Spring cleaning really extends through the summer, when there is more downtime to consider what has been neglected. Use that washing machine for deep cleaning more than just clothing items.

Spring cleaning really extends through the summer, when there is more downtime to consider what has been neglected. Use that washing machine for deep cleaning more than just clothing items. Laundryreviewed.com and hgtv.com offer these 12:

1. Canvas and cloth backpacks, gym bags and purses: First, check all the pockets and completely empty; especially look for any pens as ink is difficult to remove from the machine’s interior tub. Stuff into a pillowcase, wash and hang up to air dry.

2. Sports equipment: Chest protectors, elbow pads, shin guards, jock straps, neck guards and even some gloves. If concerned about pieces wrapping around part of the interior drum, put in a mesh bag or inside a pillowcase.

3. Toys: Lego pieces secured in a zippered lingerie bag, stuffed animals, plastic toys and some dolls can be laundered. Lay wet toys on a towel to dry; hang stuffed animals on a line.

4. Yoga mats

5. Shower curtains

6. Pet beds — if not too large — leashes and toys  

7. Shoes: Including sneakers and sheepskin boots; place in a mesh bag and throw in a few towels so the shoes don’t clunk around when washing.

8. Cloth car mats, if not too large

9. Oven mitts and potholders

10. Decorative floor mats

11. Patio chair cushions

12. Pillows, decorative and sleeping: Some include washing labels; check first. Synthetic pillows can often be dried on low in a dryer, while down- and feather-filled should be tossed for a while on the air setting. Reshape decorative pillows.  

To be on the safe side, air dry most non-clothing items, unless there are specific instructions indicating a dryer is OK. Also, use clear detergent to avoid items absorbing any color.

When washing mats, or anything with a rubber backing, use warm water and a gentle cycle. Cold or hot water can make them shrink or can crack the rubber liner, says CNET.

Finally, for larger items such as yoga mats and pet beds, wash one at a time.

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