17 Surprisingly Smart Ways To Use Mesh Laundry Bags

Uses for mesh laundry bags go far beyond the washing machine!

Even the most ordinary of household items can turn out to be endlessly versatile, and that is certainly true of mesh laundry bags. I’ve been using the simple zippered bags for years now to protect delicate items in the wash, but recently, I’ve been finding loads of great new ways to use them. (Just a bit of laundry humor there for you!)

From keeping your laundry organized to washing unexpected items, these tips are sure to make mesh laundry bags your new favorite thing. (And for those who don’t own any, you just might find yourself wanting a set!)

After inquiring with a few of my friends and family members, I realized that not everyone even owns mesh laundry bags, let alone uses them in unconventional ways! So consider this post a PSA because I’ve got 17 practical uses for mesh laundry bags to share with you.

These mesh laundry bags come in two sizes, making them convenient for a multitude of uses.

Which Mesh Laundry Bags Should I Buy?

I’m a bit biased, but I absolutely love the new mesh laundry bags now available in my shop! They not only look great, but they’re sturdy, effective, and thoughtfully designed, too. Here’s a quick look at the highlights:

  • Sturdy honeycomb mesh construction
  • Protective elastic zipper sleeve
  • Available in 2 useful sizes:
    • Small (10.25″ x 9.5″ x 4″) – Perfect for bras, socks, underwear, etc., with expandable sides for added capacity
    • Large (16″ x 19.5″) – Flat and roomy, great for chunky sweaters and other bulky items
  • Both sizes available in sets of 3 bags
The honeycomb pattern on these mesh laundry bags makes them attractive and allows great flow for a thorough clean.

17 Uses For Mesh Laundry Bags 

The zipper is recessed in a flap on these mesh laundry bags, which means it won't open and won't catch on other items in the wash.

1. Wash More Than Laundry

With mesh laundry bags, you can use your washing machine to clean a lot more than just clothes and linens! These are just a few unexpected things you can clean in your washing machine:

  • Sheepskin Boots: If your Uggs have seen better days, start by brushing off surface dirt, then zip them into a mesh laundry bag. Wash them with a couple of bath towels on a gentle cycle with cold water, then remove promptly and fluff up the fleece lining. Let them air dry overnight and they’ll be clean and ready to wear.
  • Canvas Shoes and Sneakers: To get your favorite sneakers looking like new, remove the laces, then place both the laces and shoes into a mesh laundry bag. Wash them with a couple of bath towels, then let them air dry completely before wearing again.
  • Backpacks and Gym Bags: Use mesh laundry bags to keep bags with straps contained while they’re in the wash. After washing, hang the bag to dry.
  • Pet Collars and Leashes: Pet accessories can get grimy in a hurry! Wash nylon collars and leashes safely in a mesh bag to keep them looking and smelling clean and fresh.
  • Hair Accessories: Hair ties, scrunchies, and other hair accessories can accumulate unseen buildup over time, but cleaning them is easy with the aid of a mesh bag. Just zip them into the bag and toss it in with the rest of your laundry!
  • Small Toys: Keep your little one’s toys clean and germ-free. Use a mesh laundry bag to clean plastic and silicone toys — most stuffed animals can be safely washed in a mesh laundry bag, too! Wash them on a delicate cycle with cold water.
Mesh laundry bags are ideal for delicate items.

2. Safely Wash Delicate Garments

You can actually break the rules on the tags of your favorite garments! Here are a few things you can wash in the washing machine with a mesh bag:

  • Dry Clean Only Clothes: Who says you can’t machine wash ‘dry clean only’ items? The key is to treat them gently. Place these delicate pieces in a mesh laundry bag to shield them from the rough-and-tumble of the wash cycle. Opt for your machine’s delicate setting with cold water. This approach can be a real lifesaver, especially for those last-minute laundry needs!
  • Hand Wash Items: Bypass the time-consuming task of hand washing. Securely place these items in a mesh laundry bag to prevent damage and wash them on your machine’s delicate cycle. This method is surprisingly effective and gentle, maintaining the integrity of your delicate fabrics while saving you precious time.
Putting your microfiber cloths in a mesh bag keeps keep them from picking up lint and other debris.

3. Protect Microfiber Cloths

Washing microfiber cloths separately or in a mesh laundry bag prevents them from picking up lint from other fabrics and ensures they maintain their effectiveness by avoiding clogging with debris.  

4. Minimize Wear And Snagging

Use mesh bags for washing items with hooks or Velcro. This keeps other garments safe from snags and extends the life of fastenings.

A mesh laundry bag keeps socks from getting lost.

5. Never Lose Another Sock

End the mystery of the missing socks! By zipping all your socks into a mesh laundry bag before washing and drying, you ensure they stay in pairs and don’t disappear.

6. Prevent Tangles And Knots

Tired of untangling leggings and tights? A mesh bag keeps these and other items like slips and swimsuits from getting twisted and knotted during the wash.

If an item needs to be air dried, put it in a mesh laundry bag to make it easy to pull out and not get put in the dryer by mistake.

7. Keep Air-Dry Items Separate

Sort items that require air drying by placing them in a mesh bag before washing. This makes it easy to pull them out before putting the rest of the load into the dryer. 

8. Simplify Laundry Sorting

Streamline laundry day by assigning a mesh bag to each family member. This simplifies sorting post-wash and ensures everyone’s items stay together.

Use mesh laundry bags in the dishwasher to keep small items from getting lost.

9. Clean More In Your Dishwasher

Using your dishwasher is a great way to keep things clean without a lot of extra effort on your part. But small items can be tricky because dishwasher racks will allow small stuff to fall through quite easily. But not if you put them in a mesh laundry bag first!

  • Small Items: This works well for keeping kitchen items like measuring cups, mason jar lids, and other small items that tend to get lost in the dishwasher. 
  • Instant Pot Lid Parts: The lid of the Instant Pot doesn’t contain any electronics, so it’s safe to wash it in the top rack of your dishwasher. Just make sure to remove the small parts from the lid before doing it. Place the small parts in a zippered mesh laundry bag before putting them in your dishwasher so you don’t lose track of them!
  • Plastic Toys: You can also use a mesh laundry bag to safely clean non-kitchen items in your dishwasher, like LEGOs and other plastic toys. The mesh bag will keep them safe and sound, and they be clean in no time!

10. Organize Puzzles & Games

Keep puzzle pieces and game components from getting lost by storing them in mesh bags

A mesh bag is ideal for storing bath and pool toys.

11. Store Bath & Pool Toys

A mesh bag is an affordable and effective solution for storing and drying bath and pool toys, reducing clutter and mildew risk.

12. Store Sports Equipment

Let mesh bags serve as breathable storage for sports equipment, allowing sweaty gear to air out and reduce odors.

Using mesh bags for produce is better for the environment than plastic bags.

13. Use As Produce Bags

Swap plastic for mesh bags when buying produce, a sustainable choice that’s better for the environment.

14. Dry & Store Garden Produce

Utilize mesh bags for drying bulbs and other garden items, facilitating air circulation and preventing rot. Mesh bags are also ideal for storing onions and potatoes, allowing airflow and reducing spoilage.

Use mesh laundry bags to dry camping and hiking dishes.

15. Dry Dishes While Camping

Use mesh bags to dry dishes outdoors while camping, saving space and time.

16. Store Sandy Toys

Make beach trips less messy by storing toys in a mesh bag, allowing sand to sift out.

17. Keep Luggage Contents Organized

Keep dirty clothes organized on trips with mesh bags, simplifying laundry upon return home.

What other uses for mesh laundry bags would you add to this list?

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Jill Nystul Photo

Jill Nystul (aka Jillee)

Jill Nystul is an accomplished writer and author who founded the blog One Good Thing by Jillee in 2011. With over 30 years of experience in homemaking, she has become a trusted resource for contemporary homemakers by offering practical solutions to everyday household challenges.I share creative homemaking and lifestyle solutions that make your life easier and more enjoyable!

About Jillee

Jill Nystul

Jill’s 30 years of homemaking experience, make her the trusted source for practical household solutions.

About Jillee


Homekeeping Tips

  • I’ve been much cheaper than that. Over the years (47) hubby and I have been married I’ve collected many pillowcases, some from in-laws and parents, others that survived when the sheets didn’t – others not in use because we changed mattresses and needed new sheet sets. I have both cotton, blend and microfiber pillowcases, as well as zippered pillow covers.

    For laundry, I use the zippered covers to protect my bras. The pillowcases I use to protect my knitwear which never gets dried in the dryer (neither do the bras get dried mechanically). I have a small package of the “postal rubber bands” I obtained at Dollar General and use them to bind up the top of the pillowcases. When the load is finished, I’ll remove the rubber bands, put the contents of the pillow case in a laundry basket to be dried on a clothes rack or hangers (until I get my clothes line set up again – we moved and this house did not have one). The pillowcases go in the dryer and are folded to be stored in a small basket in front of my laundry sorter in the bathroom closet. (YES I sort — you’re asking for shorter lifespan of your clothing if you don’t – however I cannot seem to convince my daughter of this essential step in the laundering process!)

    I do have a few of the smaller mesh zipper bags, that I use for winter gloves (and you SHOULD wash these periodically — think of where they’ve been!!).

  • I agree.The mess bags are great for washing my delicates in the washing machine. I’ve also started using the microfiber cloths – cutting in small squares for my beauty routine.l also use a mesh bag for the squares when I do laundry.

  • I’ve used mesh bags in the laundry for decades. Likely helps preserve life of clothing. Had not thought of using them for non-laundry uses. Thanks for helping think “outside the box.”

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