potentially expensive disasters!

To start with, check all pockets are empty.  Look for things like coins and keys, especially electronic car keys which are especially susceptible to water damage.

It also pays to do up zippers and make sure all buttons are undone and sleeves rolled down.  The agitation of a washing cycle can cause buttons to tear in their buttonholes, for instance.  To cut down on possible fading turn dark clothes, such as jeans, inside out.

Finally check care labels in case any items need special laundry treatment.

Distribute the clothing evenly and loosely in the machine and avoid overloading.  The largest load of laundry should not take up more than three quarters of the drum.  If using a top loader, do not load clothes above the agitator.

There are practical reasons for avoiding overloading.  Clothes packed in too tightly can become creased and may not be completely washed.  Too many garments mean less room for the water so again the quality of the cleaning may suffer.   

In addition consistent overloading can cost you money.  It may lead to damage to the machine’s frame or motor which can result in expensive repairs or replacement.

Finally, make sure you use the right amount of detergent.  Too much creates extra suds which can carry soil, dirt and bacteria high up into the tub and leave an unpleasant residue.  Also note that too much soap can make the rinse cycle less effective.