Have you ever stumbled across one of your child’s stuffed animals and noticed it could use a little TLC? Or, pulled out a dining room chair to realize a stain from the last holiday dinner was left behind on the cushion? Gathering clothes, towels and bed sheets are all a normal part of laundry day, but other items around the house may go unnoticed until that fateful day when they don’t. 

If you’re left wondering how to clean items you don’t wash regularly, we have good news. Many of them can go in the washing machine – just follow these simple home laundry tips.

Kids’ Toys

Kids play hard, which means their toys take a beating, too. Outdoor teddy bear picnics and playing with blocks in the sandbox means toys get dirty, fast. Although you may spot clean or consider scrubbing them in the sink, washing kids’ toys, such as stuffed animals and plastic items, can be accomplished in the washing machine. Use cold water on a delicate cycle. If you’re washing multiple smaller items, such as a set of plastic bricks, toss them in a mesh bag before washing to avoid pieces getting lost or stuck in your washer.  

Reusable Shopping Bags

The journey from cart to the checkout line, as well as fresh food stains and spills, can leave your reusable grocery bags less than sanitary. Wash your reusable bags as part of your laundry routine. If your bags are made of cotton, canvas or polypropylene, they can be machine washed using warm water on a delicate cycle. Lay flat or hang to dry to avoid shrinking.

Highchair Liner 

Parents know that mealtime with babies and toddlers often ends in a mess. The padded liner that comes with many highchairs is a nice feature to keep your child comfortable but can be difficult to keep clean. Trapped food and milk in the highchair liner can lead to unpleasant odors and bacteria growth. This calls for a deep clean on a regular basis. Follow your liner’s washing instructions. Many can be machine washed with cold water on a delicate cycle. 

Chair Seat Cushions

Not unlike highchairs, chair seat cushions can fall victim to stains from food and drinks. Instead of cleaning cushions only when you notice dirt, make washing cushion covers part of your laundry day routine. A good washing tip is to check your cushion’s specific washing instructions. But in general, cotton, cotton blends, polyester and outdoor fabrics like acrylic and duck cotton, are machine washable.

Shower Curtains

Do you remember the last time you cleaned your shower curtain? Germs can quickly spread in the bathroom, so it’s best to wash your shower curtain once per month. A normal wash cycle should do the trick, then simply hang your curtain back up on the rod to dry. Many shower curtains are machine washable, such as ones made from cotton or polyester, but to be safe check the label for specific washing instructions.

Laundry Baskets

Since laundry baskets hold dirty clothes and other not-so-clean household items, it only makes sense to wash them between uses. Wipe plastic baskets down with a disinfectant. If your baskets have cloth liners, wash the liner in the machine or by hand with a soft brush.

Adding more items to your laundry list may be the last thing you want to do. But, by following these home laundry tips, you’ll freshen your whole house and extend the life of those not-so-common laundry items.