We select and review products independently. When you purchase through our links we may earn a commission. Learn more.

6 Surprising Things You Can Wash in the Washing Machine

Make cleaning easier for yourself.

Pillows, yellow bath mat, and shower curtain collage.
Africa Studio/ New Africa/ Ana Anderson/ Shutterstock.com
Several everyday items can be washed right in your washing machine as long as you utilize the correct settings and note manufacturer recommendations

You use it to wash your clothes, linen, towels, and maybe even your sneakers, but the list of things you can actually put into your washing machine is surprisingly long.

If you’re looking for quick cleaning methods, your washing machine might just be your new hero appliance. We spoke with industry experts to find out just how useful the appliance can be when it comes to fast cleaning and how to use it to get the job done.


White pillows on a white bed.
Africa Studio/Shutterstock.com

Believe it or not, most pillows are machine washable. Unless they’re made of memory foam or have explicit tags that advise you not to wash them in the washing machine, you can safely add them to your next batch of laundry.

“The biggest mistake people make is throwing your pillow in with a small load of laundry,” said Vera Peterson, president of Molly Maid. “That can cause your pillow to lump and damage more quickly in the wash, so make sure to throw at least two pillows in the load at a time.”

Your pillows will come out brand new when washed in hot water on a gentle cycle with only a small amount of detergent. For spot-cleaning any stains, Peterson recommended pre-treatment before putting your pillow in the washing machine. This might result in an extra rinse cycle to remove any remaining soap, so keep that in mind if you’re washing them with other laundry items.

Most pillows can be dried in your dryer on low heat, depending on the manufacturer’s instructions on the tag. Additionally, you can toss in a few tennis balls (or wool balls) with the pillow when drying to help loosen any clumped-up stuffing from washing. If the tag on your pillow says it is not safe for the dryer, it’s probably best to wrap the wet pillow in a towel to absorb moisture and then let it air dry.

Machine Washable Pillows

Easy to clean and super soft everyday pillows.

Shower Curtains and Shower Liners

White shower curtain in a gray bathroom.
Ana Anderson/Shutterstock.com

You’ve probably noticed the unpleasant smell your shower curtains and liners tend to get after a while and instead of ditching them and getting new ones, you can simply wash them in your washing machine. Most shower curtains and liners are machine-washable, but always make sure to read the label and washing instructions as some might need to be washed on a delicate cycle or with like-colored items.

“A plastic shower curtain can go into your washing machine for a deep clean. To do this, put the washing machine on a cool setting and add in some bath towels to balance the load, ” recommended Peterson.

If your plastic shower curtains are particularly dirty, you can add 2/3 of a cup of bleach to your regular detergent to spring them back to life. Additionally, if you really want to scrub them down by hand, you can use vinegar as it’s one of the best and most affordable all-purpose cleaners.

Peterson also said to avoid placing them in the dryer as it might damage the fabric. Simply let them air dry then hang them back on the rod and allow them to finish naturally.

Shower Curtain

High-quality shower curtain that can easily be washed and dried.

Couch Covers

Woman lying on the couch, typing on her laptop.

Most couches and sofas these days come with removable couch covers as brands are getting aware of how easy it is to get them dirty. The best way to wash your couch cover and keep it looking brand new is by washing it on a cold, delicate cycle with a gentle and dye-free detergent. Still, it’s important to always check the label and make sure you’re following the manufacturer’s instructions precisely in order to avoid any irreparable damage.

“The last thing you want is for your covers to shrink in the washer or dryer and no longer fit your couch,” said Mallory Micetich, a home expert at Angi.

Additionally, if you’re not sure about how to wash them or what would be the best option for treating some hardcore stains, email the brand. Most companies nowadays have special experts like Micetich who will be able to recommend the best way to take care of your couch so you avoid making pricey mistakes.

In terms of drying, don’t put your couch cover in the dryer as it might shrink and get damaged. Instead, air dry in the shade so you don’t let the color fade out in the sun.

Couch cover

Easily protect and clean your couch cover.

Yoga Mat

Woman doing yoga on a yoga mat at home.
Karla Tafra

Yoga mats can get really dirty really quickly. From carrying them around and rolling them out in different studios and gyms to drenching them in sweat, they need more than a simple wipe with a wet cloth after class.

Some yoga mats are made from unique, grippy materials that are meant to be washed in a special way to ensure the grip stays as strong. They usually have special washing and care instructions that come with your purchase so you don’t damage your mat. But, many brands actually allow the mat to be thrown into the washing machine. You’ll want to use a cold, delicate cycle for your yoga mat, as well as a dye-free, gentle detergent.

Washing your sweaty yoga mat in your washing machine makes clean up easy and convenient, so be sure to check your label before you do so. In order to properly dry it, hang it over a rod and let it air dry. Just avoid direct sunlight as it might damage your mat.

Yoga Mat

Machine-washable yoga mat for easy care and maintenance.

Bath Mats

Yellow bath mat in front of a white standalone bathtub.
New Africa/Shutterstock.com

It seems like most brands are nowadays designing bath mats from the same fabric as your towels, making them easy to pop in the washing machine and wash together. As always, check the label for the proper care instructions, but you might be surprised to find how easy it actually is to clean them.

Depending on the size, you might want to wash them separately from your actual towels in order to properly clean them, but if you have a big enough washing machine, you just might kill two birds with one stone! Wash on a cold and delicate cycle with a mild detergent. You can choose to air dry your bath mat or tumble dry on the lowest heating.

Bath Mat

Machine washable bath mat for easy cleaning and care.

Wool Clothing

A brown-white wool blanket on a textured box.
Inna Zaika/Shutterstock.com

If you’re someone who thinks wool clothing needs to be taken to the dry cleaners, you’re not alone. Plenty of us had made the mistake of washing our favorite wool sweater only to have it come out like it was made for our child. Still, some items seem to be machine-washable.

Peterson recommended turning them inside out and washing them in cold water and on the delicate cycle.

“Always use cold water and a mild detergent, making sure to also add an extra rinse to the wash cycle,” said Peterson. “And also, wool clothing items should always be air dried.”

Still, if the tag says “dry-clean only,” don’t try putting it in the washing machine. The manufacturer’s instructions are still the golden rule.

Wool blanket

Machine-washable wool blankets are the best winter bedding staple.

Home chores might sometimes get extra challenging when you don’t have the time to get to your dry cleaners or rub your couch cover to get rid of your child’s food stains. Knowing these items could be machine-washable might be your hail Mary, and while you’re at it, here’s how long your items can stay in the washing machine if you forgot to take them out.

Karla Tafra Karla Tafra
Karla is a certified yoga teacher, nutritionist, content creator and an overall wellness coach with over 10 years of international experience in teaching, writing, coaching, and helping others transform their lives. From Croatia to Spain and now, the US, she calls Seattle her new home where she lives and works with her husband. Read Full Bio »
LifeSavvy is focused on one thing: making your life outside of work even better. Want to know more?