Protecting Your Washing Machine: Items to Avoid Washing for Longevity

Protecting Your Washing Machine: Items to Avoid Washing for Longevity

Essential Washing Machine Care: Items to Avoid Washing


Washing machines have become a common sight in British households, with a staggering 97% of homes having one installed as of 2017, according to a survey conducted for the UK Government.

Proper maintenance is key to ensuring the longevity of these appliances.

However, it’s equally crucial to avoid washing inappropriate items to prevent damage and expensive repairs.

1. Shoes: Despite their durability, washing shoes in the machine can lead to adverse consequences for both the shoes and the machine.


The tumbling action might scratch the washing machine’s drum, and shoes may lose their shape or cause imbalances, resulting in noisy vibrations during the spin cycle.

It is advised to clean shoes by hand or use a soft brush with mild detergent for safer and effective cleaning.

The inclusion of shoes in the washing machine can be a tempting convenience, but the potential damage to both the appliance and the shoes themselves should deter users from taking this risk.

Opting for manual cleaning methods ensures the preservation of shoes and the washing machine’s functionality.

2. Backpacks or bags with metal parts: Washing bags or backpacks containing metal zippers, buckles, or hardware poses a risk to the washing machine’s drum and the items inside.


The metal parts can scratch the machine’s interior, and the bag’s weight may lead to balance issues.

To preserve both the bag and the washing machine, spot clean the bag or resort to handwashing with care if necessary.

3. Stuffed animals with batteries or electronic components: Stuffed animals with integrated electronic components, such as sound or motion sensors, should not be washed in the machine to avoid water damage.

For cleaning purposes, spot cleaning or using a damp cloth is a safer alternative.

4. Pet beds with loose filling: Pet beds containing loose filling like foam beads or shredded foam should not be washed in the machine.


The filling may clump together, potentially damaging the washing machine’s motor. Additionally, pet hair and fur can clog the machine’s filter and drainage system.

Following spot cleaning or the care instructions from the pet bed manufacturer is the recommended approach.

5. Waterproof or water-resistant items: Items like raincoats, waterproof jackets, or water-resistant outdoor gear often have specialized coatings that washing machine detergent and agitation can harm.

Using the washing machine may strip off the waterproofing, diminishing the item’s ability to repel water.

For such items, following the manufacturer’s cleaning instructions, usually involving hand washing or specialized cleaning products, is essential.


Avoiding the washing machine for items mentioned above not only safeguards the appliance but also ensures the preservation of the items’ quality and functionality.

Manufacturers provide care instructions to maintain the integrity of their products, and adhering to these guidelines is pivotal in prolonging the lifespan of both the washing machine and the belongings being cleaned.

Other Items to Avoid: The article further highlights items like delicate fabrics (silk, lace, or cashmere), leather or suede products (jackets, shoes, handbags), and electronics or gadgets that should never be washed in a washing machine.

Washing delicate fabrics can lead to tearing or stretching, while leather and suede items might suffer damage to their natural oils. Electronics should never be exposed to water, and washing machines are no exception.

Conclusion: Being mindful of the items we place in the washing machine is crucial for maintaining the longevity of both the appliance and our belongings.


Carefully following manufacturers’ guidelines and opting for manual cleaning methods when necessary can prevent costly mistakes and ensure the continued efficiency of our washing machines.


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