Modern washing machines have a number of settings so you can choose one that’s just right for the job at hand. Here are a few items that can be washed easily in a home washer. If you have a machine with a central agitator, you may want to consider taking some of the larger items to the local laundromat where you’ll find drum washers.
Pillows should be cleaned regularly to remove dust mites, bacteria, and odours. There is nothing more welcoming at the end of the day than a soft, fluffy pillow that smells wonderfully clean. Pillows with any stuff type can be washed in a home machine. Down, polyester, and gel will come clean. Use a long cycle and hot water. Avoid bleach but do use detergent and possibly some oxy-powder, such as Oxyclean, to deodorize them completely. Be sure to dry pillows completely in a hot dryer before using.
Duvets, blankets, and comforters benefit from a regular wash in warm water. Use a front loader to ensure the detergent and rinse water can thoroughly soak the entire piece. Select a long cycle and dry thoroughly with tennis balls to restore loft to the filling.
Slip covers can be washed annually, or when necessary. If you have a lot of visitors or young children, you already know that upholstery can become quickly soiled and retain odours. IKEA has a wonderful selection of slip-covered furniture that is ideal for home washing. Remove the cover and wash in warm water with detergent and oxy-powder. Use the regular or econo spin cycle to remove as much water as possible. Put them back on the furniture while still damp for a tight, even fit without wrinkles.
Sports gear, workout clothing, and yoga tights can be washed in warm water and oxy-powder to remove smells. School backpacks are notorious for getting dirty due to frequent wearing. Running shoes can be washed but sometimes the vinyl part of the sole will age prematurely so washing by hand is sometimes best.
A variety of plastics, foams, and stuffed items can be washed at home. Yoga mats benefit from a regular deep cleaning to remove oils and debris from floors. Air dry after cleaning. Shower curtains can be washed, even the solid plastic varieties. In fact, the plastic ones will come much cleaner in a machine compared to hand-washing. It’s due to the surfactant properties of the detergent which lifts the soap scum off the surface leaving it looking like new.
The key to using a home washer to clean everyday items is to use the least temperature and agitation required to get the item clean. Some items, such as pillows, can be washed in hot water but most will appreciate warm or cool. Start with the gentle or hand-wash cycle for delicates. You can always rewash the item in warmer water to remove stains and dirt providing it isn’t put in the dryer before the piece is clean. A warm dryer will tend to set stains and should be used only when you are completely satisified with the cleaning process.
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