From backpacks to sports gear, more items are machine-washable than you might think. 

By Nicole Sforza
Updated January 15, 2015
Stack of four pillows
Credit: Jens Mortensen

1. Backpacks (without decals or adornments)
Turn inside out and remove any metal parts (aside from zippers). Place in a pillowcase, secure with a twist tie, and wash in cold water on a gentle cycle. Air-dry.

2. Sports gear (like knee pads and shin guards)
Wash in cold water on a gentle cycle. Air-dry.

3. Down and feather pillows
Wash on a delicate cycle. Make sure that they dry thoroughly in the dryer before using, as moist feathers can breed mildew. After tumble-drying, place near an open window or a radiator for a few hours before covering with pillowcases.