DIY Cleaning & Organizing

8 Things You Should Never Put in the Washing Machine

You’re probably guilty of at least one of these laundry woes.

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Taking Care of the Washing Machine

The washing machine takes a beating. We toss in loads of dirty clothes, pour in some soap and hit the start button. It’s all too easy to set it and forget it. Both the washing machine and clothes are expensive, however, and deserve to be treated properly. That’s why there are some things that should never be put in the washing machine. Have you made the mistake of putting any of these items in there?


Embellishments are delicate items that require TLC to maintain their glitz. Delicately sewn-on items can easily tear from the jostling of the machine, or from getting caught on other items. What’s more, the washing machine’s hot water can break down the adhesive used to attach glued-on pieces.

Related: The Complete Guide to Decoding Laundry Symbols

Fluffy Throw Blankets

Tossing cozy throws in the washing machine can lead to shrinking and cause them to lose their soft feel. Keep throw blankets in prime shape with spot cleaning or dry cleaning.

Items Covered in Pet Hair

Picking up the pup or cuddling the cat can lead to lots of loose pet hair on your clothing. Machine-washing items that are covered in pet hair should be avoided, as the hair can clump together and clog the drain pipes. Be sure to use a lint roller prior to putting the items in the machine.

Memory Foam Pillows

Memory foam pillows have an open-cell structure, which means they’ll absorb moisture like a sponge. As they enter the spin cycle, the water logged pillows tend to break apart. Prolong the life of memory foam pillows by spot cleaning them.

Related: The Best Detergents for Laundry Day

Extra Large Items

Items should always be able to move fairly freely in the washing machine. If you jam a large comforter in the machine, the soap and water can’t tackle the entirety of the item. Furthermore, overloading could cause the item to get tangled, resulting in a broken agitator or misaligned rotating drum.

All-Natural Fabrics

Wool and cashmere are prone to shrinking in both the washing machine and dryer, while velvet, silk, leather, and suede can lose their integrity with just one wash. All-natural fabrics should stay out of the machine, to keep them from becoming misshapen.

Related: How To: Hand-Wash Clothes


Loose change ends up in pockets all the time. Besides the annoying sound of coins rolling around the washing machine, the small pieces of metal can make their way past the filter and damage the drain pipe.

Rubber-Backed Mats

Rubber-backed mats, like the ones found to wipe your feet at the entryway of the home, can break down in the washing machine. The bits of rubber may get past the filter and damage the pump.