventional Items that Can Be “Laundered”

As a young wife and mom I learned very quickly that multitasking is the key to survival. One way I do this is by using my clothes washer for a myriad of tasks. Your trusty washer can save your stuff, your time, elbow grease, and get rid of dust and germs. Here are a few ways my machine works for me:

  1. Vacuum filters. Most vacuum filters nowadays have a foam part that must be cleaned periodically, and the washing machine is perfect for that. Shake all the excess dust off and wash in hot water on the regular cycle with towels and such. You can throw in some bleach, and finish with some fabric softener, which will make your next vacuuming session smell great! Air dry before using.
  2. Dish scrubbers and brushes. I love scourers, scrubbers, and brushes for washing pots and such rather than dish cloths. However, unlike wash cloths that can just be thrown in the laundry, these are sometimes hard to clean. My solution: buy several of your favorite scrubby or brush and wash them with your towels. Washing them will not hurt them (well, maybe over time), and when washed in hot water with a little bleach you no longer have to worry about bacteria.
  3. Toys. Plush toys usually wash very well, even if their tags say otherwise. Group small plush toys together and wash in a lingerie bag. Large plush toys can we be loose, and all should be washed on cold (or warm if they are soiled) on the gentle cycle. Air dry.
  4. Bed and decorative pillows. Remove cases and wash one at a time in hot water on the regular cycle. Wash alone to ensure freedom of movement and thorough washing. Add a little bleach to the cycle to whiten and kill germs and mites. Dry one at a time on high heat. I find this really fluffs the pillows and makes them smell great.
  5. Shower mats and curtains. These can be washed in hot water on the regular cycle. Wash separately and throw in some bleach to kill pesky mildew. Air dry mats, but plastic shower curtains can be dried on low heat for just a few minutes. Machine washing these will clean them better than you ever could by hand. Trust me.
  6. Furniture cushion covers. Most of these zip, and can be removed with little effort. Remove the cover, zip it back up, and wash in cold water on the regular cycle. Most upholstery fabrics can be washed in cold water with no problem. If you’re afraid of washing the fabric, test a hidden spot with water and the tiniest bit of laundry detergent. Don’t overload the washer; Make sure there is ample room for the covers to move around. Air dry and then throw them in the dryer for just a few seconds to get out the wrinkles.
  7. Makeup bags, diaper bags, etc. Turn bags inside out and secure all fasteners, straps, etc. Wash in cold water on the delicate setting. Air dry.

A clothes washer can truly be a girl’s best friend. Not only will it make your life easier and cleaner, it will save your stuff. Many appliances can be used in unconventional ways, but the washing machine is the one of the most versatile. Think outside the box when it comes to cleaning and home management and you will find other ways to make housekeeping a piece of cake.

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