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How to Find and Retrieve Lost Items in Your Washing Machine

Devastated by an epidemic of unpaired socks and random items? Well, don’t give up. You may still be able to find their mates. After all, there are a number of practical reasons why people lose their items on laundry days.

Maybe they fell under the furniture or behind the stove, separated from the brace, vanished into discolored clothes, and fell off the clothesline. Or, they could be just taking refuge at the back of your top-loading washing machine, long after the cycle is over.

So how do you find lost items in the washing machine? To answer this question, we’ve shared great tips on how your items got lost and where you can find them. Try these steps to retrieve lost items in your washing machine.

How To Find Lost Items In Top Loading Washing Machine

Lost Items in Your Washing Machine

Check the Drum

First, ensure the machine is turned off and preferably empty. Then shine a torch or flashlight into the drum to potentially find the items hiding at the back. Carefully turn the inner drum and check tiny perforations for small items.

Spin the drum and inspect for resistance, then slowly pry the rubber seal to create a gap between the seal and the inner metal drum rim. Spin the drum while keeping a gap to check for items lost between the outer and inner drum.

Use a flexible, thin item like a wire pipe cleaner or a cable tie to gently work around the outside of the inner drum in an attempt to feel any lost item.

Check the Heater

You will have to open the back panel of your washing machine to inspect the heater. The heater is often found in a small panel underneath the big drum motor. Pull the panel out to access the heater.

The panel looks like a metal tube folded on itself, similar to the inside of a radiator. Some items might be caught on the heater, such as socks and small pieces of clothing. You should also consider spinning the drum and using your torch to peek at the heater housing to check for items.

Put the heater back by sliding it into its place. Then push it firmly to ensure it is snug inside its bracket.

Inspect the Sump Hose

Perhaps this is the most difficult task on this list. To check the sump hose, you will need to lay your washing machine on its side to access the hose from the bottom of the appliance. You may want to get some help with this, if possible. After all, your lost sock isn’t really worth getting crushed over.

Remove the base plate of your washing machine. Then locate the sump hose, which should look like a slinky-esque hose that fits into the metal tub of the machine. Release clip where the hose is attached to the tub and shine your torch in. You should be looking at the underside of the drum.

Inspect carefully for any lost items and get them out through this opening. By shining your torch through the perforations on the inside of the machine’s drum, you might be able to see an object and push it through to the sump hose opening, getting hold of it.

How To Remove Stuck Items from the Washing machine?

Now that we’ve discussed the tips on how to find lost items in a top-loading washing machine, the next question is how to remove stuck objects from the machine.

Use Your Hands

You can grasp the sneaky sock at the back of your machine with your hands if the machine is off and empty and you’re not rapidly spinning the drum. It is also possible to pull a bra wire or other small item out of a perforation in the drum using your fingers, but this can be a bit tricky without a tool.

If there is some clothing stuck between the outer and inner drum, you can possibly pull them out using your fingers if the object is big enough. However, if the material is flimsy, you could end up tearing it and leaving half within the machine.

Use a Screwdriver

Being able to reach items that are trapped between the outer and inner drum requires more leverage. So, arm yourself with a screwdriver and wedge the head upwards to gently pray a gap larger than someone could with hands alone.

Once the gap is bigger enough, it’ll be easier to carefully pull the items out with your pliers or fingers. You may also consider using wires to catch chains or fabric loops.

After getting the items out, rotate the drum and make sure that there’s an even gap between the seal and the drum. In case the gap appears uneven, use a wooden mallet to knock the drum back into its right position. You don’t want to be left with a gap big enough for your items to sink into.

Use Pliers

Lost Items in Your Washing Machine

Note that some items such as thin metal chains tend to be too slippery to grab with fingers. If such items are stuck in your inner drum, grab a pair of pliers and use them to carefully pinch and work the objects out of the perforations.


Your top loading washing machine can be a crafty contraption that likes to swallow things and hide them in its strange compartments. As a result, you will need to inspect various areas for your missing items. Hopefully, these steps have helped you retrieve your incognito belongings.

While locating your lost items is only half the battle, you may want to shine a torch in the drum, and try removing the objects with your hands, pliers, or screwdriver.

If that doesn’t work and you can’t find objects in the washing machine, dismantling the drum may be necessary. The task is more complicated, therefore you may wish to call an expert.