Don't Let These Everyday Items Ruin Your Washing Machine

iStock
iStock

Washing machines have come a long way since the first electric model went on sale in 1907. That machine, dubbed “Thor” by the Hurley Electric Laundry Equipment Company, wasn’t exactly waterproof, which made for rather dangerous operation when plugged into a wall. More than a century later, these appliances automatically conserve water, dispense detergent at optimal times, and even wash delicate cycles in a separate drawer. Unfortunately, the durable machines can also be put out of commission with something as simple as a quarter.

As Reader’s Digest recently pointed out, consumers loading their washers often make mistakes that can result in substantial repair bills. The worst one? Not emptying pockets to remove loose change. James Peters, Kenmore's laundry product manager, told Reader's Digest that these tiny projectiles can harm washers in a number of ways. They can damage the drain pump or get stuck there, causing problems with water drainage; during high-speed spin cycles, they could also shatter the glass of a front-loading door. Peters advises to check pockets thoroughly before tossing anything inside.

Another washing hazard? Lingerie. The hooks and straps found in more delicate attire can latch on to other clothes, ripping the material or even damaging the drum of the machine.

You’ll also want to double-check that none of your clothes are hiding your car keys: The electronics in a key fob could be ruined when submerged in water, and the keys can easily scratch the interior. Running shoes are also questionable, as shrinkage can lead to a poor fit.

Tiny clothing like baby socks should be put into a mesh bag, so they don’t have an opportunity to get stuck in one of the machine's vents or hoses. Waterproof jackets are also a bad idea; it might seem contrary, but these items can trap water and explode during spin cycles, creating balancing issues and other damage.

Today's machines might seem like mechanical beasts, but a couple of pennies and a pair of baby mittens can be their undoing. Taking these precautions could save you a lot of grief—and a lot of money.

[h/t Reader’s Digest]

Wayfair’s Fourth of July Clearance Sale Takes Up to 60 Percent Off Grills and Outdoor Furniture

Wayfair/Weber
Wayfair/Weber

This Fourth of July, Wayfair is making sure you can turn your backyard into an oasis while keeping your bank account intact with a clearance sale that features savings of up to 60 percent on essentials like chairs, hammocks, games, and grills. Take a look at some of the highlights below.

Outdoor Furniture

Brisbane bench from Wayfair
Brisbane/Wayfair

- Jericho 9-Foot Market Umbrella $92 (Save 15 percent)
- Woodstock Patio Chairs (Set of Two) $310 (Save 54 percent)
- Brisbane Wooden Storage Bench $243 (Save 62 percent)
- Kordell Nine-Piece Rattan Sectional Seating Group with Cushions $1800 (Save 27 percent)
- Nelsonville 12-Piece Multiple Chairs Seating Group $1860 (Save 56 percent)
- Collingswood Three-Piece Seating Group with Cushions $410 (Save 33 percent)

Grills and Accessories

Dyna-Glo electric smoker.
Dyna-Glo/Wayfair

- Spirit® II E-310 Gas Grill $479 (Save 17 percent)
- Portable Three-Burner Propane Gas Grill $104 (Save 20 percent)
- Digital Bluetooth Electric Smoker $224 (Save 25 percent)
- Cuisinart Grilling Tool Set $38 (Save 5 percent)

Outdoor games

American flag cornhole game.
GoSports

- American Flag Cornhole Board $57 (Save 19 percent)
- Giant Four in a Row Game $30 (Save 6 percent)
- Giant Jenga Game $119 (Save 30 percent)

This article contains affiliate links to products selected by our editors. Mental Floss may receive a commission for purchases made through these links.

The Worst Drivers In America Live in These 15 States

Life of Pix, Pexels
Life of Pix, Pexels

No matter how many times you've been cut off on a road trip, anecdotal evidence alone can't prove that a certain state's drivers are worse than yours. For that, you need statistics. The personal finance company SmartAsset compiled data related to bad driving behaviors to create this list of the 15 states in America with the worst drivers.

This ranking is based on four metrics: the number of fatalities per 100 million miles driven in each state, DUI arrests per 1000 drivers, the percentage of uninsured drivers, and how often residents Google the terms “speeding ticket” or “traffic ticket.”

Mississippi ranks worst overall, with the second-highest number of fatalities and the second lowest percentage of insured drivers. This marked the third year in a row Mississippi claimed the bottom slot in SmartAsset's worst driver's list. This year, it's followed by Nevada in second place and Tennessee in third. You can check out the worst offenders in the country in the list below.

Some motorists may be more interested in avoiding the cities plagued by bad driving than the states. These two categories don't always align: Oregon, which didn't crack the top 10 states with the worst drivers, is home to Portland, the city with the worst drivers according to one quote comparison site. After reading through the list of states, compare it to the cities with the worst drivers in America here.

  1. Mississippi
  1. Nevada
  1. Tennessee
  1. Florida
  1. California
  1. Arizona
  1. South Carolina (Tie)
  1. Texas (Tie)
  1. New Mexico
  1. Alaska
  1. Louisiana
  1. Alabama
  1. Oregon
  1. Arkansas
  1. Colorado