Choosing machine-washable items greatly cuts down on cleaning chores. Before buying anything, the first question that should be asked is, “How will I clean this”?
Dry-cleaning isn’t just a waste of time and money, it also uses chemicals that later need to be disposed of. Machine-washable business suits are now available (toss them into the machine in a laundry net bag for protection). Check the label before buying any new clothes.
Handbags, hats, wallets (nylon), and bathroom mats (choose thin, flexible mats that won’t crack in the machine) are just some of the items to consider.
Even carpets and furniture can be made machine friendly.
Beach towels can be used instead of small carpets. Curtains, quilts or thick blankets can be used to cover larger areas. European-style front-loading washing machines are better suited to washing large items such as curtains (unbalanced loads are less of a problem).
Furniture should be smooth wipe-clean plastic or leather, not dirt-absorbing fabric. Whatever the material, covering furniture with cushions and throw rugs (machine washable, of course) keeps the furniture cleaner.
Even mattresses can be made machine-washable. Instead of a heavy and expensive inner-spring mattress that needs periodic airing, a pile of blankets an inch thick on a plywood bed is
- easy to clean (Take off the top blanket every week and toss it into the machine, then reinsert washed and dried blankets to the bottom of the pile.)
- firm and good for your back, yet comfortable
- hygienic and 100 percent washable, leaving no uncleanable areas for bed bugs and dust mites to hide in
Firm, comfortable and washable pillows can be made out of folded blankets stuffed into a pillow case. Washable polyester pillows are available, but they can be too soft to properly support the neck and can cause neckache.
Travel luggage should either be hard wipe-clean plastic or soft frameless fabric that can be tossed into the machine. Fabric suitcases with rigid frames are difficult to wipe clean and aren’t machine washable.