8 things you didn't think you could put in your washing machine

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The humble washing machine is good for more than just cleaning clothes and household linens. Check out ways you can use your machine to wash other things too ...

1. Mop heads
You wouldn't want to wash your floors with a dirty mop. Clean your sponge mop head by placing it in an old pillow case and washing on a delicate cycle at the lowest spin speed. For strand mop heads, tie tight with a rubbed band to avoid tangling.

Once finished, leave it to dry hanging upside down in the sun.

2. Pillows
You can put down and fiberfill pillows in the washing machine. Wash two at a time in a warm-water gentle cycle and ensure all soap is washed out by adding an extra cold-water rinse and spin. To keep the pillows fluffy, throw them in the dryer on a low heat with a few dryer balls.

3. Sneakers

Take out the laces and place the your canvas, nylon or woven sneakers (not suede and leather) in a mesh laundry bag to prevent them scuffing the inside of your machine. Switch on a cold setting and add a regular amount of detergent and a dash of vinegar to deodorise.

Once finished, allow them to air dry  (stuffed with newspaper) to ensure they retain their shape.

4. Pet beds
As much as we love our pets, sometimes their beds can become a little smelly. However, did you know many pet beds are machine washable? All you need to do is separate the inner and outer bedding and wash with regular detergent on a cold wash.

5. Car mats
Our car mats go through a lot. Treat them to a good clean every few months by throwing them into the washing machine. Vacuum first to remove any excess dirt and wash on a cold delicates cycle.

6. Shower curtains
No need to throw out the shower curtain when it starts to get a bit discoloured or whiffy - just throw it into the washing machine for a quick cycle. Domain recommends adding a few soiled towels to help dislodge the nasties while you're at it.

7. Yoga mats
Yoga fans, this one's for you. Sweating it out on the gym floor can result in your trusty mat becoming a breeding ground for bacteria.

Just pop it in the washing machine (except for foam mats) with mild detergent and wash using a delicate cycle.

8. Toys and blocks
It's not just soft toys that can be washed (on a cold cycle)  - Domain suggests popping LEGO and DUPLO pieces into a delicates bag or closed pillowcase and put on a cool, delicate cycle. One last tip: "then you'll want to leave the house – it's noisy!" 

stuff.co.nz with Domain.com.au