7. Excess detergent
The more detergent, the cleaner the laundry, right? Not exactly. “Using too much detergent can damage your washer,” says Adkisson. “Detergent residue can build up in the washer—and on clothes—resulting in unpleasant odors in the machine, clothes that are not completely rinsed, and over time, machine components can fail.”
8. Waterproof clothing
Your clothes might be waterproof, but that doesn’t mean they’re compatible with your washing machine. “Washing something like a raincoat or mattress cover can create a condition where the material traps water over time like a water balloon filling up,” says Adkisson. “Then if it (the water balloon) suddenly ‘breaks’ during the spin cycle it then sends all that mass to other spaces, creating a severe unbalancing condition that can lead to the mysterious ‘exploding’ washing machine.”
9. Small clothing
Small clothing, like baby socks, can also get stuck in not-so-easy to reach places. According to HGTV, those small items can make their way into your washing machine’s vents and hoses. No one wants to deal with a flood—instead, wash those tiny items in a washable, mesh bag to make sure nothing escapes.
10. Running shoes
While sneakers are usually A-OK to run through the wash, trying to wash running shoes can end up being a pretty expensive mistake, especially if they end up shrinking. If you must wash your running shoes and their tag says they’re machine-safe, Livestrong suggests to remove the insoles and place each shoe in a separate pillowcase. Then, wash the shoes with bath towels to act as cushions.
11. Rubber-backed mats
Tossing a rubber-backed mat into your washer doesn’t do anyone any favors. In fact, according to James Peters, Kenmore Laundry Product Manager, “The rubber breaks down and can damage the pump if a large amount gets past the filter.” (By the way, here are some subtle ways your house could be making you sick without realizing it.)