How To Clean Ten Things You Seldom Wash

From curtains to quilts, cleaning these often-overlooked items adds extra fluff and freshness to your home. It’s easier than you think!

  • BLANKETS Machine wash cotton blankets in warm water. Wash wool with Laundry Detergent on the gentle cycle in cold water. Spin blankets in the washer until all excess moisture is extracted. Gently stretch blankets back to their original size (measure first if you’re not sure what that is) before air drying.
  • SHEETS AND PILLOW CASES Since these are in close contact with your skin, wash them once a week—or more frequently if someone has been sick. Wash cotton, cotton blends, flannel, synthetics or bamboo in hot water to kill bacteria; dry them on low. Remember to fold sheets right away so wrinkles won’t set in.
  • COMFORTERS Place them in the dryer for just a few minutes to fluff up, and then hang heavy comforters, quilts and wool blankets on several clotheslines to balance out the weight so they won’t stretch. Clean your clotheslines with a damp rag before each use.
  • QUILTS Put these in the washer on the gentle cycle, but make sure to use cold water and Laundry Detergent. If you have a homemade quilt, don’t want to wash it too often, or it’ll show its wear. If your quilt is an heirloom, have it professionally cleaned.
  • MATTRESS PADS Wash these once a month (unless they’re soiled, then wash them right away!) in hot water and air dry. Doctors may advise allergy and asthma sufferers to wash them more frequently.
  • SHOWER CURTAINS Wash them in the machine in cold water with your towels. The towels will rub against them and help get that soap scum and slime off, especially with plastic and vinyl curtains. Shake them, then dry them for a few minutes, just to get the wrinkles out. Hang them on the line, and they’ll dry really nicely.
  • RUGS Wash small cotton or synthetic rugs and bath mats—even those with rubber or latex backings—in cold water on the gentle cycle. Air dry.
  • CURTAINS Cotton curtains can be washed in cold water. Air dry, then iron them when they’re slightly damp to get out those wrinkles before they set in.
  • TABLECLOTHS & NAPKINS To treat stains, soak any soiled textiles in ice water overnight. In the morning, throw them in the washer and use warm water. Bring them to a bright room to look for oily marks. If stains remain, repeat the washing process, then hang on the line to dry.
  • TOWELS Try to use towels at least three or four times before washing them in warm or hot water. Toss them in the dryer, and add a Dryer Sheet for a soft touch of fragrance.