10 common mistakes when putting the washing machine (and how to avoid them)

It doesn’t matter if your washing machine is front-loading, function-loading or with a drying function, there are errors that are very frequent when putting the washing machine on. From overloading it to leaving the laundry in it for several hours, discover the 10 most common mistakes (and that we all make) when doing laundry.

Spoiler : The number seven will cause you a lot of creepiness.

Putting in a washing machine can be a real headache for some, especially for those who are just starting out in the world of housework. And it is that what used to be wetting, lathering, rubbing and drying, now becomes a cluster of buttons with numbers and symbols that many times we do not know how to relate.

If in the end you end up with laundry that is very wrinkled, with traces of detergent or even a bad smell (a musty smell), something is wrong. And no, it is very rare that it is a technical failure, since it is most likely that you are making a mistake when putting the laundry. We show you 10 very frequent mistakes when putting the washing machine on , how to solve them and be 100% more efficient and practical in your home.

1. Do not classify clothes

It is common, either due to lack of time or ignorance, to put pot of fabrics in the washing machine . A widespread practice that all it does is mistreat and age your delicate garments faster. For example, if you notice that your “delicate” sweaters, pants or coats have acquired fluff and pellets it is from rubbing and friction with harder or “strong” garments. Of course, the appearance of fluff and pellets can also be due to the quality of the fabric, but even in this type of garment it is essential to know how they are washed, at what temperature and with what type of garments.

Aside from sorting, don’t ignore the laundry labels on the garment . They are not there by chance but to tell you exactly how to wash, dry and iron the item in question.

Frequent mistakes when putting the washing machine and how to avoid them* Knowing the washing programs is essential for a good laundry.

2. Wash clothes without treating stains

Due to carelessness or accident, some garments can be stained with products that are difficult to remove. A clear example is mud, iodine or grease stains. These types of stains should be treated before putting them in the washing machine.

Although the most difficult are the yellow stains that appear on white clothing . A good idea is to use white vinegar or baking soda to remove yellow, blood, or mud stains.

Frequent mistakes when putting the washing machine* A good trick to remove stubborn stains is to add a squirt of vinegar or baking soda along with the detergent.

3. Overloading the washing machine

This is a very frequent point of debate. On the one hand, there is a tendency to think that the more clothes that are put into a wash, the more electricity will be saved. And, on the contrary, there are those who think that washing 4 or 5 garments, in a long wash cycle and high temperatures, the clothes will come out cleaner. And yes, it will but you will also have thrown money down the drain. They are two very common mistakes to avoid.

Washers are rated by the maximum weight they can hold in one wash. There are those that support 7, 8, 9 and even 10 kilos. Knowing the load capacity is essential to know how much clothes to put in each laundry and to obtain more than optimal washing results. But how to know or calculate the weight of clothes for the washing machine?

The weight of a garment will depend a lot on the type of fabric and its manufacture. To get an idea there are the following weights:

  • Cotton sheets: Between 650 and 750 grams each.
  • Small bath towels: Between 200 and 250 grams each.
  • Large bath towel: Between 650 and 800 grams each.
  • A cotton t-shirt: Between 100 and 130 grams.
  • Cotton + synthetic T-shirt: Between 200 and 250 grams.
  • Jeans: Up to 700 grams.
  • Socks: it depends a lot on the type, but they usually weigh about 40-50 grams.

In general it is very difficult to overload a washing machine, although if it is done it consumes more energy, the clothes are washed worse and it will be necessary to resort to a second wash to obtain better results.

Frequent mistakes when using the washing machine and how to avoid them* It is recommended not to overload the washing machine or fill the drum to the top.

4. Add the wrong amount of detergent

Have your clothes ever come out with traces of detergent? You may have added too much detergent, poured it into the wrong drawer, or put too much laundry in the drum. Powder and liquid detergents come with their own meters, so it’s easy to add the correct amount needed for one laundry.

And for those who have just started in the wonderful world of laundry, where does the detergent go in the washing machine?

  • If you see an “I” symbol it means that the pre-wash detergent is poured there.
  • If you see a symbol in the shape of “II”, it indicates that the washing detergent is poured there.
  • If you see the symbol of a triangle, it indicates that the bleach is poured there.
  • If you see a symbol of a flower or asterisk (*), the fabric softener is added there.


You should also bear in mind that certain fabrics do not need any type of softeners. For example, sports garments, garments made with cotton or the like, are best preserved by washing them only with water and detergent. If you want to add that extra softness or prevent fluff, you can add a ¼ cup of white vinegar .

Frequent mistakes when using the washing machine* Each detergent contains a specific meter to add the correct amount of detergent.

5. Abusing bleach

A recommendation provided by the Organization of Consumers and Users (OCU) is not to abuse bleach, since for some fabrics it is too aggressive. Prolonged use could deteriorate and discolor your garments.

It is recommended to use bleach on white laundry or treat the garment with bleach separately before putting it in the washing machine. If you are looking to remove stains from colored clothing, opt for a splash of liquid ammonia, which is also great for removing odors and grease from clothing.

6. Mix the lingerie with the rest of the laundry

Lingerie should be washed separately or placed on a small mesh. With this simple action we prevent any sock, wonderbra or intimate clothing from disappearing or entering any conduit of the washing machine.

Where do you put the detergent in the washing machine?* The washer drawer can be removed for cleaning.

7. Never clean the washing machine

Bad odor, excess moisture, and even mold build up in a dirty washing machine . At least once a month it is very necessary to clean the drain filters, the rubbers and the detergent boxes of the washing machine .

We also recommend leaving the door of the washing machine open, so that the air can flow through it. With this simple action you will prevent moisture and a bad smell from being generated inside and in your laundry.

How to clean the washing machine* If the washing machine is not cleaned, it will cause mold stains.

8. Always use short programs

The short wash cycles, with cold water and with or without spinning, are suitable for lightly soiled laundry. As much as you try to save by washing with short cycles, it is not optimal for regular laundry. In addition, there are garments that tend to get more dirty, such as children’s or athletes’ clothing.

In this case, the best thing is to know what we are washing, how much quantity and to see which wash cycle is the most suitable .

9. Abusing the spin

Another frequent failure when setting the washing machine is using the centrifuge excessively or setting it at very high revolutions . High speed spinning is only recommended for cotton or polyester garments.

Never use spinning on delicate items such as silk shirts, linen, artificial silk or any polyamide fabric. If you do, you risk breaking them, stretching them, wrinkling them and mistreating them in general. This type of fabric is best washed by hand, with cold water and avoid twisting the fibers that compose it excessively.

10. Do not dry clothes after washing

Why do clothes smell bad? If after drying and ironing your clothes, you notice an unpleasant smell, it is because it has remained damp and messy for longer than it should. This is one of the most common mistakes when doing laundry: leaving clothes in the washing machine for hours, even days . Never, for any reason, allow your clothes to spend hours in a washing machine after washing. With this action you are generating mold in your clothes and humidity in your washing machine.

What do I do if my clothes smell bad? It is very simple, if it has happened to you in a basin or bucket, pour a generous amount of warm or hot water and pour two cups of white vinegar. Let it soak for 2 hours and then wash your clothes as you normally do. White vinegar is a magical product to remove stinks from clothes and the toughest stains.

And, if your washing machine smells bad , program a long wash cycle with hot water (60ºC) and a good jet of liquid ammonia.

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