By now most of us know not to mix our whites and colors when doing the laundry. But, there are other more important things you should know as well when it comes to doing the laundry, like what can and can’t go in the wash. Here are ten things that you should NEVER put in your washing machine.
10. Waterproof Clothing
Ponchos, raincoats, mattress covers and the like don’t belong in your washing machine. That’s because washing waterproof materials “can create a condition where the material traps water over time like a water balloon filling up,” says Adkisson. “Then if it (the water balloon) suddenly ‘breaks’ during the spin cycle, it then sends all that mass to other spaces, creating a severe unbalancing condition that can lead to the mysterious ‘exploding’ washing machine.” Hand wash these items instead. Or, if your machine has a “hand wash” option, you could try that. Just make sure you consult with a professional before you do.
9. Anything with Flammable Stains
If you happen to spill anything flammable–cooking oil, gas, alcohol, paint thinner, etc.–on your clothing, DO NOT put them in your washer. One reason is that flammable residue could potentially build up in your washing machine. Another reason is that if you put those clothes in your dryer, there’s a strong possibility that it could spark an explosion. Try these options instead:
–Make a paste using two parts baking soda and one part water. Rub the paste into the stain.
–Hand-wash them with hot water and detergent, and hang them up to dry.
–Spot-treat the stain first with a product like Spray ‘n Wash, then after letting it sit for the specified amount of time, toss it into the washer and let it hang dry afterwards. TIP: Make sure you don’t put anything else in the washing machine so you don’t transfer the stain to other articles of clothing.
8. Small Items
Did you know that if you put baby socks, baby washcloths, or anything small for that matter, into your washing machine that the items could get stuck in your washing machine’s hoses and vents? And, if that happens, it could lead to flooding, which could lead to costly repairs. Instead of damaging your home and draining your bank account, wash all small items in an enclosed mesh bag. That way they won’t be able to float around freely and get sucked into the vents and hoses. Or, you could simply wash them by hand.
7. Extra Large Items
Yes, we know you need to wash your comforter or duvet, but putting it in your home washing machine is a bad idea. Not only will it prevent the detergent from circulating through the drum and cleaning your clothes properly, but it could also cause problems with your washing machine. If you have a top-load washer, cramming large items into it could break the agitator. If you have a front-load washer, extra large items could throw the rotating drum out of alignment. Instead, take your extra large items to the laundromat and use one of the triple- or mega-load washing machines.
6. Memory Foam Pillows
If you want to keep your memory foam pillows in tip-top shape, keep them out of the washing machine. “Most memory foam pillows have an open-cell structure that will turn them into soggy bricks if soaked in water, and they might fall to pieces after getting subjected to a spin cycle,” Jon Chan, Senior Lab Technician at Reviewed, said in an article published by Cincinnati.com. Here’s what you can try instead: Spot clean them when necessary. Once or twice a year should do, according to Carolyn Forte, director of the Home Appliances & Cleaning Products and Textiles Labs at the Good Housekeeping Institute. That’s because “memory foam is naturally hypoallergenic and dust-mite resistant, [so] these pillows stay clean longer than traditional down-filled ones,” Southern Living magazine says. Another option is to hand wash the pillow, but only if the label suggests it. After you’ve thoroughly washed and cleaned it, gently squeeze any excess water from it and let it air dry in a well-ventilated area.
Sweaters, or basically anything made of cashmere, velvet or wool, do not belong in the wash. The fabrics are too delicate to withstand being in a washer and could end up being matted and pilled. But, that’s not all. Putting a sweater in the washer can also cause it to shrink. If you still want to put it in the machine anyway, make sure it’s in a mesh bag. For those of you who are too fearful to put your sweaters in the washer, hand wash them instead using a gentle detergent like Woolite. But, whatever you do, DO NOT wring out the excess water. This action could cause your sweater to end up misshapen. Instead, roll it in a towel to get rid of the excess water, then let it air dry on a drying rack.
Washing machines can do major damage to your lacy items. After all, lace is such a fragile material. But, let’s not forget about all those hooks and wires either. Putting them in the wash with other clothing is a big no-no. The hooks and wires could end up snagging your other garments, resulting in rips and tears. Plus, they could also end up getting hooked onto parts of the washing machine and damaging the interior. It’s best to hand wash these delicate items instead. Or, if you insist on putting them in the washing machine, make sure you put them in a mesh bag first so your other clothing (and your washing machine) won’t end up damaged.
3. Suits and Ties
It probably goes without saying that most people who own these articles of clothing already know they should be dry-cleaned. But, you may be thinking that if you put in on the delicate cycle, you can save yourself a bit of money by avoiding a dry-cleaning fee. But, the only thing you’ll be doing is ruining your “Sunday best.” Like sweaters and lingerie, suits and ties are also made of materials that can easily be damaged in a washing machine. Take it to the cleaners instead. If it’s your tie and it has just a small stain, try spot-treating it. Or, you can hand wash it as well.
2. Anything Covered in Pet Hair
The water in your washing machine can make pet hair clump together, which really isn’t a problem until it sticks to the sides of the wash cylinder and clogs the drain pumps. Before tossing any items covered with pet hair into the wash, remove the hair with a brush or lint roller. If you don’t have a brush or roller, you can use damp rubber gloves to remove the hair. If that doesn’t work, you can always run the clothing through a short, low- or no-heat dryer cycle first. The loosened hairs will end up in the lint trap instead of in your washing machine.
1. Coins and Keys
Not that you would intentionally put coins and keys in your washing machine–at least we hope not–but there’s always the possibility that you forget to fully empty your pockets. It happens to the best of us. But, it could end up being a costly mistake. That’s because metal objects can damage your machine’s drum, get stuck in the filter and pipes, damage the fins on the drain pump, get stuck in the drain and block the water, scratch up the interior, and even shatter the glass on a front-loading washing machine! The simple solution: Make sure your pockets are completely empty before tossing your clothes into the wash.
Have you ever put any of these things in your washing machine? If so, tell us what happened. We’d love to hear about it, as well as any advice of your own that you might have!