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18 Surprising things you can clean in the washing machine

Most households depend on their washing machine. We rely on them to do our laundry and ensure that we always have clean clothes. However, most of us are not making the most out of them Yes, its primary function is to clean clothes. However, in reality, they can do so much more than that. Here, we share18 surprising things you can clean in the washing machine.

Outdoor furniture cushions

If you have patio furniture you can clean the cushions in the washing machine on a cold, gentle cycle. It is not necessary to wash them regularly as they often don’t get used for the majority of the year, however, this is a great way to give them a freshen up. Do a pre-treat test on one of the cushions if you are nervous about how they will wash. Once you have washed them, simply leave them to air dry before you store them away.

Car Mats

As long as your car mat is not too big or too heavy for your machine, you should be able to place them in the washing machine to get clean. We use our cars on a daily basis and it is surprising how much grime and muck can build up. Being able to place the smaller mats in the washing machine can make a huge difference.

Headbands and hair ties

Many of us don’t even think about washing our hair ties and headbands. However, we should. Our hair accessories can over time get a build-up of oils from our hair and the products we use. Therefore, you should remember to wash them every now and then. As they are small, it is important you place them in a small mesh laundry bag and then add them to your normal wash.

Baseball caps

Similar to headbands, although they are in contact with our heads regularly, we do not always remember to wash them. Perhaps because we assume the washing machine will cause damage. However, as long as you place on a cold, delicate cycle this shouldn’t be a problem.


It is surprising how dust and dirt can build up on your curtains. Whilst you don’t have to wash them regularly, the results can be amazing. If your curtains are standard fabric and not too heavy, simply place them on a delicate cold water cycle. Hang them back up whilst they are still slightly damp as this can help remove the creases. If you have thicker curtains that are heavy then avoid placing them in the washing machine. Your washing machine drum can only take a certain load and this may simply be too much for it to handle.


Rubber-backed mats should be occasionally washed and they can easily be placed in the washing machine (just ensure you have not overloaded). They will come out of the machine looking so much better. However, you should avoid washing rubber-backed mats too often as over time it means they lose their grip.

Other mats such as bathmats should also be washed but on a more regular basis. Place these on hot wash in order to sanitise them. You can put them in a tumble dryer after to help keep their fluffiness. Ensure you leave the bathmats to dry completely before you place them back in your bathroom.

Yoga Mats

Again, something we potentially don’t think about washing, however placing your yoga mat in your washing machine is completely fine. Just ensure you place on a delicate cold cycle. Once they are washed air dry them flat to avoid them getting out of shape. In between washes, sanitise them after workouts.

Sports Equipment

Similar to yoga mats, there are several pieces of sports equipment that can become sweaty and disgusting quickly but can also be cleaned easily too. Shin pads, knee pads, gloves, etc can all be placed in the washing machine safely. Add them to a laundry mesh bag first and then add to the machine. Depending on how regularly you do the sport, the equipment should be washed around once a month.


If you’ve ever looked at the bottom of a rucksack you know how quickly they can build up dirt, especially if they belong to a child. The good news is that you can simply place them in the washing machine and have come out looking as good as new. If your bag has lots of straps, place them in a mesh laundry bag before placing them into the washing machine. If you don’t have one, ensure you flip the bag inside out so that the straps are on the inside and out of the way. Unzip all the pockets to ensure the most thorough clean and then leave the bag to air dry afterward.

Children’s toys

Our childrens' toys are potentially some of the grimiest items in our home and therefore you should ensure they are cleaned regularly, especially the kid’s favourite toys that they touch the most. Stuffed animals will be fine in the washing machine, however always check the label just in case. You can also wash plastic toys in the washing machine including Lego. If the toys are small, place them in a mesh laundry bag first.


Trainers or canvas shoes can be placed in the washing machine and the results can be transforming. Place them in a mesh laundry bag (or pillowcase if you don’t have one) and place them into your washing machine. Place some towels or bedding in with them to help fill up the gaps. This not only stops the shoes from making a racket in the washing machine, but it will also protect the drum and avoid any damage.

Reusable shopping bags

It’s a great step in the right direction that we are making a conscious effort to cut down on our plastic bags and opt for reusable bags instead. However, many of us forget to wash them, and ideally, they should be cleaned every few weeks to keep them hygienic. Add them to a load of washing every now and then to keep on top of it.

Material Lunch Boxes

Similar to reusable shopping bags, lunch boxes can quickly become messy, especially once they have been taken to and from school several times. Simply place them in the washing machine regularly to avoid them smelling and keeping them at their freshest.

Pet Beds

All pet owners know how dirty pet beds can get. They can start to smell and can quickly get covered in hairs. Luckily most pet beds wash well in the washing machine if they have removable covers. Start by vacuuming the excess hair off before placing it in the washing machine. Leave to air dry before placing them back on. Some items can be added to the washing load which helps dissolve and remove stubborn pet hair.

Pet Accessories

From pet toys to their collars and leads, all of these should be washed every now and then as well. For smaller items and to avoid the leads getting caught on anything, place them in a laundry mesh bag first.

Oven Mitts

Oven Mitts are used a lot in the kitchen and they can quickly get dirty. Whether yours are fabric or silicone, you shouldn’t have any problems simply adding them to your next washload.


We clean our pillowcases regularly but what about our actual pillows? It is recommended that they should be washed around twice a year. Handwash feather or down pillows. However, most synthetic pillows or foam-filled pillows should be fine in the washing machine as long as it's on a gentle cycle.

Cleaning tools

From rubber gloves to mop heads and sponges, we use these items almost every day to keep our house clean, but do we clean these tools enough? Potentially not. They are all able to be placed in the washing machine, so there is no excuse. Fill the load with some towels to avoid any damage to the machine or excessive noise. Also, place on high heat to sanitise the items and kill bacteria.

Not only can our washing machines provide us with clean clothes when we need them, but they can also clean so many more, potentially unexpected things that the majority of people are unaware of. If you make the most out of your washing machine it can help save you a lot of time and energy.

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