4 Surprising Items You Can Clean in a Washing Machine

Did you know you can wash these four items in your washing machine?

Amanda Thomas
5-minute read
Episode #189

In the past, I’ve talked about surprising things you can wash in your dishwasher. The episode was so popular that I thought I would extend that line of thought and do another about what you can wash in your washing machine. We all know that clothes, towels, and sheets can go into the washing machine, but there are many other items around our homes that can also be cleaned inside it. I’m going to give you instructions on how to clean some of my favorite things in the washing machine.

1.) Stuffed Animals

Stuffed animals get a lot of love from their owners. Kids tend to drag them around, drool on them, share food with them, and take them on all sorts of adventures. This can lead the stuffed animals to become downright dirty, smelly creatures. Luckily, they can be easily washed in a washing machine.

The trick to cleaning stuffed animals in a washing machine is to keep them contained. Washing machines have parts that can catch and stretch limbs, eyes, and ears on some stuffed animals. To keep them safe in the wash cycle, they can be put into a pillowcase that is then tied shut. This will allow them to be washed, but will also keep their delicate pieces from being pulled off. Then, wash them on a gentle cycle with one spin cycle, and a low cycle through the dryer.

Remember, before you toss any stuffed animals into the washing machine, make sure to first look for loose parts. If the toy has any open seams, stitch them back up. If it has a loose eye or nose, secure it with a few loops with your thread and needle. Even on gentle cycles, those loose parts can get opened up more or pulled off. If you’re like most parents, it probably took you a bit of convincing to get the animal owner to allow you to give it a bath, so make sure it comes out looking better than it did going in!

2.) Plastic Toys

You know all those little plastic toys that accumulate on your floor? Most homes with kids have bins and bins of different types of plastic toys, some that toddlers suck on, others that bigger kids build with. Regardless of what type of plastic toys you have, they should be cleaned on a regular basis to rid them of germs, and the easiest way to do that is in the washing machine. The only plastic toys you should NEVER clean in a washing machine are ones that have batteries in them. If the toy talks, moves, or plays music, putting it in a washing machine will do more damage than good.

To clean these small plastic toys, the first thing you need is a mesh laundry bag. In fact, you may want to get a few of these bags and use one bag per type of toy. You can put Duplo blocks in one, baby toys in another, and toddler toys like Little People in another. This way, they are easier to put away after they dry. For smaller items, like Legos, you may want to use a mesh lingerie bag, as the holes in the mesh are smaller and will prevent pieces from getting lost in the washer.

Once you have your toys bagged, toss them in to the washer and set it on a sanitize cycle with no spin. You want the toys to be smothered in hot water, but don’t want to have to put up with the noise of a spin cycle (trust me on this one). After the cycle runs, pull the bags of toys out and spread them on clean towels on your floor. Allow them to air dry for an hour or so, then shake them a bit to release any water that got trapped in crevices. When they are dry, scoop them up and put them back into their appropriate bins, and rest easy knowing that you washed a bunch of kid germs down the drain.