I'm no stranger to a washing machine. I learned all about laundering my own clothes early on. While I've always known a washing machine can tackle the dirtiest of shirts and pants, it seems nowadays a variety of things around the house can be cleaned with this appliance.

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Bob Vila's website is a goldmine when it comes to helpful hints and tricks you can use around your home. He's shared several items that get the green light to clean right in your washing machine. I had no idea about some of these but they make perfect sense. Let's take a look at some of these items.

LOOK: DID YOU KNOW YOU CAN CLEAN THESE 9 THINGS IN THE WASHING MACHINE?

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Ballcaps

You can make your ballcaps look like new. If they're a well-made, well-stitched cap you can wash it in cold with like colors on the gentle cycle. Let air dry. Try wadding up paper inside the dome of the cap to help it keep its shape.


 

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Pet Leashes and Collars

You're safe as long as there are not a bunch of studs and designs on them. Just toss them in a cycle for a quick freshen-up. With collars being so close to your pet's skin, be mindful of the detergent you use.


 

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Legos

Germs and bacteria can cling to these in a hurry. Have no fear. Your washing machine can help. The trick here is to fill up a pillowcase with the Legos, tie it in a knot, and wash them with other clothes. Obviously, do not put these in the dryer. Let them air dry on a towel.


 

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Shower Liners

Soap scum and mildew can really ruin a liner. I had never considered this but it's not a bad idea. Just throw the liner in a gentle cycle with some towels, hang it back up to air dry, and you're good to go.


 

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Lunchbags

This is another thing around the house that can get gunked up quickly. Most of us, especially with kiddos, use these almost every day. They can go through some rough treatment. Run fabric bags in a cold cycle with some towels, then let them air dry. They'll be ready for many more lunches.


 

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Pillows

Believe it or not, you can (and should) wash most pillows. Whether down or synthetic, they're safe to wash. Simply toss in a couple to balance out the weight of the machine. Then place in the dryer, under low heat.


 

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Sneakers

When your tennis shoes get a little dingy, you're all good to throw them in the washer. Be sure to take out the insoles and remove the laces. The laces can go in the wash but you'll want to scrub the insoles by hand. Let them air dry, lace them back up, and you're off and running.


 

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Sports Equipment

Do you have any athletes in your family? Use your washing machine to clean their gear and get them back in action. From knee pads to elbow pads, if it's fabric-lined gear you've got the green light. Always check washing instructions, but you're likely okay to run equipment on a regular warm wash cycle.


 

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Stuffed Animals

If you're a parent, you know how dirty these can get. You can actually machine-wash plush toys as long as they don't have internal electronics or sewn-on ornaments. Just put them in a pillowcase or mesh bag, and make sure you wash them with like colors. Voila.

I've said it before and I'll probably say it again: I'm really big on "the more you know". Life hacks, if you will. If day-to-day living can be made easier, why not?

Washing machines can help in more situations than I initially thought. Might as well put mine to good use while it's already tackling laundry. There are plenty of other good laundry hacks out there. Scroll below for some that can save you time and money.

Top Ten Laundry Hacks That Will Have You Tumbling With Joy

We have loads of tips to help elevate your laundry game! Not only will your clothes last longer, but you could even save some money in the process!