Experts say this common laundry mistake could be damaging your washing machine

Washing machine
Washing machine (Image credit: Shutterstock)

If you have a pile of laundry to get through, we all want to tackle this chore as quickly as possible. And while throwing clothes and items into the washing machine might seem easy to do, experts say you could be making this common laundry mistake.

In fact, this mistake could slowly damage your washing machine or shorten its lifespan. I've been writing about the mistakes that could be damaging your washing machine for years, but when I heard from laundry experts about this washing machine no-go, I realised I'd been doing my laundry wrong this whole time. Making this mistake probably won't kill your machine, but it could shorten its lifespan and lead to expensive repairs to even replacing with another one of the best washing machines altogether.

So, if you want to get the most out of your machine, avoid this costly, laundry mistake that you’re probably making.

Washing towels and bed linen together 

Removing white bedding from washing machine

Removing white bedding from washing machine (Image credit: Shutterstock)

Grouping dirty towels or bedsheets together is a common habit, with many believing that it might save time or water consumption. However, experts strongly advise against this, and suggest washing these items separately. 

Firstly, these items have different thickness, materials and weights. Not only does  the thickness of the towels potentially damage your bedding, but can slowly damage your washing machine drum. “If, like many of us, you group dirty towels, sheets and duvet covers into one washing load, you might be causing unnecessary damage to your washing machine,” states Matt Ayres, an appliance expert at RDO Kitchens & Appliances

“Once water is added during a wash, the weight of these items significantly increases, meaning you’re likely exceeding your machine’s recommended weight limit. Over time, loads that are too heavy can damage the bearings and drum shaft. 

Towels, sheets and duvet covers also form a single ball when washed together which can bounce around during a wash, causing damage to the drum and internal parts of the machine.”

 These can lead to long-term problems with your washing machine such as dealing with a shaky washing machine or one of the reasons your washing machine won’t spin

Quick Wash Setting

Quick Wash Setting (Image credit: Shutterstock)

In addition, towels and sheets tend to have different wash and dry cycles. So by separating your wash cycles into different loads based on their temperature setting and materials, this will ensure that both items are cleaned properly — without the risk of wear-and-tear. “When doing the laundry, it's crucial to consider the different needs of sheets and towels," agrees Vivien Fodor, Laundry Category Manager, at Indesit.

"Sheets typically require a gentler cycle and lower temperature to maintain their quality, especially those made from natural fibres. Whereas towels need higher temperatures and stronger detergents to ensure they're thoroughly clean and free from bacteria. Separating them into different loads will not only preserve their appearance and feel, but also help maintain the efficiency and longevity of your washing machine.”

Towels are also prone to producing a lot of lint (especially new towels), which can often be a nightmare if it gets onto your freshly laundered bedsheets. 

For more top tips, here’s how to wash towels and keep them fluffy, and how often you should wash towels, according to experts. Plus, you can make white sheets brighter by simply using a few household items.  

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Cynthia Lawrence
Content Editor, Homes

As the Homes Content Editor, Cynthia Lawrence covers all things homes, interior decorating, and garden-related. She has a wealth of editorial experience testing the latest, ‘must-have’ home appliances, writing buying guides and the handy ‘how to’ features. 

Her work has been published in various titles including, T3, Top Ten Reviews, Ideal Home, Real Homes, Livingetc. and House Beautiful, amongst many.

With a rather unhealthy obsession for all things homes and interiors, she also has an interior design blog for style inspiration and savvy storage solutions (get rid of that clutter!). When she’s not testing cool products, she’ll be searching online for more decor ideas to spruce up her family home or looking for a great bargain!

  • buzzelectric
    I have a 1984 Kenmore washing machine. I have always washed my sheets together with my towels. I think the real problem is that the machines of today are all Chinese made junk.