16 surprising things you can clean in your washing machine

My washing machine is churning right now, busily working on a soapy load of jeans. It’s one of the most active appliances in our house, dutifully returning my daughter’s winter jacket to snowy white, rescuing that pair of socks my husband foolishly wore outside without shoes, or just whirring its way through another endless pile of dirty T-shirts.

I usually just empty our regular clothes hampers full of standard dirty clothing into the washer and don’t think twice about it. But over the years, I’ve also thrown everything from car mats to pillows in the washer, and they’ve all come out fine.

Two tips to avoid disasters: Check individual items first to make sure they’re not labeled hand-wash only. If an item is absolutely irreplaceable, best to hand-wash it in a sink with some Woolite rather than risk the washer.

Now, here’s a look at 16 items your washing machine can handle. Soon, you’ll be cleaning up big-time.