I love to find great out-of-the-box uses for everyday items, so I love the idea that you can use your washing machine for more than just clothes! Some of these save you time, be more efficient, and may have you rethink the way you used to do certain things! Just be sure to properly prep the items and use the machine properly.
Reusable Cloth Grocery Bags: Have you ever thought about cleaning these? If you haven't, the reality is, they could be pretty dirty with all kinds of things you don't want touching your food or other items (think bacteria or mold). As long as the bags are made out of materials such as cotton, canvas, or polyester, you can wash them in your washing machine! Just be sure to check the label or search for specific washing instructions based on the fabric type.
Makeup Sponges: You'd want something that touches your face each day to be clean, right? Well, if you have reusable make-up sponges, you can toss them in a mesh bag, wash them in the washing machine, and lay flat to dry. Way better than hand washing yourself!
Shower Curtains: Shower curtains can get nasty quickly! If yours is looking dirty or has mold or mildew build-up, simply toss it in the washing machine with a couple of towels to help scrub, and then hang to dry.
Pillows: You sleep on these every night, and they collect all kinds of things, including your drool and sweat. Eww! If your pillow is made of down, cotton, or poly-filled, you can most likely put it in the washing machine! To dry, you'll want to use clean tennis balls or dryer balls to maintain their fluff.
Stuffed Animals/Toys: Let's be honest. Kids can be tough on their toys, and stuffed toys can get especially nasty. Thankfully, many of these are safe to put in the washing machine. It is important to check the labels, and it's a good idea to place them into a delicates bag. If there's any concern about drying the toy, simply lay out to dry.
Silk: Most people assume silk cannot go in the washing machine, but in many cases, it can. After checking the label, put your item(s) into a delicates bag and be sure to use laundry soap, not detergent, which can damage the silk. After washing, air dry.
Canvas Shoes: New canvas shoes look great, but sadly, they can get dirty pretty quickly. If your shoes are made out of materials such as cotton, hemp, or linen, they are generally washing machine-safe. Be sure to check that there are not suede or leather components, as those are not washing machine-safe. To wash canvas shoes, place in a mesh bag, and air dry.
Wool: Wool doesn't always have to be hand-washed! Wash wool using a mesh bag for each individual wool item, use the delicate cycle, cold water, and use detergent specifically made for wool clothing.
Down Jackets: Be sure to read the label for proper instructions, but most down jackets can go in the washing machine. It is recommended to hang dry.
Car Floor Mats: These get a lot of use and can get dirty easily. Save yourself from needing a professional and wash them with cold water and lay to dry.