As this autumn is just flying by, we’ll all have to break out our winter gear soon, if not already.  For one woman in China it was time to buy a new winter coat to cope with the lowering temperatures.

Little did she know, that new fluffy down jacket was a ticking time bomb that went off right inside of her home washing machine.

The incident occurred in Hangzhou city, after Ms. Zhou purchased a new down jacket.  Before wearing it she thought she would break it in by giving it a wash in her machine.  So she stuffed the puffy coat into the machine and started the first cycle.

While she was doing work elsewhere in the house she heard an intense single “bang” echo throughout the rooms.  Surprised and worried she headed directly for the source of the sound, her washing machine.

She opened the lid to find her brand new jacket all shredded up, and a hole was blown into the plastic tub of the washing machine. The whole incident confused Ms. Zhou, as well as everyone who read about it on the internet, the question on everyone’s mind being: “Was it the machine or the jacket that did it?”

According to experts in the textile industry, it was a combination of both:  the explosion had been caused by the expansion of trapped air.

“Down jackets are usually water-proof, thus not very breathable. When the jacket is soaked in water, all the feathers clump together and leave a lot of empty space. And so, subjected to the high speeds of the spin cycle, the jacket expanded inside the tank. With no space left, it exploded.”

Some other textile experts have suggested that static electricity generated by the friction of the down caused by the washing as a possible trigger for the explosion.

It’s important to note that cases of exploding washing machines are not limited to down jackets.  Any piece of clothing with low breathability is subject to going pop when machine washed. In fact, these incidents have happened several times across China.

So as you’re dusting off your winter clothing, before you throw it in the machine be sure to check the instructions on the label.

Source: ZOL, Gongchang (China)

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