6 Things You Never Want to Do to Your Washing Machine

overloaded washer

The Spruce / Kori Livingston 

Toss messy, icky, stained clothes into a washing machine, and after a short wash cycle, you expect them to come out perfect. Most of the time this is the way our washing machine works, but you may be making some mistakes you're not aware of. Here are six common blunders to avoid with your washing machine.

  • 01 of 06

    Ignoring the Tags

    care labels on clothing

    The Spruce / Ana Cadena

    Washing machines have come a long way, technologically speaking, and the newest machines make our workload a lot easier, but washing machines still can't read a tag and choose the right settings without some help from us. To know how to wash your laundry properly, you'll need to know the manufacturer's instructions for that fabric type. Failing to read and follow the tag can cause colors to bleed, fabric to shrink, and damage your laundry.

  • 02 of 06

    Choosing the Wrong Setting

    choosing a washer setting

    ​The Spruce / Ana Cadena 

    Learn the built-in settings on your washing machine and how to customize them for your clothing. It's true that much of our clothing can be washed on normal typesetting and come out perfect. If you are in the habit of washing all clothes on this same setting, learn to pull out clothes with special instructions that need to be washed alone or in small batches. You'll save your wardrobe and your washing machine a lot of trouble!

  • 03 of 06

    Using Extra Detergent

    pouring detergent into a bottle cap

    ​The Spruce / Ana Cadena 

    If your clothes are really dirty, it stands to reason that you'll need extra laundry detergent. Wrong! It's better to wash a load twice in a row with a normal amount of detergent than load up on extra detergent. Many machines have a prewash setting that can be used as well. Many of our newer washing machines are designed to be energy and water-efficient. Extra soap will not rinse away properly with the amount of water released. Instead, the water will remain in your clothing or wind up deposited on the interior of your washing machine which can gunk up the components of the unit.

  • 04 of 06

    Leaving Wet Clothes Inside

    letting wet clothes sit in the dryer

    ​The Spruce / Ana Cadena

    We all get distracted by other tasks while doing the laundry, but leaving a load of clothes to mildew and smell in the washing machine is bad for you, your clothes and your machine. Set a timer or reminder on your phone so that clothes get switched out on a regular basis to prevent a smelly, damaged load.

    Continue to 5 of 6 below.
  • 05 of 06

    Forgetting to Sort

    unsorted laundry

    ​The Spruce / Ana Cadena

    Forgetting to sort your laundry is one of the easiest ways to ruin a load or your machine. Unsorted laundry can cause colors to bleed, clothes to shrink, and unwanted pocket items are floating around during the washing cycle. Sorting will let you find that black permanent marker in a pocket before the lid comes off and marks up the whole load, including the washing machine drum and front window.  Check every front, back and inside pocket.

  • 06 of 06

    Leaving the Machine Unbalanced

    level on a washing machine

    ​The Spruce / Ana Cadena

    If your machine sounds a little unbalanced, you can fix it before the problem gets worse. Adjusting the machine on the bottom corners takes a few minutes and makes a big difference. An unbalanced load makes the washing machine work a lot harder than it should have to which can ultimately lead to wear and tear on the unit and its parts. You could end up with costly repairs later for something that only takes a little effort to fix right now. Refer to your manufacturer's website or the manual that came with your machine for guidance.