2 Ways To Fend Off Washing Machine Damage

Posted on: 19 February 2015

When you are in the middle of your Saturday morning chores, nothing is more frustrating than a washing machine that calls it quits. To finish your laundry, you might find yourself hefting baskets of dirty clothes to your local laundromat or spending all evening at your in-law's house. However, you don't have to let a broken appliance ruin your weekend. Here are two ways to fend off washing machine damage:

1: Don't Overfill Your Washer

To whip through your laundry in a hurry, you might be tempted to wash as many clothes as you can at a time. Although it might seem like a logical option, overfilling your washing machine can destroy your system.

The more clothing you pack into your washing machine, the harder the motor will have to work to circulate and spin the items. In fact, since most fabric soaks in moisture, research has shown that laundry becomes about 50% heavier as it is washed. As your washer struggles to handle the weight of extra clothing, the motor can burn out. Believe it or not, if your washing machine is overfilled, smaller objects like socks could get sucked into drainage lines and cause flooding.

However, it isn't always easy to know when you are overfilling your machine. Here are a few things to remember the next time you do laundry:

  • Avoid Washing Large Objects: Large jackets, comforters, and tablecloths might not fit well in your washing machine. Instead of trying to cram those objects into your washer, take them to a dry cleaner. Professionals have access to large-scale laundering equipment, so you can get that comforter clean without damaging your appliance.
  • Think About Weight: To avoid overfilling your machine, remember that most small washers can handle about 6 pounds worth of laundry, and large capacity washing machines can take about 12-15 lbs. Since the average adult outfit weighs about 3-5 pounds, you could fit about 2 full outfits in a load if you have a small washer, or up to 5 if you have a large capacity washing machine. 

It might seem like a hassle to run to the dry cleaner or calculate the weight of your laundry, but it could save your washer.

2: Watch Out For Small Metal Objects

Since the steel lining of your washing machine looks indestructible, you probably don't worry too much about what you put inside of the basin. After all, how much damage could a few little toy cars do? Unfortunately, as your washing machine circulates your load, small metal objects can act as dangerous projectiles inside of your system.

If foreign objects get moving fast enough, they can create dents, cracks, or even holes inside of your washing machine drum. This damage could make your washer run improperly or lead to leaks. Here are some things you should look for as you fill your washing machine:

  • Coins: Before you wash those pants, take the time to empty out the pockets. In addition to making a lot of noise, coins can dent your washing machine drum.
  • Zippers: Zipper tabs can get stuck in the little holes surrounding your washer basin, which can impede the movement of clothes through a cycle and put strain on the motor. Zippers can even catch on the panel present in front-loading washers, causing the glass to shatter.
  • Bras With Underwires: Delicate objects like bras can become lodged beneath agitator poles. Unfortunately, loose metal underwires can catch inside of the basin and strain your system.  

To avoid problems, inspect each item before you toss it into your basin. Look for metal details such as chains and fasteners. Consider using a garment bag for bras or other delicate items to keep metal components from catching. If you are worried about how a garment could affect your washer, take the time to wash it by hand.  

Knowing how to care for your washer might help you to avoid frustrating hassles and unplanned expenses for appliance repair