9 Surprising Things You Should Never Throw in the Washing Machine


Imagine not having a washing machine and having to wash all your things by hand! If you’re not careful with what you put inside your washer, you might end up doing just that. That’s because there are some items that can get damaged when put in the washer, not to mention that they can damage the machine itself!

If you want to keep your washing machine intact, here’s a list of things you should never put in the washing machine as well as a few things it’s ok to clean in the washer.


Items to keep out of the washing machine


Swimsuits might have been created to be worn in the water but when it comes to washing them, they haven’t been designed to be put in the washing machine. The reason you should keep your swimsuits out of the washing machine is that the hot water can make them lose their elasticity much faster. Don’t be surprised if the next time you put your swimsuit on, it looks anything but flattering on your body.

According to Leanne Stapf, chief operating officer at The Cleaning Authority, the materials that swimsuits are made of are usually nonresistant to heat,” therefore, hand washing is the best way to clean them.


Items covered in pet hair

You might love your pets to the moon and back but it sure is annoying to have all your clothes covered in their fur. Dog hair, which is thicker than cat hair, is one of the most common causes of clogging of washing machine drains. “The pet hair clumps up and causes a stoppage, so the water doesn’t drain from the barrel like it should,” warns Audrey Monell, president of Forrest Anderson Plumbing and AC in Glendale, AZ.

To avoid an unwanted problem, remove the pet hair on your clothes with a lint roller before putting them inside the washing machine. Or, you could buy or adopt one of these 7 Low-Energy Dogs That Don’t Shed.


Items stained with flammable liquid

I know the first thing on your mind when dealing with a clothing item stained with gasoline, motor oil, or cooking oil, is to put it inside the washing machine and let it do its magic. But, in reality, it’s not the brightest idea. Unless you want to wake up with an explosion or a fire on your hands.

If you accidentally spill something flammable on your clothes, just “use a solvent-based stain remover and let it sit for 10 minutes before hand-washing the item,” recommends Doug Rogers, president of Mr. Appliance. For everyone’s safety.



Bras are delicate and definitely no match for a washing machine. Apart from destroying the bra’s underwire, the undergarment’s hooks can snag other pieces of laundry and seriously damage them during the washing cycle.

More than that, “bras get easily stretched out, but an unfastened bra hook can easily get caught in the machine’s cylinder, or agitator,” warns Rogers. If you don’t want to ruin your finest lingerie items, hand-wash them or put them in a garment bag during a delicate wash cycle.


Unprepared zippers and buttons

Many of our clothes have all sorts of zippers and buttons. These can certainly go in the washing machine but on one condition: they need to be closed. Otherwise, expect some major damage to the other clothing items invited to the party.

“Zippers can easily snag delicate clothing or scratch the inside of the washer, so it’s important to make sure all jeans and other clothing items are zipped all the way up,” Stapf says. When it comes to buttons, it’s also important to close them as the buttonholes can tear during the wash cycle.


King-size comforters

These items are usually too big to be placed inside standard washing machines and forcing them inside can “cause the water to overflow and the washing machine to break,” says Monell. Not to mention the comforter will remain just as dirty as it was when you first put it inside.

Instead, she suggests going to the local laundromat and use their industrial-size machines. These are generally big enough to wash almost anything, including king-size comforters. Try this option and save the money you would spend on a new comforter and possibly a new washing machine.


Indoor rugs or mats

The mats you keep at the entry function as an intermediate area between the outside and the inside aka your house. This means your mats are the first things you touch when you enter your home and the first ones to catch the mud, dirt, and everything else you bring on your shoes.

Their function is to protect the floor but their protection pretty much ends there; if placed inside the washing machine, they can damage it beyond repair. Unless it is specified on their tag, heavy mats and rugs, especially those with rubber backing should never be washed in standard washers.

“The rubber backing may come off and stick to the inside of the drum, resulting in a malfunction or drainage error,” warns Chris Thornton, senior manager of product training at Samsung.


Running shoes

Most of us have done it at some point. Admit it, you did it too. But just because running shoes can withstand the test of wear and tear, it doesn’t mean they can withstand a washing cycle. As explained by Stapf, “running shoes aren’t as durable as your average sneaker—they have less fabric and more rubber.”

Not only can the washing machine damage the fit of the shoe but the force of loose running shoes can sabotage of the machine’s drum while wet soles can get clogged in the drain. The best and safest way to keep both your running shoes and your washing machine intact is to use a toothbrush and anti-grease soap to clean your shoes.


Too many clothes

It might be convenient to put all your dirty clothes in the washing machine in just one load and be done for the day but it will be anything but convenient when your washer breaks and you need to call the repairman.

Apart from your clothes not being washed properly due to being all loaded in there, your washing machine might get damaged because of the heavy load it has to spin. To make sure your washing machine doesn’t break and the wash cycle is not a complete waste of water, detergent and electricity, resist the temptation and load enough clothes to still have some room in there.

See also 13 Smart Hacks To Cut Your House-Cleaning Time In Half.


What you can put inside the washing machine

Yoga mats

Heavy rugs and mats do not have a good relationship with washing machines, but yoga mats are a completely different story. In fact, it is the easiest way to wash them and remove all the sweat and body oils out of it. As long as you use a gentle wash cycle and leave the mat out to dry, your washing machine and yoga mat should be safe.


Plastic shower curtains

Generally, fabric shower curtains can be put in the washing machine, once a month, according to Monell. She also suggests washing your plastic shower curtain at regular intervals, every three months or so. All the built-up soap and hair products that get stuck on them can be removed easier during a wash cycle.


Curtains and drapes

Your curtains are also among the house items that collect unwanted residues, like dust, dirt and even odors. If they are not excessively heavy or made of a fabric that requires dry-cleaning, you can safely put them in the washing machine and let it do its job.

Something to keep in mind is that you should always use the delicate cycle and cold water. If there are no other instructions, you can also dry them on a gentle cycle with low heat.


Bed pillows

Whether you like it or not, your pillow is covered in sweat, dead skin, bacteria and dust mites. Needless to say, you need to wash them as often as possible. The most convenient way to do it? In the washing machine.

If you have a top-loading machine, you can just curve the pillow on the sides to create a circle. If you have a front-loader, you just have to fold the pillow to put them in and use a warm or hot wash cycle.


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