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10 Surprising Things You Should Be Cleaning In Your Washing Machine

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We all have to clean our homes. That's just a fact. There's nothing fun about it, but it's absolutely necessary.

Whether it's stains, germs, or grime that you need to get rid of, there are some things that we don't always know what to do with. How do we get them clean?

Sure, a lot of things we know we have to wash by hand, but there are a lot of things that your washing machine can actually clean for you, saving you a bunch of time and energy!

There are a lot of things on your list that your washing machine can help you with, check it out!

1. Sneakers

You can get those Converse shoes cleaner than you've ever seen them by throwing them in the washing machine.

Just take the laces and insoles out if possible, or if not, toss them in a pillow case so the laces don't get all tangled.

To keep it from sounding like a herd of elephants stomping around your laundry room, throw a couple of towels in there with them and it should act as a buffer.

Important note: Don't wash your running shoes

While many sneakers are fine in the wash, actually athletic running shoes can be badly damaged by the water heat and it could affect their shape and size. Your expensive gym shoes might be worth the hand washing effort.

2. Lunch Bags and Backpacks

You know that horrible moment when you realize you forgot something in your lunch bag over the weekend and now it smells terrible? I can't be the only one who has had this happen.

Well, it turns out that you can throw plain lunch bags and even your backpacks in the washing machine as long as they don't have any embellishments on them.

Just turn them inside out and wash on a gentle cycle. If you want to be extra cautious, you can throw them in a pillow case as well just for that added protection.

3. Small Rugs

Doormats, bathmats, and other small rugs you have around your house are likely perfectly fine to go in your washing machine.

As long as they are cotton or synthetic fibers, you should be okay. Wash in cold water on a gentle cycle, and if they do happen to have a rubber back, just make sure you aren't washing it too often.

4. Pillows

Many pillows are actually machine washable, and it's a really good idea to clean them regularly. While a lot of us may skip it because we've already washed the pillow case, the pillow underneath is still absorbing sweat and skin cells.

5. Stuffed Animals

Most stuffed animals are perfectly fine to go into the wash as well. While your child may be a little worried about their best friend, it'll help you feel a little bit more at ease when you see them cuddling up to them all the time.

It gets rid of dirt, germs, and bacteria that is stuck in the soft fabric. Just put them in a mesh bag and use the sanitize setting if your washing machine has it to get them as good as new.

6. Small Toys

While you may not really think that your kid's toys are all that dirty, chances are they are covered in grime. You can actually also wash your dog's favorite toys so they won't smell so terrible anymore.

Just make sure you use a mesh bag so the little pieces don't break off and go into the pipes, clogging it up for future cycles. Once again, the sanitize setting is your best friend for this one.

7. Shower Curtains

The plastic liner in your shower tends to get all slimy and covered in soap scum, but did you realize it's perfectly safe to put most of them in the wash?

The only stipulation is that they shouldn't go in the dryer, but if you put them in your washer with a couple of towels you'll find that it gets sparkling clean.

8. Canvas Grocery Bags

Avoiding plastic is great, but when you've been transporting your groceries for a while they may start to smell.

But luckily you can just toss them in the wash no problems at all. They are usually even safe to go in the dryer!

9. Pet Beds

Your dogs and cats may love their beds, but you probably do not love the smell. Usually they have an outside cover that you can unzip and wash no problem.

Depending on the inner stuffing, you may be able to wash that too. If it's like a regular pillow, it should be okay in the wash just like your pillows are, but if it's a big foam piece, fill your tub with warm water and add a scoop of laundry detergent. Wash the bed, and then rinse it off until the soap runs clean.

Let it air dry before putting the cover back on and then your pooch's bed will be like new.

10. Gym Bag

So you washed all your gym clothes but the bag still stinks? Don't worry, throw it in the wash with all the pockets open and empty and it should be good.

Hopefully this will help you get your house cleaner in no time!

Source - Huffington Post / CNET / HGTV / Readers Digest

Tanya has been writing for Shared for two years. She spends too much time thinking about dogs, Marvel movies, and ice cream. You can reach me at tanya@shared.com