From yoga mats to mop heads, here are 15 household items you can clean in a washing machine

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A lot of household items get nasty. But don't toss them out. Try tossing them in your clothes washer instead. My washing machine is churning right now, busily working on a soapy load of jeans. It's one of the most functional appliances in our homes.

While cleaning and doing laundry may not be your favourite chores, numerous studies show that its benefits go beyond just having an immaculate home. University College London researchers found that active cleaning for as little as 20 minutes can have a positive impact on your mental health and reduce stress and anxiety by up to 20%.

Another study found that having a fresh-smelling, clean home has short-term and long-term benefits for mental health, including immediate improved mood.

READ MORE | From your fridge to your dog’s toys, here’s how to spring clean your home

So here' are 15 ways to utilise your washing machine's capabilities to achieve a clean home:

1 - Stuffed animals

The washing machine's gentle or delicate cycle can handle many of them.

2 - Tennis shoes

First, to wash them in a machine, take out the laces and zip them inside a small mesh lingerie bag. Toss the mesh bag in the washer along with your shoes and some old towels. The towels balance the load and minimize the annoying banging noise.

3 - Mop heads

Removable mop heads (not sponge mops) can be taken off and tossed in the washer by themselves, perhaps with a bit of bleach.

4 - Cloth and silicone oven mitts

Put the cloth in the washer and the silicon in the dishwasher.

5 - Small toys

Toss into a mesh laundry bag and wash with towels.

6 - Plastic shower curtains and liners

Shower curtains and their plastic liners can get quite gross. Toss them in a warm-water cycle and let them take their shower.

laundry, washing machine

Illustration photo by Getty Images

7 - Yoga mats and sports padding 

Your yoga mats can usually go in the washer on the gentle cycle with some mild detergent. 

8 - Patio furniture cushions

If your patio-furniture cushions fit in your washer and still leave room for the machine to spin, go ahead and wash them there.

9 - Pet beds

Cat and dog beds can often go right into the washer. If the bed is too large for your washer, you can take it to a laundromat.

10 - Nylon pet collars and leashes

If the items are made of nylon, scrub the stink away in your washer. Put the items in a mesh bag first, and take off the ID tags for best results.

11 - Pillows

Most foam-filled or synthetic pillows can handle the washing machine's gentle cycle.

12 - Baseball caps

Washing machines are OK for most caps.

13 - Reusable canvas grocery bags

If your bag is made of canvas or nylon, toss it in the washer on hot and run it through the dryer when done. Turn inside-out for best results

14 - Backpacks

Turn a backpack inside-out before washing, and if possible, throw it in a mesh bag or pillowcase that you then tie shut. 

15 - Cloth lunch boxes

Fortunately, most of these cloth sacks and lunch boxes can go right in the washer in a warm-water load. 

Video by TCA

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