A life saver! That’s what washing machines are. Think about how busy your week has been and you looking forward to a weekend of relaxation, but then you remember the piles of work waiting for you in your laundry room and the more labor-intensive task of washing clothes by hand. Now you know you want a little extra help. Then you’ll understand that making use of a washing machine to achieve this seems like a no-brainer.
Washing machines are miraculous contraptions. In go the dirty, smelly clothes (as well as some other surprising things) and out they come all clean and fresh with just the push of a few buttons. However, there are a lot of don’t(s) that come with making use of a traditional washing machine. As wonderful as a washer can be, there are still some things that should never be put in one.
Some things are obvious: cell phones, wallets, ballpoint pens, keys, and coins left in pockets should never go in a washer. However, some items are less obvious and for the care or the health of your washing machine let’s dive in and see what you twenty (20) items you cannot put inside your laundry machine
Did you know that many suits are made of high-quality fabrics that can either shrink or tear, even in a delicate cycle? Even if the outer fabric of a suit is cotton, polyester, or another machine-washable fabric, tailored jackets, slacks, and skirts should never be put in a washer. Sandwiched between the outside shell and the lining are materials called interfacings that give a jacket its crisp shape. When exposed to water, most interfacings become misshapen and some can even disintegrate. If you want to stay looking dapper, take your suit to the dry cleaner. In between dry cleaner drop-offs, use a steamer to de-wrinkle your suit.
Putting your lingerie in the washing machine might be a disaster. Also washing them with other garments is a ‘no’ ‘no’! For underwire bras, the wires and hooks on and in could hook to other clothes or even on the lingerie itself, thereby ripping them apart and causing tears. The hooks and wires can also hook onto the washing machine parts resulting in interior damage of the laundry washer.
Your lingerie are delicate items and should be washed with care. To avoid ruining your them, hand-wash them, or place them in a mesh bag to protect them from being lost or damaged.
Like your lingerie, your swimsuit should be washed with care. Even though swimwear is designed to be in the water, the water in a washing machine is not the best choice. The mechanical action of the machine can be damaging to straps and the inner structure of women’s swimsuits. Plus, washing the high-tech fabric of most swimwear along with clothes that have zippers and hooks can cause holes or snags. If you want your swimwear to last, handwashing is a much better option.
Pet Hair Garments like Fur Coats
If you have ever kept a pet with lots of furs, then you do know already that pet hair can annoyingly appear everywhere- on the bed, rugs, jackets, etc. Just like your hair can clog a bathroom sink or shower drain, pet hair is terrible for the water pump filters and drains in your washer. Washing your fur coats or jackets in a laundry washing machine is simply not recommended. Furs when wet can stick together and to the sides of the laundry washer. It can even get on other clothes or even clog drain pipes.
Before you toss items heavily covered with pet hair in the washer, take them outside for a good brushing or even toss them in the dryer with a couple of dryer sheets and allow them to tumble on low heat or air only for fifteen minutes. This will remove enough of the hair so you can wash them safely.
You’ve worn your knit hat all day or week and it seems soiled and stinky from sitting on sweaty head. Now you think it needs a good wash. Before you throw it into your washing machine, read this: your delicate fabric and shape cannot withstand a spin cycle! When it does come time to wash your hat, doing so by hand with a mild detergent will ensure that it maintains its structure and softness.
If you want to turn your solid foam pillows, mattress pads, and chair cushions into shredded foam, then toss them in a washer. Unless otherwise stated on the label, foam pillows are not machine washable. When these pillows go through the wash, they turn into soggy messes with no evident structure—and some don’t even make it out of the spin cycle alive. Again, the machine’s mechanical agitation, especially the spin cycle, is just too much for these items. A bathtub of lukewarm water, a gentle detergent, and a bit of hand-squeezing followed by a good rinse will keep them clean and smelling fresh.
Embellished, Wool and Velvet Garments
All that glitters…shouldn’t go in the washing machine. The same goes wool garments. With these garments, always read the care label. Yes, there is washable wool and velvet, and can be washed, but most wool garments should be treated more delicately and hand-washed.
Embellishments that are sewn on can easily tear in the washer and, if they are glued, the intensity of the hot water can break down the adhesive. Hand-washing is the safest choice and will keep you sparkling.
Velvet, heavily-sequined or embellished garments, and all tailored wool garments should be taken to a dry cleaner.
After seeing the price tag on most neckties, that should be enough warning not to toss them in a washer. Neckties are often made of silk and may also have detailed stitching and embroidery. Tossing them in a laundry machine cleaner would lead to shrinkage, loss of color, and/or outright damage. The inner structure can become twisted and misshapen in the washer. Handwashing or dry cleaning is always best.
Leather Sneakers and Clothes
Fabric sneakers can benefit greatly by a trip through the washing machine. Leather sneakers, however, do not. Most leather athletic shoes have some parts that are put together with glue that can be damaged by both excessive moisture and heat. While the surface of leather clothes can be reconditioned after getting very wet, the washing machine is going to leave the surface marred and wrinkled. Opt instead for a professional cleaner who specializes in leather care.
Washing regular sneakers in the washing machine is totally fine—in fact, it’s a good trick for keeping white shoes in pristine condition—but running shoes are a different story. Putting running shoes in the washer could end up being an expensive mistake. Most athletic sneakers that go through a spin cycle come out shrunken and smaller than before. The athletic sneakers with leather accents tend to lose the leather as they peel off, so be careful to only wash your sneakers if they’re approved for the appliance.
Before you put your running shoes in the wash cycle, ensure they are approved for such wash or better still, use a brush and anti-grease detergent to wipe off stubborn stains.
When a garment is heavily stained with motor oil, gasoline, cooking oil, paint thinner or alcohol, it’s a good idea to presoak it first in a large laundry sink or plastic tub with some heavy-duty detergent before tossing it in the washer.
Yes, the washing machine’s entire purpose is to get rid of stains, but there are some that just aren’t compatible with the appliance. Things like gasoline, cooking oil, and alcohol are all highly flammable, and putting clothes covered in them in the washing machine can start a house fire. If you do accidentally soil your garments with something flammable, simply spot-treat the stain with a solvent-based stain remover—like Seventh Generation Natural Stain Remover Spray ($4)—and then hand-wash the item.
Think about this for a second: If your raincoat is waterproof, then how is it going to soak up the water of the washing machine for a deep cleanse? Exactly. When washed with a washing machine, cloth materials, like raincoats and mattresses, trap water and have a balloon-like effect, which will eventually explode during the wash cycle. This will distribute the pieces of waterproof items into other spaces. It may lead to a highly unbalanced condition that may cause the washing machine to explode and making a huge mess.
Unzipped Zipper and Unbutton Buttons
Things with zippers can certainly go in the wash – you can put your jeans, button-downs, and other clothes with zippers and buttons in the wash…as long as you do it the right way: closed. Zip the zippers all the way to avoid snagging on delicate clothing or scratching the inside of your washing machine. Open zippers swirling around in the washing machine, however, can get caught on other items, potentially causing disastrous damage to precious articles of clothing. And unbutton all buttons—if you don’t, the buttonholes can tear and the buttons can get damaged.
Baby Socks and Small Clothing
We might have finally solved the mystery of your missing socks: your washing machine could be the guilty party. Small items like socks, baby clothes, and even small washcloths can get stuck in a washing machines hoses and vents. And this may lead to a flood in the laundry room, and nobody enjoys a flood. Put small items in an enclosed mesh bag so no sock is left behind, or do things the old-fashioned way and hand-wash your small items. You could also take care of this category of garments by hand-washing them.
Lace materials are too fine and fragile to go into a machine washer. Its net-like patterns are tiny and thin, which means they can withstand the tumbles of a laundry washing machine. These delicate garments are better off hand-washed. Make use of cold water and avoid excessive scrubbing so as not to make rip the clothing. If you insist on throwing them into the machine, then at least put them in a mesh bag to prevent snagging and tearing. After wash, hang to dry instead of putting in a dryer.
Clothing or Item with Rubber
When you are doing your laundry, do not toss any item partially made of rubber into the mix. The heat generated during the wash destroys the adhesive that is holding it in place, not to lose form or shape. The rubber will either come apart and become distorted, or it will melt away, and this can damage the pump if a significant quantity of it gets past the filter and trapped in the valves.
Although some rubber-backed materials like your bath rugs and mats can withstand the heat from a delicate washing, never throw them into a dryer.
Keep your cozy throw blankets in good shape for Netflix marathons. Many throw blankets are, surprisingly, dry clean only, so always check the tag first. If you put it in the wash, the blanket may lose the soft feel or it could shrink, depending on the material.
A king-size comforter is simply too big for a typical washing machine, and trying to wash one will both break the machine and leave the comforter just as dirty as it was before. However, most laundromats and dry cleaners house industrial-sized machines large enough to wash almost anything. Head to one to both clean your comforter and keep your machine intact.
There is nothing wrong with putting stuffed animals into the washing machine. Throwing them together with other laundry items isn’t a big deal either. However, the wash cycle may tear off a button or an eye, and if it is your child’s favorite teddy, you might just want to rethink putting them in the laundry washer in the first place.
Throw your expensive purses into a washing machine at your peril. Dirty leather or suede purses get their shapes distorted, and the material harmed if washed in a laundry machine. Furthermore, the zipper and any exterior embellishments can easily get messed up. Go for ultrasonic cleaners- ultrasonic mini washing machine like Sonic Soak can do the trick
- One of the worst things you can add to your washing machine is an excessive amount of detergent or fabric softener. With today’s concentrated products, overdosing will leave your clothes less clean than usual because the fabric holds onto the excess product, which traps body soil and odour. Using too much product can also result in mechanical problems for your machine. In high-efficiency washers that use a small amount of water, excess suds and residue from fabric softener can trap soil and bacteria and produce very foul odors.
- Don’t overload it! You’ll shorten its life Overloading your washing machine’s drum so that it’s completely packed will lead to less than perfect wash results and could damage your machine. Washing machines are designed to wash a certain weight of clothes and no more. It varies with the type of laundry, though – you can usually wash more cottons, such as bed sheets, than synthetics, such as gym kit. Many modern machines won’t allow you to overload them. They simply won’t wash if there’s too much in the drum or too much for the wash program you’ve selected. But some machines won’t stop you from washing, even if the drum is full to bursting. This could lead to poor wash results, as there’s less room for the water and detergent to spread throughout the load. More seriously, overloading could damage the way the drum spins and, over time, this could mean the life of your machine will be shortened.