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11 Things That Could Seriously Harm Your Washing Machine

The washing machine is one of the most useful home appliances in existence, and it can even come in handy in some surprising situations, which we detailed in a previous article, 10 Surprising Items You Can Clean in the Washing MachineHowever, like anything else, your washing machine isn’t invincible. There are certain items that should never be run in the machine as they could cause damage, or alternatively, the machine cycle could ruin them. Find out what should never be placed in the washing machine below.

1. Coins11 Things To Never Put in the Washing Machine, coins

Forgetting a few coins in your pocket after going to the grocery store is something that happened to everyone at least once. Next thing you know, your washing machine is a bit louder than it should be as all those coins are unintentionally going through the cycle. 

It would be a good idea to make a habit of running through all your pockets before you chuck the clothes in the machine. “Coins can damage the fins on the drain pump if they make it past the filter,” says James Peters, Kenmore Laundry Product Manager, to Readers Digest. The little pieces of metal could also get stuck in a drainpipe and block it, preventing the water from draining properly, damage the drum and puncture the outer tank, and even shatter the glass of a front-loading machine. So emptying those pockets could really save you hundreds of dollars and much stress. 

2. Lingerie11 Things To Never Put in the Washing Machine, lingerie

It would be so nice and simple to be able to throw lingerie in the washer with the rest of your clothing. Unfortunately, this could end in damage to both the machine and your undergarments. The hooks and wires on and in the lingerie could attach themselves to other clothing or even itself, resulting in rips and tears. They could also hook onto parts of the washing machine itself, and damage the inside of it. The solution is buying a lingerie bag to wash your delicates in, or washing them by hand. 

3. Stains that might be flammable11 Things To Never Put in the Washing Machine, gas pump

If you happen to spill gas on your clothes, after filling up your tank in a rush and pull out the pump too quickly, for example, it would be understandable that you'd want to get rid of the smell. However, throwing the garment straight into the washing machine could result in a fire or explosion!

To avoid this dangerous situation, there is an easy way to get rid of flammable stains. Mix a paste of two parts baking soda and one part water and rub it into the stain. Another method is hand washing the stained item in a sink or bucket with hot water and detergent or dish soap and letting it air dry.

Related: A Quick Guide to Washing Your... Washing Machine

4. Keys
11 Things To Never Put in the Washing Machine, remote control key

Just like coins, the problem with metal keys is that they are easily forgotten in pockets, and in that case, they can easily scratch up the inside of your machine and damage the drum in the same way as coins. 

These days, however, many buildings have keyless entries which are opened using remote starters or unlockers. This kind of key should also never find its way to the washing machine, as the water could cause them to short circuit.

5. Embellished clothing
11 Things To Never Put in the Washing Machine, embellished jacket

The washing machine is not a friend of any garment with sequins, tinsels, or anything that glitters. “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,” said Leanne Stapf, an expert in fabric content and cleaning, and the vice president of the cleaning franchise The Cleaning Authority. Hand washing is the safest way to go when it comes to embellished clothing. 

Related: 7 Handy Tips to Make Laundry Simple

6. Suits11 Things To Never Put in the Washing Machine, suits

It is common knowledge that suits should be dry cleaned, but we thought it worthwhile to mention them on this list too. Most suits are made of high-quality fabrics that can either shrink or tear, even in a delicate cycle. Keep in mind that suit jackets don’t even need to be dry cleaned that often, if it is used often once a month will do, and for a special occasion suit, it can even be dry cleaned once per season. In between dry cleaner drop-offs, you can use a steamer to keep your suit wrinkle-free.

7. Baby socks11 Things To Never Put in the Washing Machine, baby socks

You haven’t been imagining, the washing machine does eat up socks, especially small ones. “Small items like socks, baby clothes, and even small washcloths can get stuck in washing machines hoses and vents,” according to Stapf. To make sure no socks get lost in the cycle, put them, along with other small items in an enclosed mesh bag.

8. Throw blankets11 Things To Never Put in the Washing Machine, throw blanket

Those cozy throw blankets are likely to get extra use this holiday season, as most of us are mostly staying indoors anyway. While it’s important to clean them every once in a while, bear in mind that most throw blankets are dry clean only. Always check the tag before you pop them in the machine. If you try to machine-wash a blanket that isn't designed for it, it could lose its soft feel or shrink, depending on the material.

Related: Why Overspend on Electricity? Dry Laundry the Natural Way!

9. Pet hair11 Things To Never Put in the Washing Machine,  dog on couch

If you have a cat or a dog, or any other type of furry friend roaming around the house, you surely know that per hair can end up everywhere - on your jacket, on the rug, on the bedding, you name it. But before you put any of those items in the washing machine, be sure to shake off or vacuum the pet hair. If that hair clumps up in the washer, it might clog the drain pumps and stick to the sides of the wash cylinder, causing the machine lasting damage.

10. Excessive detergent11 Things To Never Put in the Washing Machine, putting detergent in machine

The old saying ‘less is more’ is applicable when it comes to the amount of detergent you use per cycle. While it’s easy to think the more detergent you use the cleaner the laundry will be, the opposite is true. Detergent residue can build up in the washer — and on clothes — resulting in unpleasant odors in the machine, clothes that are not completely rinsed, and over time, can cause machine components to fail.

11. Excessive loads11 Things To Never Put in the Washing Machine, loaded washing machine

It can be tempting to stuff as much as you can into your washing machine, just to get it all done quicker.  However, you won’t actually be doing yourself or your washing machine any favors by that. When the machine is too full there’s no wiggle room left for the laundry to move around and actually get washed. Moreover, overstuffing could damage the suspension and bearings of your washing machine. 

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