#1234: StopWash

Today’s invention is a washing machine which detects things other than clothes before these items get washed (and destroyed).

Each item of clothing has its barcode scanned before being inserted into the washing machine. The machine weighs each item by taking note of the weight on board before and after addition of each.

Later, when say a shirt is inserted, if the weight fails to match the recorded weight for that particular piece of clothing, a small alarm sounds to indicate the presence of your phone, loose change, pen, keys, calculator, passport, etc.


  1. I could see problems with nappy washes…the weight of the nappy before washing will usually exceed its dry weight.

    How about a machine that screens trouser pockets for paper hankies? That would be really useful.

  2. Hmmm. Good point. If you could be bothered to barcode nappies, they would be recognised as such and thus never cause a beep. I’d use disposables myself.

  3. A useful addition to any washing machine would be a small, integrated barcode printer. This would allow the user to label their own fabric items and to also enter additional data about a much-loved piece of clothing (eg this is a low-temperature, pale item). If this were placed in the machine set to do a hot wash, or having already loaded a heavily-coloured piece of material in the machine, an alarm would say -don’t do it.

  4. Sorry, it seems senility is setting in…I’ve begun to repeat myself:

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