5 Things to Never Put in the Washer

October 2, 2023
Washer Repair

The washing machine is a convenience that most of us can’t resist, saving us from the manual work of scrubbing the dirt out of our clothes with a washboard. However, there are some things you might tend to put in the washing machine that shouldn’t be there. Adding unsuitable items to the washer can damage your clothes and washing machine parts. In this article, we’ll review a list of five things never to put in the washer.

1. Shoes

We all know how important it is to keep our shoes clean. After all, they’re a key part of our wardrobe and can make a big impression! But, when it comes to cleaning them, it’s usually best to avoid the temptation of just tossing them into the washing machine.

The agitation of a cycle in the washer can cause your shoes to hit the inside of the drum repeatedly. This constant banging isn’t just noisy—it can damage your shoes as well as the washing machine. The materials that most shoes are made of aren’t designed to withstand such rough handling.

Moreover, shoes can take a surprisingly long time to dry thoroughly after being soaked in the wash, and damp shoes are not good for your feet or the shoes themselves. Plus, there’s always the risk that the washing and drying process could alter the shape and fit of your shoes.

That said, if you feel that using the washing machine is your best option, here’s a tip: try to limit the load to just one pair of shoes at a time. You can add some laundry, like towels or bed linens, to the load. These items can act as buffers, reducing the impact of the shoes against the drum and helping to protect both your shoes and your machine.

But remember, manual cleaning is often the safest bet for your beloved shoes. A soft brush or cloth, some mild soap, and a bit of scrubbing can work wonders, and you’ll have the added satisfaction of knowing you’ve given your shoes the gentle care they deserve!

2. Delicate fabrics

Taking care of delicate fabrics like silk, lace, and chiffon can be tricky, but with some attention and care, you can keep them looking their best for years to come. These fabrics are often sensitive to rough handling, so they’re usually unsuitable for regular washing machine cycles.

The high spin cycle in a washer can be particularly harsh on these delicate materials. It can cause the fabrics to stretch, lose their elegant texture, or even tear. You want that beautiful silk blouse or delicate lace dress to stay intact!

However, if you have a modern washing machine at home, it might have a specific hand-wash or delicate cycle. This cycle is designed to mimic the gentle action of hand-washing, making it safer for delicate fabrics. It’s shorter than regular cycles and uses less water and a slower spin to minimize stress on the fabric.

3. Bath mats

Bath mats are a crucial part of our bathrooms, providing a soft, dry spot to step out onto after a shower or bath. However, due to their purpose, they tend to collect a lot of water, and can be challenging to dry out thoroughly.

Tossing them into the washing machine is the easiest solution. Still, it’s important to remember that bath mats can be quite heavy, especially when saturated with water. This uneven weight can cause imbalance during the wash cycle, potentially damaging your machine over time.

Moreover, many bath mats have a rubber backing designed to prevent slipping. The rough agitation of a washing machine could cause this backing to separate from the main fabric. Not only does this reduce the lifespan of your bath mat, but it also makes the mat less effective in its primary function—preventing falls!

So, what’s the best way to clean these essential bathroom buddies? Well, hand washing is often the safest bet. You can use a gentle detergent and scrub the mat carefully with a soft brush. Remember to rinse the bath mat thoroughly to remove all soap suds.

Once washed, to dry your bath mat, a great method is to allow it to air-dry outside. Combining fresh air and sunlight can help eliminate any lingering moisture or odors. Just place it in a spot where it won’t get rained on!

4. Anything with Velcro

Velcro is a fantastic invention, isn’t it? It’s great for fastening things tight, from shoes to jackets and bags. But when it comes to laundry day, Velcro is a troublemaker.

The hook-and-loop system that makes Velcro so useful can cause some issues in the wash. The “hooks” on the Velcro can latch onto other fabrics, leading to snags and pulls that may damage your clothes. Suppose you’ve found a sweater or a delicate blouse with unexpected pilling or loose threads after a wash. In that case, Velcro might have been the culprit!

And it’s not just your clothes that are at risk. Velcro can also become entangled in the agitator of your washing machine. This entanglement can cause wear and tear on the machine, potentially leading to more serious damage.

But don’t worry, you can take some simple steps to avoid these problems. Before tossing items with Velcro into the wash, fasten all closures. This can help prevent the Velcro from “grabbing” onto other items in the wash.

Another handy tip is to use a laundry bag. These mesh bags are an excellent way to protect items with Velcro (and other delicate items, too!). Just place the Velcro item inside the bag, zip it up, and wash it with the rest of your laundry with much less worry.

5. Personal items

Caring for personal items like wallets, jewelry, and mobile phones often requires more attention than your typical laundry load. These items are not only valuable but can also be quite sensitive to water and harsh chemicals found in laundry detergents.

Washing machines can be especially harmful to these items. The rigorous spinning and tumbling could easily damage or even destroy them. Imagine your favorite necklace getting tangled and broken or your wallet’s leather warped and discolored. And let’s not even think about what would happen to a mobile phone!

Moreover, if these items come into contact with the chemicals in your detergent, it could lead to unexpected consequences. Residues could stick to your items and cause skin irritation when you use them next. In some cases, this could even lead to more serious health problems.

These items have specific care instructions, and prevention is the best cure. Make sure your pockets are empty before throwing your clothes in the wash.

The bottom line

Keeping our clothes and appliances in good condition is important to help maximize their life span. Enjoy the washer as your primary cleaning tool, use it as intended, and avoid tossing in any items that can’t handle the task. By being mindful of what you put in your washer, you can keep your clothes brighter and cleaner for longer.


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