How to launder bulky items without wrecking your machine

Washing oversized loads and bulky items at home can be tricky. They might not fit in your residential washing machine, and even if they do, they’re likely to cause excess wear and tear. Unfortunately, most of us don’t own large commercial washers (although if you’re replacing your washing machine, you might want to read our blog about why commercial equipment is a great choice!).

So what do you do with those duvets or heavy items? Take them to a laundromat, of course! Laundromats aren’t just for people who lack the convenience of in-suite laundry. They’re a quick and easy solution to plough through big piles of laundry and hard-to-clean items, even if you have a laundry room at home.

Read our tips to make your next trip to the laundromat a breeze.

What should you take to a laundromat?

Heavy items can cause a lot of wear on your in-suite laundry equipment. They create extra stress on the bearings and can lead to premature failure of your appliances. You’ll want to take care when cleaning things like:

  • Comforters
  • Bedspreads
  • Blankets
  • Duvets
  • Washable jackets or coats
  • Sleeping bags
  • Small rugs
  • Oversized loads of sheets or towels

If you’re wondering if you really need to wash these items, don’t get me started on dust mites. A Google search will definitely give you nightmares. These pests thrive on the dead skin cells in bedding, so yes, you most definitely should be washing your bulky blankets, at least every few months.

When you do, take them to the laundromat. Oversized commercial machines are ideal for accommodating both the size and weight of these kinds of items. Plus, they offer the right settings for bulky stuff that requires extra water for a thorough rinse.

And hey, while it might seem inconvenient to take your stuff to a laundromat, the bonus is that it’ll give you a chance to relax, socialize, or read your phone guilt-free while you get rid of your dust mite bedmates.

Tips to get your bulky items fresh and clean

Now that you’ve dragged yourself and your oversized loads of laundry to the laundromat, make the most of your visit by getting them really clean.

Read labels carefully. While most items can be washed, if it says to dry clean only, you could ruin the item by washing it. Maybe it’s worth the risk, maybe it’s not, but following the label’s instructions can help avert disaster if it’s something you love.

Make sure you pretreat stains. Larger and heavier items don’t get agitated in the washer as effectively as regular clothing, so it’s important to deal with stains before you wash them. Give them a good scrub with a pretreatment solution.

Use a gentle detergent sparingly. Believe it or not, you’re probably using way more detergent than you need. Combined with the limited movement of bulky items in the washer, this can lead to unpleasant soap residue. As little as a teaspoon might be enough to get your items clean, depending on how dirty they actually are. If there’s still residue at the end of the cycle, add an extra rinse.

When you’re ready to dry, it’s helpful to add a few tennis balls or dryer balls to the dryer. This creates space for air circulation, fluffing up your items and drying them more efficiently. While tennis balls are good in a pinch, they break down quickly at high temperatures. It’s better to invest in some inexpensive, reusable dryer balls, which can be used for all your loads.

Make sure bulky items are very dry. They won’t air dry as well as lighter things, and are prone to mold if they’re left damp.

Why laundromats have the edge for washing bulky items

Unless you have your own commercial equipment, laundromats are definitely the best choice for washing bulky stuff. Their machines are larger, which allows more soap and water to move around your items. They’re also more durable. If you regularly wash these kinds of items at home, your equipment may be prematurely worn out.

Laundromats usually have newer machines and modern updates that offer a better selection of settings for your hard-to-wash belongings. You don’t have to share your bed with dust mites or keep wearing that jacket with stained cuffs. Haul your bulky items to a laundromat to get them as fresh and clean as the rest of your laundry, without the headache of a broken machine at home.

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