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Don’t Put These in the Washing Machine

by Maria Gracia | Updated on October 1, 2023 Join our newsletter to be notified when new content is added to our website. My friend Georgia's washing machine developed a clog recently. When the repair person finished his work, he asked her if she had long-haired pets. Georgia has three long-haired dogs. "And you throw their blankets or beds in the machine to wash them?" the repair person asked. When she replied affirmatively, he shook his head and said that was a bad idea. Pet hair clumps and can prevent the machine from draining well and may ultimately damage the drain pump. So, besides pet-covered blankets and clothing, what else should we avoid putting in the washing machine. 1. Foam, especially memory foam pillows. Foam can be shredded, even on a gentle cycle and with no spin. You will likely be left with a big, sopping-wet lump. 2. Loose bras. These are best hand-washed or at least enclosed in a mesh lingerie bag. Bras get misshapen or stretched. Their hooks can catch on other clothes or get caught on the agitator. (Note: if you hate washing by hand, there are now rinse-free products; you just soak your garment briefly and then let it dry.) 3. Swimsuits. For much the same reason as lingerie, hand wash your swim wear to keep it in the best condition. 4. Embellished or lace items or fabrics such as wool and cashmere. Even on the delicate cycle, a washing machine is just too rough for most of these. 5. Clothing or fabric with flammable stains or spills. Fabrics with gasoline, cooking oil, motor oil, etc., should not go in your machine due to the fire risk. Instead, pre-treat with a solvent-based stain remover and let sit for ten minutes. Ideally, hand wash, but if it must go in the machine, and if some of the smell has dissipated, wash the article by itself. 6. Leather clothes, purses, or sneakers. These are generally too delicate to handle all the water and tumbling. Even leather-trimmed sneakers can be damaged. 7. Running sneakers. Unless your shoes say they are machine washable, it is best to keep them out of the washer. Too often, athletic shoes come out smaller. They may have glued parts, which can also be damaged by water. 8. Suits. While a suit may be made of cotton or polyester (fabrics that can usually be machine washed), don't put them in the washing machine. The interfacing that gives them their shape can be ruined, and the suit will never look the same. Take them to be dry cleaned and use a steamer to remove wrinkles in between professional cleanings. 9. Neckties. Usually made of more delicate fabric, like silk, ties typically have a lining that is not compatible with machine washing. Take them to the cleaners. 10. Open zippers. This is so easy to accidentally do. You scoop up a load of clothes from the hamper and toss them into the machine. Maybe you remembered to close the zipper on your items, but did anyone else? Open zippers can catch and damage other clothing. They may also scratch your machine. Zip the zippers before running them through the cycle. 11. Velcro closures. While they won't likely damage your machine, like zippers, they can catch on other fabrics and damage them. If you have to wash them in the machine, like a soiled baby bib, engage the Velcro part so it’s not flailing around in the washer…and put this item in a mesh laundry bag. Also, don’t put anything in the washer with it that might get “pulled” on that Velcro, like a sweater or lacy top. 12. Coins, keys, pens, etc. While we all know this, we have probably all washed something we should not have. A single pen in a pocket can ruin a lot of clothes. Small coins, paper clips, keys, etc., can get caught in the machine or catch on clothes. Keys with electric parts will probably not survive a wash. Be sure to empty all pockets of garments before adding them to the wash cycle. 13. Baby socks, hair scrunchies, and other small fabric items. You CAN wash these in the washer, but put them together in a mesh laundry bag. This will prevent any possibility of them being sucked into hoses. 14. A single large object like a pillow or blanket. These can cause a machine to get unbalanced (you know, that banging noise where the machine "walks") and may even damage your machine. A few bath towels thrown in will help to balance things. 15. An object that is just too big. A queen- or king-sized comforter you have to stuff to even get in your machine is not going to get cleaned well. It won't have room to agitate. Either have it cleaned, or go to a laundromat with extra large capacity machines and wash it there. 16. Too many clothes or other items. Overfilling your machine with too many sheets or clothes may keep things from getting clean and may strain the motor, bearings, or other parts. 17. Items that say "Dry Clean Only." Yes, there are "dry clean" products you can use to freshen your clothes in the dryer. But to really clean them well, it's best to take them to a professional. 18. Too much detergent. More is not necessarily better at all. Besides wasting money, the suds from an excess amount of detergent will leave a build-up on your clothes or sheets. 19. Rubber-backed mats. Those mats at our entryways do a lot of work, catching grass and dirt from outside, and they sure get dirty. But most should not be thrown in the machine, at least if they have a rubber backing. The washer can damage the backing, causing bits to come off. Then those bits can damage the machine. 20. Anything that might be washable but that would break your or someone else's heart to damage. The quilt your aunt made you is made of cotton fabric, but it is a precious keepsake. So is your child's favorite stuffed animal. Some things you should just spot clean or have professionally cleaned. It’s too much risk to toss them into the washing machine and hope for the best. One thing you SHOULD put in your machine every month or so is a washing machine cleaning tablet. They help to break down dirt and residues that cause odor. I used to think they were just sort of a gimmick, but a repair person friend of mine assured me they are not, and that he always recommends them. Washing machines are expensive; so are repairs. While we cannot prevent all damage, we can prevent some by being more mindful and careful about what we’re thinking about tossing in the washer. Back to Cleaning Secrets Index

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Back to Cleaning Secrets Index Cleaning Secrets

Don’t Put These in the

Washing Machine

by Maria Gracia Updated October 1, 2023 Join our newsletter to be notified when new content is added to our website. My friend Georgia's washing machine developed a clog recently. When the repair person finished his work, he asked her if she had long-haired pets. Georgia has three long-haired dogs. "And you throw their blankets or beds in the machine to wash them?" the repair person asked. When she replied affirmatively, he shook his head and said that was a bad idea. Pet hair clumps and can prevent the machine from draining well and may ultimately damage the drain pump. So, besides pet-covered blankets and clothing, what else should we avoid putting in the washing machine. 1. Foam, especially memory foam pillows. Foam can be shredded, even on a gentle cycle and with no spin. You will likely be left with a big, sopping-wet lump. 2. Loose bras. These are best hand- washed or at least enclosed in a mesh lingerie bag. Bras get misshapen or stretched. Their hooks can catch on other clothes or get caught on the agitator. (Note: if you hate washing by hand, there are now rinse-free products; you just soak your garment briefly and then let it dry.) 3. Swimsuits. For much the same reason as lingerie, hand wash your swim wear to keep it in the best condition. 4. Embellished or lace items or fabrics such as wool and cashmere. Even on the delicate cycle, a washing machine is just too rough for most of these. 5. Clothing or fabric with flammable stains or spills. Fabrics with gasoline, cooking oil, motor oil, etc., should not go in your machine due to the fire risk. Instead, pre-treat with a solvent-based stain remover and let sit for ten minutes. Ideally, hand wash, but if it must go in the machine, and if some of the smell has dissipated, wash the article by itself. 6. Leather clothes, purses, or sneakers. These are generally too delicate to handle all the water and tumbling. Even leather-trimmed sneakers can be damaged. 7. Running sneakers. Unless your shoes say they are machine washable, it is best to keep them out of the washer. Too often, athletic shoes come out smaller. They may have glued parts, which can also be damaged by water. 8. Suits. While a suit may be made of cotton or polyester (fabrics that can usually be machine washed), don't put them in the washing machine. The interfacing that gives them their shape can be ruined, and the suit will never look the same. Take them to be dry cleaned and use a steamer to remove wrinkles in between professional cleanings. 9. Neckties. Usually made of more delicate fabric, like silk, ties typically have a lining that is not compatible with machine washing. Take them to the cleaners. 10. Open zippers. This is so easy to accidentally do. You scoop up a load of clothes from the hamper and toss them into the machine. Maybe you remembered to close the zipper on your items, but did anyone else? Open zippers can catch and damage other clothing. They may also scratch your machine. Zip the zippers before running them through the cycle. 11. Velcro closures. While they won't likely damage your machine, like zippers, they can catch on other fabrics and damage them. If you have to wash them in the machine, like a soiled baby bib, engage the Velcro part so it’s not flailing around in the washer…and put this item in a mesh laundry bag. Also, don’t put anything in the washer with it that might get “pulled” on that Velcro, like a sweater or lacy top. 12. Coins, keys, pens, etc. While we all know this, we have probably all washed something we should not have. A single pen in a pocket can ruin a lot of clothes. Small coins, paper clips, keys, etc., can get caught in the machine or catch on clothes. Keys with electric parts will probably not survive a wash. Be sure to empty all pockets of garments before adding them to the wash cycle. 13. Baby socks, hair scrunchies, and other small fabric items. You CAN wash these in the washer, but put them together in a mesh laundry bag. This will prevent any possibility of them being sucked into hoses. 14. A single large object like a pillow or blanket. These can cause a machine to get unbalanced (you know, that banging noise where the machine "walks") and may even damage your machine. A few bath towels thrown in will help to balance things. 15. An object that is just too big. A queen- or king-sized comforter you have to stuff to even get in your machine is not going to get cleaned well. It won't have room to agitate. Either have it cleaned, or go to a laundromat with extra large capacity machines and wash it there. 16. Too many clothes or other items. Overfilling your machine with too many sheets or clothes may keep things from getting clean and may strain the motor, bearings, or other parts. 17. Items that say "Dry Clean Only."  Yes, there are "dry clean" products you can use to freshen your clothes in the dryer. But to really clean them well, it's best to take them to a professional. 18. Too much detergent. More is not necessarily better at all. Besides wasting money, the suds from an excess amount of detergent will leave a build-up on your clothes or sheets. 19. Rubber-backed mats. Those mats at our entryways do a lot of work, catching grass and dirt from outside, and they sure get dirty. But most should not be thrown in the machine, at least if they have a rubber backing. The washer can damage the backing, causing bits to come off. Then those bits can damage the machine. 20. Anything that might be washable but that would break your or someone else's heart to damage.  The quilt your aunt made you is made of cotton fabric, but it is a precious keepsake. So is your child's favorite stuffed animal. Some things you should just spot clean or have professionally cleaned. It’s too much risk to toss them into the washing machine and hope for the best. One thing you SHOULD put in your machine every month or so is a washing machine cleaning tablet. They help to break down dirt and residues that cause odor. I used to think they were just sort of a gimmick, but a repair person friend of mine assured me they are not, and that he always recommends them. Washing machines are expensive; so are repairs. While we cannot prevent all damage, we can prevent some by being more mindful and careful about what we’re thinking about tossing in the washer. Back to Cleaning Secrets Index
CLEANING SECRETS
Copyright Get Organized Now!™ 611 Arlington Way, Watertown, WI 53094 This page may contain affiliate links. We may earn a small commission if you buy something from one of those links.
Finally! An Easier Way to Get Organized in Five Minutes or Less Per Day with Our    CLICK HERE TO LEARN MORE FREE GON in Five Minutes! Ezine Millions of lives have been changed since  1997
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