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How to Get Paper or Tissue Out of the Washing Machine and Your Clothes

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wet clothing completely covered in paper pieces in the washing machine.
Pretty sure there’s a horror movie somewhere like this. “Clean” load of laundry covered in paper in the washer.

Suddenly find yourself with a load of clothes COVERED with paper or tissue? That’s what happened to me- here’s how to clean your washer and your clothing.

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Every time I get a new washing machine, they’re never fails to be some extraordinary mess within a month of purchase. Last time was an epic poop storm where somebody left dirty underwear from a potty training child on the floor of the bathroom.

It ended up going all the way through to the dryer before I caught it. So if you ever need tips on cleaning poop out of your dryer, I have a blog post on that. BTW- Try to avoid this. It’s not awesome.

Of course we moved and acquired an older washing machine and dryer. When I went to update my laundry room, we bought newer machines. And within a month, somebody’s Lego manual went through the wash with his clothing. 


If you’ve ever had tissue go through your washing machine, you probably understand the mess that paper products create. They’re icky and they’re wet and stuck to your clothing.

In this case, multiply that mess by like a million. There was so much paper!

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So here’s how I went about cleaning it out of my brand. new. washing. machine. 

Step 1: Remove large chunks of paper.

Simply stick your hand in there and remove any large pieces of paper that you can grab. Dispose.

Removing large chunks of paper from washing machine.

Step 2: Hold each piece of clothing over the washing machine and shake out as much paper as you can. 

Honestly it’s wet so it’s going to be really hard to shake it off. You can always shake it outside too. 

Shaking off the clothes outside to get paper off if possible.

Step 3: Move your clothing into the dryer, making sure your lint trap is clean. 

Paper covered clothing in the dryer.

Turn heat on low or medium. WATCH CLOSELY. You want to check the lint trap every five-ten minutes and clean it out. It builds up really fast otherwise and you don’t want to start a fire.

If you didn’t have quite so much paper go through the laundry the lint build up might not be so bad, but I emptied the lint trap around FIVE or SIX times and it was FULL each time.

It didn’t look like there was THAT much paper on the clothes but apparently there was.

As you can see below, this was one of the later cleanings of the lint trap and it’s absolutely COVERED (and thick).

Tons of paper and lint built up from paper on clothing.

Step 4: While your dryer is running, take a vacuum and clean out your washing machine as well as you can.

If you wait for the paper to fully dry for a while (door open) then it’ll be sucked up faster and easier.

Vacuuming loose paper out of the washer.

Step 5: Use a wet cloth or paper towel to wipe down the inside of your machine

You might need to really scrub at some areas to dislodge sticky paper.

Wiping down the inside of the washing machine with a wet towel.

Step 6: Run your machine through a clean cycle.

This may be a bit “extra,” but if you want to make it extra shiny and clean, run it through a clean cycle now. I skipped this- it’s paper, not poop.

Step 7: Remove clothing from dryer once the lint trap stops coming up full (and once your clothes are dry).

Once your lint trap comes up mostly empty from the dry cycle on the clothing, hopefully your clothes are now looking fresh.

You can either put the clothes through the washing machine and dryer again to get them more clean, or if they look good, go ahead and put them away. These clothes seemed to be good enough so away they went!

And there we have it.

We’re renovating the laundry room now and it’s AMAZING (it has a dog feeding station!) so stay tuned for the post and pictures about that. You can follow my DIY projects if you subscribe by email.

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how to clean wet paper out of the wash!

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Sunday 10th of September 2023

Thank you I needed this


Tuesday 19th of July 2022

I am so grateful that I stumbled across your website. It is around 2 in the morning and I went to check my laundry and lo and behold... I had washed a BOOK. There was paper EVERYWHERE!!! I had enough confetti to throw a parade.

If it wasn't for you I would probably still be on my knees, sobbing, uncontrollably. Thank you, thank you, THANK YOU! You saved my life & my sanity. Thanks again.

P.S. Not only was my washer new but so was the book I washed. I just bought it last week from Amazon. I guess I'll stick with Kindle from now on!


Thursday 16th of February 2023

@Alesha, I just did this yesterday. Were you able to get all the bits of paper off your clothes? Some of mine are such a mess!