Your washing machine is a household essential that many Brits can't live without - in fact, 97% of British homes have one.

Did you know when a washing machine is installed properly it can last up to 12 years? 

Since the average cost of an A-rated washing machine is around £300, it's not something that you would want to replace regularly.

That being said when you are not cleaning and maintaining your washing machine regularly, problems can develop fast.

To help you make the most of it and make sure you're not shortening its lifespan prematurely, RGBDirect has rounded up five items that should never touch your washing machine.

Items that can ruin a washing machine


While some shoes may seem durable, washing them in the machine can cause damage to both the shoes and the machine.

The tumbling action can scratch the washing machine's drum, and the shoes themselves may lose their shape or cause imbalances, potentially leading to loud vibrations during the spin cycle.

(Tip: Instead, it's best to clean shoes by hand or using a soft brush and mild detergent.)


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Backpacks or bags with metal parts

Washing backpacks or bags with metal zippers, buckles, or other hardware can damage the washing machine's drum and also harm the items inside.

The metal parts can scratch the machine's interior, and the weight of the bag may cause balance issues.

(Tip: Spot cleaning or using a damp cloth is a safer option.)

Stuffed animals with batteries or electronic components

Many stuffed animals today come with electronic components, such as sound or motion sensors, which can be damaged by water. 

(Tip: If you need to clean a stuffed animal, spot cleaning or using a damp cloth is a safer option.)

Hampshire Chronicle: Appliance experts at RGBDirect have given their advice on things you should never put in the dishwasher to extend its lifespan! ( Getty Images)Appliance experts at RGBDirect have given their advice on things you should never put in the dishwasher to extend its lifespan! ( Getty Images) (Image: Getty Images)

Pet beds with loose filling

Pet beds that have loose filling like foam beads or shredded foam should not be washed in a machine.

The filling can clump together, causing imbalances and potentially damaging the washing machine's motor.

Additionally, pet hair and fur can clog the machine's filter and drainage system. 

(Tip: Opt for spot cleaning or follow the care instructions provided by the pet bed manufacturer.)

Waterproof or water-resistant items

Items like raincoats, waterproof jackets, or water-resistant outdoor gear often have special coatings that can be damaged by washing machine detergent and agitation.

Using the washing machine may strip off the waterproofing, rendering the item less effective in repelling water. 

(Tip: It's best to follow the manufacturer's instructions for cleaning such items, which usually involve hand washing or using specialised cleaning products.)

RBGDirect also advises that you should avoid putting these items in the washing machine since it can actually do the opposite and affect the items instead.

The advice follows RGBDirect's guidance on the things that should never touch your Air Fryer or Dishwasher.

Hampshire Chronicle: These are the items you should never put in a washing machine. ( Getty Images)These are the items you should never put in a washing machine. ( Getty Images) (Image: Getty Images)

What items should I not put in the washing machine?

Delicate fabrics

Items made of delicate fabrics such as silk, lace, or cashmere should not be washed in the machine.

The agitation and high-speed spinning in the washer can cause these fabrics to tear, stretch, or lose their shape.

Leather or suede

Leather and suede items, like jackets, shoes, or handbags, should never be washed in a washing machine.

The water and detergent can damage the natural oils in the leather, leading to cracking, discolouration, and irreparable damage.


Putting shoes in the washing machine can damage their structure, adhesives, and cushioning. Instead, clean shoes by hand using a soft brush, mild soap, and water.

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Electronics or gadgets

Never wash electronics or gadgets in the washing machine, even if they get dirty.

Water and electronic components don't mix well and can cause irreparable damage to your devices.

Stuffed animals with batteries

Plush toys that contain batteries or electronic components, such as those that play music or have blinking lights, should not be washed in the machine.

Always check the care label and consider spot cleaning or hand washing these toys if needed.