Tag Archive for: washing tips

10 items you can machine wash

Here is our list of 10 household items you might not know you were machine washable.

Let’s face it, if you had to hand wash every single thing you knew needed a good clean, there’d never be enough time for anything else! Fortunately, there are a variety of items, besides clothes that you can throw into the washing machine. But where to start? Our cleaning experts at Merry Maids have your guide to surprising items around your home you didn’t know your washing machine could take care of for you.

1. Small Rugs

With the amount of foot traffic in and out of your home, your small rugs are probably in need of some attention. Some rugs in your home will have varied cleaning specifications depending on the material and textures. However, generally, it’s safe to include a machine-washable throw rug or runner with a load of laundry once a month. However, you may still want to…

Consider These Tips Before Washing:

  • Shake out the rug to remove small pebbles, clumps of dirt, etc.
  • Vacuum the rug to remove any remaining dirt and debris.
  • Spot-treat any hard-to-remove stains.

Remember to wash with similar colours (as much as possible) in cold water, and air dry. For rugs with a rubber backing, please try to avoid excessive washing, as it can cause damage to the material.

2. Pillows from your bed

Have you been throwing out pillows with stains, convinced there’s no way to salvage them, and then purchasing new ones? Well, we’ve got a money saver for you! You don’t have to get rid of dirty pillows. You can throw them in the wash (unless the label specifies “dry clean only”). Ideally, this should be done at least every six months.

Consider These Tips Before Washing:

  • Remove the pillowcase (if possible) and wash it separately.
  • Use baking soda for stains that are harder to remove.

Pillows are not created equally, and neither is the stuffing. Depending on the type of material inside the pillow, you may have to tailor your washing routine.

  • For down or feather: Avoid using a liquid detergent, as it can create a residue if not rinsed thoroughly. It’s best to use a little bit of powder detergent and wash in warm water on a delicate cycle.
  • Polyester: Pillows made of polyester should be washed in warm water on a delicate cycle. Liquid detergent is okay but use it sparingly. 1 tablespoon of liquid soap should do the trick.
  • Buckwheat hulls: Before washing, start by pouring the buckwheat filling into a large container or bowl. Find a sunny spot and let the buckwheat sit to help eliminate any odours. The shell casing is ready to wash in cold water using a mild detergent.
  • Memory foam or latex: Unfortunately, memory foam or latex pillows can’t be safely washed or steamed. The best way to clean this pillow is to spot treat stains and purchase a pillowcase (that can be machine washed).

Larger washing machines can accommodate two or more pillows at a time to speed up the cleaning process. Keep in mind, that if you’re trying to remove a wet stain from your pillow, spot-treat it (and the pillowcase) first before washing it.

3. Lunch Bag

We’re sure you’ve experienced accidentally leaving a lunch bag sitting on the kitchen counter for days, not realizing there’s still food in it until a strange odour catches your attention. Before you chuck that lunch bag in the bin for its offensive smell, wash it!

Consider These Tips Before Washing:

  • Check any pockets or hidden compartments for leftover food.
  • Unzip the lunch bag and leave it unzipped (this is important before and after washing).
  • Try to stick to a bi-weekly cleaning schedule.

Most soft-sided lunch bags and other insulated bags are machine-washable. However, it’s always a good rule of thumb to check your care label to ensure the type of lunch bag you own can be laundered at home. To help knock out this laundry load fast, wash it with towels in cold water, and use regular detergent. Once it’s nice and clean, hang it upside-down (with the zipper still unzipped) to dry thoroughly.

4. Oven Gloves & Potholders

Just by their function, oven gloves and potholders tend to collect food particles and can get pretty dingy if left unwashed. To help keep these essential kitchen tools looking and smelling fresh, wash them when you do a weekly load.

Consider These Tips Before Washing:

  • Remove any caked-on food or dirt.
  • Spot-treat any hard-to-remove stains or residue.
  • Check the stitching to ensure it’s still intact.

We recommend washing oven gloves and potholders with towels in cold water. Avoid putting them in the tumble dryer. Instead, air drying is an effective option that will keep these items from shrinking.

5. Canvas Shoes

Shoes (like your household rugs) see a lot of foot traffic—literally. Canvas shoes are created from a coarse material made of hemp. Because these fashion-forward shoes can be expensive, it’s essential to take care of them and keep them looking pristine. Washing your canvas shoes is easy and safe, provided you remove any excess mud or dirt first.

Consider These Tips Before Washing:

  • Remove the shoelaces and insoles.
  • Avoid using bleach in your laundry load.

To wash your canvas shoes without damaging them, wash on a delicate cycle in cool water with a non-bio detergent. Then, as you did with the oven gloves, leave them outside (or in a secure place) to let them air dry.

6. Stuffed Toys

Your child’s first friend was probably a stuffed toy of some description, which meant they went everywhere and did everything together—eating, sleeping, and playing outside. While this toy received a lot of love, we’re guessing it also collected a lot of dirt and grime over the years. But luckily, washing your child’s favourite furry friend is as simple as popping them in the wash!

Consider These Tips Before Washing:

  • Remove any internal machinery or noisemaker (if possible).
  • Remove clothing items or accessories to avoid loss or damage.
  • Ensure there are no rips or tears in the seams or stitching.

Use a small amount of regular detergent on a gentle cycle with cold water. We don’t recommend washing plush stuffed animals, ones with embellishments on the outside, or stuffed toys that have musical machinery or battery packs sewn inside them. To avoid damage, it’s best to hand wash these types of stuffed toys.

7. Reusable Shopping Bags

We’re sure that reusable or recyclable shopping bags are a staple in your shopping routine. Because these fabric bags are high-touch items and may experience many food spills (leaving them with stains and unpleasant odours), we recommend throwing them in the wash every so often.

Consider These Tips Before Washing

  • Remove the bottom insert and use a disinfectant spray to clean it.
  • Turn the bag inside out.

When washing reusable shopping bags of different materials, follow these instructions:

  • Canvas and fabric bags: Many canvas bags come with washing instructions. However, if yours doesn’t, wash it in hot water with regular detergent and thoroughly air dry.
  • Nylon bags: Reusable nylon bags (without insulation) can be machine washed with warm water, regular detergent, and then air-dried.
  • Plastic (polypropylene) bags: For bags developed from man-made materials like polypropylene, use warm water, regular detergent, and a gentle cycle setting on your washer for thorough cleaning. Remember to air dry this type of bag to avoid damage.

8. Leather Handbags

Leather tends to be one of those materials many people have come to believe can’t be salvaged once it gets dirty. But you can wash your leather handbag safely and enjoy it for years to come.

Consider These Tips Before Washing:

  • Empty your bag by checking all pockets.
  • Take out any removable liners or inserts.
  • Use castile soap instead of detergent.

Remember, when washing any leather material, be gentle. So, set your washing machine to a delicate cycle, and use 1/4 cup of castile soap with cold water. Finally, be amazed at how brand new your leather handbag looks!

9. Mop Heads

Many cleaning tools don’t get sanitised regularly, which can render them useless. Many people would rather throw away a mop head and get a new one than go through the tedious task of cleaning it by hand. However, you don’t have to waste unnecessary energy or time hand washing—throw it in the washing machine!

Consider These Tips Before Washing:

  • Replace your mop head after 15 to 30 uses (500 uses for microfiber mop heads).
  • Make sure there are no food particles trapped between the mop fibres.

We recommend washing a mop head by placing it in a mesh laundry bag. Set your washing machine to a gentle cycle and use hot water. Once it’s thoroughly clean, remove it from the mesh bag and hang it to dry. Allow the mop to completely dry before its next use to avoid the growth of mildew and bacteria.

10. Outdoor Cushions

Your patio chair cushions have probably seen better days. With what is probably a good few summers’ worths of soaking up the sun (and being exposed to the other elements), it’s time for a good wash.

Consider These Tips Before Washing:

  • Vacuum cushions to remove debris from crevasses.
  • Add a cup of white vinegar to the load for added bacteria-killing power.
  • Double-check tags to ensure the fabric will hold up in the wash.

As an added timesaver, you can wash multiple cushions at a time, so long as your machine is large enough to accommodate them. Frontload washers are usually ideal for such a load; however, top-load washers work great, too. Use a small amount of regular detergent (with a cup of white vinegar) and run cushions and chair pads through a normal wash cycle. Set out your cushions or hang them on a line to dry in direct sunlight for a day or until completely dry.

Though we recommend that you wash each of these items fairly regularly, we also recognise that staying on top of all of your domestic chores can be incredibly time-consuming and use up a huge amount of energy.

This isn’t ideal if you have a jam-packed schedule as it is. Luckily, Merry Maids is here to help with your home cleaning needs. Whether you just need a little extra help around the house, or a more comprehensive deep clean, our cleaning experts would love to assist you.

Contact us to find out how we can help you by finding your nearest Merry Maids business or scheduling a clean online today.

Written by Tom Page, Digital Content Writer

Earth Day | Eco friendly washing tips

Today is Earth Day, so we thought we put together a few useful and eco-friendly washing tips for you to implement in your home.

Earth Day is today, a global initiative that’s all about raising awareness and making changes to help take care of our home planet.

To celebrate Earth Day, Merry Maids UK has put together a list of our top tips to save energy and make your washing habits a bit more eco-friendly.

1. Wash at 30°

Of course, you always need to check the care labels before loading up the washing machine. But, high temperatures aren’t always necessary and can waste a lot of energy, and considering the world we’re living in at the moment, this isn’t such a bad thing! Choosing to wash at 30 degrees instead of a higher setting can save you a whopping 40% of energy and will still leave your clothes looking clean and smelling fresh!

 

2. Use plant-based products

You can help the environment in many ways by using biodegradable plant-based products for your washing.

If you can, use plant-based products that favour biodegradable ingredients to reduce the impact of your wastewater on aquatic life. There’s a chance that on your washing up liquid or cleaning spray, you might have a warning that says “harmful to aquatic life with long-lasting effects”, if this is the case, look for plant-based products that are better for the environment

 

3. Use shorter cycles where possible

Just as colder cycles can save you energy, washing laundry that’s not stained or completely covered in dirt on a shorter cycle saves energy too and it will clean them just as well! Trust us, change to a quicker cycle for your general clothing and you’ll see absolutely no change in the quality of wash, but certainly save on energy!

 

4. Avoid chlorine bleach

Chlorine may have plenty of benefits when it comes to cleaning and disinfecting, however, once it’s released into the environment and reaches water, it reacts with other elements to form toxins that are harmful to wildlife.

 

5. Don’t do half loads

Quite a simple tip this one… Always have a full drum before you start any washing cycle on your machine. This is more beneficial as you’ll still be using the same amount of water and energy as you would if you were to only half fill your machine.

 

6. Use concentrated detergent

Water is the most valuable resource on Earth, yet every day all over the world it’s wasted by the bucket load! Try and use detergents that are concentrated, meaning they’ve used less water in the production process and a bonus they’ll last you even longer. Concentrated detergents can lead to huge energy and water savings!

 

7. Wash clothes inside-out

This quick trick will help your clothes to look new, meaning you’ll have to replace them less often. If fewer clothes are purchased then less water and fossil fuels will be used as fewer clothes will be mass-produced.

 

We hope these tips can in use, if you need your home cleaning then contact your local Merry Maids today.

Tips on washing your bed sheets

From duvet covers to flat sheets, many people wash these necessary bedding items whenever the mood strikes, but is that enough? Unfortunately, you may be sleeping on more than you bargained for.

Our experts at Merry Maids have put together a guide to washing your bedsheets to help create a healthier environment for you and your loved ones.

How Often Should You Wash Your Bed Sheets?

In 2020 Hammonds Furniture conducted a poll and found that a third of Brits only wash their bed sheets once a year, no that’s not wrong, ONCE A YEAR!!!

We recommend washing your bed sheets weekly to eliminate harmful bacteria. Because of the general nature of your sheets, they tend to attract thousands of dead skin cells and odours. These factors warrant more frequent washing and changing of your bedding to keep you and your family healthy.

You should wash your sheets more often if you:

  • Have allergies or asthma

  • Have an infection or skin condition

  • Sweat excessively at night

  • Have pets that like to sleep in your bed

  • Enjoy a midnight snack or breakfast in bed

  • Go to bed without showering (after vigorous activity)

When you don’t wash your sheets and other bedding regularly, you run the risk of exposure to harmful fungi, bacteria, pollen, and animal dander that can get trapped in the fibres of your sheets. It’s not the most pleasant thought to consider you’re lying in all that. Other things such as bodily secretions can also be found on your fabric, though they don’t necessarily pose a health risk like the above. However, these fluids and organisms left on the surface of your bedding could trigger skin irritation, eczema flares (in people already living with the condition), and dermatitis.

What’s the Best Way to Wash Sheets?

Hot water is always the best way to wash and sanitize your sheets and other bedding. Although, more delicate fabrics and textures may require different cycles or water temperatures. For clarification, read the care label on your sheets and follow the instructions carefully to prevent ruining the material. Remember, the hotter the water, the best chance you have of removing more bacteria and allergens.

How Often Should You Change Your Sheets?

You should change your sheets every week or two to avoid the buildup of bacteria. If sleeping in your own sweat, oils, and skin cells weren’t enough to make you want to wash your sheets a bit more often, a colony of dust mites could be lurking in the fibres and these can have a dramatic impact on your health.

Dust mites are unpleasant eight-legged creatures not visible to the naked eye, so it won’t do any good trying to locate them on your sheets. By chance, if you do happen to see some creepy crawlers in your bed, they may be bed bugs. A bed bug situation requires abatement from a pest control company that specializes in these types of insects.

Keeping Your Bed Sheets Clean For Longer

It’s always a good idea to follow through with our recommended one to two-week washing routine. However, if life gets in the way (as it’s prone to do sometimes), you can make some changes in your lifestyle to keep your sheets and bedding cleaner longer, so washing frequently isn’t as necessary.

Keep your sheets clean between washing and help preserve them by:

  • Showering before you go to bed

  • Avoiding napping after a vigorous gym session

  • Removing makeup before you go to sleep

  • Avoiding lotions, creams, or oils right before bed

  • Not eating or drinking in bed

  • Keeping your pets off your bedding

  • Removing debris and dirt from your feet and socks before getting into bed

To keep your sheets looking don’t use fabric softeners with every wash, instead, replace the fabric softener with a quarter-cup of baking soda or a half-cup of white vinegar in the wash during the rinse cycle. Your sheets will feel softer and look brighter without any irritating chemicals or overpowering smells.

It’s important to note, if you’re using bleach to launder your sheets, don’t mix in the white vinegar. This can create poisonous fumes that are extremely dangerous if inhaled. Also, avoid using vinegar in a washing machine as the acid in the vinegar can destroy the door seal.

If you’re wanting any help with cleaning in your home find your nearest Merry Maids business here.