A few years ago, I washed my son's jeans that were in the laundry basket. His ipod was in the jeans pocket. It was ruined. The rice trick didn't work. He was mad, but at himself. I think he was a little bit mad at me, too, but he knew better than to suggest it was somehow my fault. He used his saved gift money to replace it. He learned a lesson about taking care of his personal property and has not since lost or ruined an ipod or phone.
A couple of years ago, I washed a load of light colored laundry in which a red ink pen was pocketed. The pen successfully survived the washing machine, but exploded in the heat of the dryer. There were red ink smudges on every single article of clothing in the load. Given the size of our washer, a ginormous super sized front loader, you can imagine how many clothes were ruined. Many of the articles of clothing were uniform khakis and oxfords. Blouses and skirts. A couple of Mike's dress shirts. I tried a few suggested methods that were claimed to be fool proof for removing ink stains. They didn't work. I lodged a complaint to the family. I already spend a ton of time on laundry, I don't want to add time to that by checking every pocket. Please, I asked, check your pockets! Out of paranoia, I patted down the laundry for quite some time after that.
I have accidentally washed a couple of Nintendo DS game cartridges.
About a week ago, I washed a load of Mike's laundry. I now wash our clothes separately from the kids' clothes. They help fold and put away the clean laundry now, so it helps to keep theirs and ours apart. When the washer was finished and I pulled the clothes out, there was a wad of paper all stuck together. It was some sort of small notepad. I took it to Mike, apologetically. It turns out it was a very expensive section of psychological testing material. He was pretty unhappy about that.
Last night I washed a load of school uniform clothes. I grabbed all of the school jackets as well because they are navy blue and we have two cats and a dog and they need at least a weekly washing. I patted down the clothes quickly and determined them to be ink pen free. Before going to bed, I tossed the load into the dryer. This morning when I got up, I went downstairs to fold the clothes before the kids woke up so that their uniforms would be ready to go. There was a huge mess in the dryer, as a bag of Famous Amos chocolate chip cookies had melted and there were chocolate smudges on every article of clothing. I shouted a few choice words, then shoved them all back in the washer with a cupful of vinegar along with the detergent. They all came clean and were dry in time for the jackets to be worn to school. It turns out Dominic had a bag of cookies in his jacket pocket, so I couldn't really get angry at him since he didn't know I was going to be washing the jackets.
I just pulled a load of clothes out of the washer and found a mechanical pencil. It turns out that the learning curve is kind of low, here.