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What Can You Put in the Washing Machine?

Some things won’t be able to handle the wash -- pay close attention to what you’re tossing in the machine.

Watch What You Wash

The last thing you want is a ruined piece of clothing after a recent wash cycle. Be sure to watch what you throw in the wash, so you can throw your clothes in your drawers instead of the trash.

Check the tags on your clothes and other washable items for washing instructions. Here’s a rundown of what and what not to put in your washing machine.

What to Wash

Most clothes, sheets, and towels can be put in your washing machine. However, you may want to separate your different loads to alleviate stress on your machine and to prevent materials and colors from blending with one another.

What Not to Wash

Unless your washing machine has designated settings for certain items, here’s a list of items you’ll want to hand wash or send to your local dry cleaners:

  • Lace items

  • Suits

  • Ties

  • Clothes made of wool, velvet, or cashmere

  • Memory foam pillows

  • Swimsuits

Can I Wash My Shoes?

Before you throw a pair of shoes in the washer, make sure they’re safe to wash. Canvas or athletic shoes made of materials like cotton, polyester, and nylon should be washer-safe, while shoes of other materials like leather, silk, rubber, suede, and vinyl are not.

If your shoes have additional embellishments like beads, sequins, or embroidery, bring them to a nearby shoe repair store to have them cleaned.

If you’re washing shoes, run your machine on a delicate, cold water, and gentle or no-spin setting. If you’re still skeptical, some shoe brands may provide washing instructions (take a look inside the tongue or instep before starting the cycle).

Careful With Colors

Ever had your whites turn pink after a wash cycle? One single red sock can ruin an entire load of clothes. So be sure to wash your whites and colors separately. The combination of detergent and warm water can bring out colors from certain clothes and redistribute them to others if you’re not careful.

Empty Your Pockets

As convenient as pockets are, what you put them should be kept away from your washer. Empty your pockets before washing them. Little things like keys, coins, pens, chapstick, and headphones can get stuck or leave scratches inside your machine, stain the clothes in your load, and be ruined through the agitation of the washing cycle.

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