William AbranowiczBet you didn't think you could toss that backpack into the washer. Guess again: You can launder all sorts of random things -- just make sure to rinse off grime first, so you don't clog the machine. "I take my dirty work clothes outside and spray them with the pressure washer first," says Don Aslett, author of 20 cleaning books.
Wash alone in a front-loader on gentle in cold water with all-purpose detergent. Don't wash multicolored packs; the dyes may bleed.
Cloth Purses and Tote Bags
"People put them on car and restaurant floors -- they're some of the dirtiest things we own," says Sandra Phillips, a cleaning consultant and the author of A Clean Break (Live-Right Books, $10, www.amazon.com). Wash on delicate in warm water with all-purpose detergent. Air-dry. Don't wash purses with sequins or other embellishments.
Check out these Surprising Household Cleaners.
Laptop and iPod Cases
Wash canvas, nylon, and microfiber cases in warm water with