Did you know that your washing machine has a lifespan of 10 years? With proper care and maintenance, you can push it to 15 years. This is by avoiding practices that can ruin a washing machine.

Several things can ruin your washer, including coins, keys, gum, diapers, and anything that can make it down the washer drain. Lingerie is another culprit, especially errant underwires that can cause damage to the inside of the washer.

We’ve listed the items that do the most damage to a washing machine. In addition, we’ll answer some common concerns about questionable items that make it inside washers.

7 Things That Ruin A Washing Machine

1. Undergarments

Although it might seem like a time saver, undergarments are a big no-no to washing machines. The metal lining can easily pop off, get twisted, and damage the drum of your washing machine. This could result in cosmetic or electrical damage, thus affecting the lifespan of your appliance.

It’s best to wash your undergarments by hand. However, if you have to use a machine, put them in a porous laundry bag.

2. Coins and Keys

Coins and keys will quickly damage your washer. They can damage the tub or even get to the small aperture affecting your motor or agitator and rendering the machine useless. To remedy this, you should check your pockets before putting clothes in your washer and ensure there are no keys, coins, or even pebbles.

3. Overloading Your Washing Machine

Every washer has a weight limit, which is the weight of the clothes when dry. Overloading or overpacking the unit might make the clothes fail to rotate. In turn, it will damage your tub and agitator as it will work harder than it should. Your clothes will also not get clean enough since they haven’t rotated as they should.

Always keep to the weight limit to prevent damage to your tub and agitator.

4. Keeping Clothes in the Tub Longer Than They Should

It’s vital to remove clothes from the washer immediately after washing them. Failure to do so might lead to a mold issue that could clog the drain, filters, or pipes. The mold can also extend to your clothes.

Emptying your machine immediately after you wash them is good practice. For a front load machine, always leave the door open after you are done to ensure it airs properly.

5. Failure to Empty the Lint Filter

If you do not have a newer self-cleaning machine, this is a problem you’re likely to deal with. Failure to clean your lint filter may lead to clogged pipes and a mold problem on your hands.

It’s ideal to empty your lint filter and wash it by soaking it in soapy water for about ten minutes. Then, use a brush and running water to ensure it is lint-free.

In the case of a self-cleaning machine, it’s best to run the unit without clothes and drain the water once or twice a month to get rid of any leftover lint.

6. Overworking Your Washing machine

Like any machine, overworking your washer will make its components wear and tear if they are constantly in use. Thus, it’s better to space your washes reasonably to elongate your machine’s lifespan.

7. Dish Soap

Dish soap, unlike laundry detergent, creates lots of foam. This foam might overflow and cause issues in the drain and pipes. In addition, you’ll end up wasting water cleaning up the laundry suds. The washer was never designed to handle the amount of suds and foam created by dish soap. Therefore, it’s good practice to use the recommended laundry detergents and not too much.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

1. Will a diaper ruin a washing machine?

Diapers will ruin your washer in many ways. Diapers are made with a very absorbent gel-like substance known as sodium polyacrylate. When a diaper ends up in a washing machine, the gel will swell, causing the diaper to explode all over the tub. This incident will most likely clog the washer’s drain and the pipes.

If you end up with an exploded diaper in the washer, start by picking the big gel particles. Then, add half a ¼ cup of salt and ½ cup of laundry detergent into the tub. Next, run an empty wash with as much water as possible. The salt breaks the gel into liquid since it breaks the attraction between the polymer chains and water. Enough water will help to wash the polymers down the drain.

2. Will dog hair ruin a washing machine?

Dog hairs will tangle as your machine is running, forming clumps. These clumps are not only a danger to your washer but your home drain as well.

Always ensure that you wipe out any visible dog hair in the tub before a wash. After this, check the lint filter for any remnants and clean it out.

3. Will paint ruin a washing machine?

Paint, even acrylic paint, will not ruin the functionality of a washing machine. However, it does adhere to the walls, ruining its aesthetics. In addition, if it’s not dry, it may cause damage to the clothes you wash.

Furthermore, clothes with an excess amount of thinner could be a fire hazard in the dryer. When washing clothes with paint, try to scrap off any leftover paint with a brush and soak the item in vinegar, alcohol, or soapy water.

4. Will tissue damage a washing machine?

Wet tissues can cause your machine to clog and damage your clothes. To safeguard your washer, you should first pick and pluck any large tissue particles in your washing machine. Secondly, make sure to empty and clean your lint filter. Finally, run a cleaning cycle and drain the water for any small bits of paper that may have been left.

Just in case you have bits of tissues in your clothes, first, shake the clothes. Then, soak them in water for two hours, rinse, and leave them to dry. If you still have tissues after the clothes dry, use a lint roller to remove them and rewash and dry them. It’s not the easiest job, but it’s got to be done.


Lots of items, when left unchecked, can ruin your washing machine. Hopefully, you can keep to good practices like checking your pockets, using the recommended amount of detergent, and spacing your washes. Now, you can enjoy using your washing machine to the end of its lifespan. Remember to service your washer as per the manufacturer’s recommendation, as it can extend the years you get out of it.

Good luck and happy washing!