How to Safely Wash Bulky Items in Your Home Washing Machine

We all know how much we depend on our washers and dryers, but did you know that proper care and operation of your washing machine is paramount for its longevity and performance? The biggest (pun intended) problem for your washer is bulky items. Whether it’s that cozy blanket your go-to oversized jacket, or a sleeping bag for camping, large loads pose a washing dilemma. Can your machine handle it without risking damage? Let’s delve into the how-to’s of washing bulky items and the potential hazards of getting it wrong.

Typical Bulky Items to Remember

Before diving into the specifics, it’s essential to recognize what counts as ‘bulky’. Some common bulky items include:

  • Bed Comforters
  • Pillows
  • Shower Curtains
  • Heavy winter coats
  • Dog beds
  • Large plush toys

Generally, an item is considered bulky if it fits into one of two categories: it’s much larger than a typical clothing item or its awkwardly shaped such that it overloads one side of the washing machine.

The Potential Damage of Unbalanced Loads

One of the most common symptoms of a washer that’s not operating well with a bulky item is a thumping or banging noise. This is caused by the spin basket hitting the outer drum when it’s spinning. But it’s not just about the noise. An unbalanced washer can lead to:

  • Damage to the washer’s drum.
  • Misalignment of internal components – believe it or not, one bad load can ruin a washer.
  • Premature wear and tear, especially to the shocks or springs, reducing the washer’s lifespan.
  • Inefficient energy usage due to the machine working harder.
  • Inability to complete a cycle because the washer senses that it’s off balance and stops.
  • Poor washing as smaller items may be blocked from proper washing, rinsing, or drying

Understanding Your Washer’s Bulky Cycle

Most modern washing machines come equipped with a ‘Bulky’ cycle. This is specifically tailored for items that have significant volume, even if they’re not weighty. Always opt for this cycle when washing comforters, heavy coats, sheets, and other bulky items. The right cycle helps achieve both a thorough wash and protects your appliance from unnecessary strain, but it’s not perfect. You still need to do your part to keep your load within the capabilities of the machine. Keep reading…

Balancing is Key

If you’ve experienced that jarring thud and lurch from your washing machine, you know what an imbalanced load feels like. To avoid these unsettling moments and the damage they can cause:

  • Even Distribution: Ensure oversized items are evenly spread out in the washer basket. They shouldn’t stand taller than the top row of holes on the basket. And no, you can’t cheat by cramming the clothes down either!
  • Mind the Middle: Many washing machines have an “agitator tower” in the center, while others use an agitator plate at the bottom. Clothes should be loaded loosely and spread evenly around the drum and should never cover the top of an agitator tower.
  • The Lone Item Challenge: Washing just one bulky item can be a risk. If you only have one bulky item to wash, throw in some towels or smaller items to balance the load. It helps in distributing the weight, ensuring smoother spins.

Treating your washing machine with care by ensuring correct loading and operation extends its lifespan and ensures your bulky items come out clean and fresh. Always refer to your specific machine’s guidelines for best results. With the right techniques, your washer will remain a trusty companion, making laundry day a breeze for years to come.

And for any washing machine service needs, call a professional appliance repair service like Appliance Professional to diagnose the issue and provide an accurate quote for repair. We’re here to help and ensure your appliances are always in top shape!