We all, without exception, have done it. Whether it's just a five pound note or a forgotten biro, we've all put something we shouldn't through the washing machine.

Money rendered useless or a big blob of ink soaked into all your work shirts is certainly bad news. But this is nothing when compared to forgetting you had that essential bit of electronic wizardry in your trouser pocket.

Because PC Format is a magazine without fear, it decided to brave territory all others dare not venture near, and put a great big pile of gadgets through the wash.

In the interests of scientific accuracy, each was put in a trouser pocket at the start of the cycle, although were not necessarily still there by the end of the second spin. What would survive, and more importantly, what would perish?

Test one: Competition Pro Gamepad

Okay, perhaps this is the least likely object to be realistically forgotten in a pocket, but it's important not to rule out sabotage from family members jealous of your gaming prowess.

Gamepad

By far it was the most waterlogged and that it still works at all seems slightly miraculous. Buttons 1 and 2 are a little intermittent, but the shoulder buttons and D-pad are completely fine! Officially slightly okay.
STATUS: ALIVE

Test two: Pentium III processor

If you walk around with this in your pocket you've already got more problems than we can help solve. You'd be putting your precious trouser-contents in terrible danger.

Processor

Emerging from the machine, other than a few nicks it looks completely fine. The trousers, however, less so. The evil thing tore threads from the pocket. But if you think we're going to risk a motherboard by plugging a soaked processor into it, then you're out of luck. Officially not that stupid.
STATUS: UNKNOWN

Test three: Transcend MP3 Player

We had high hopes for this one. Especially one this tiny and cute. It is cute no more. Despite our best efforts to turn it on post wash, it lay blank and dead. Until a last-moment whim had us plug it into the PC's USB.

MP3

Like an electronic Lazarus, it was alive! Excited, we copied across Sonic Youth's song Washing Machine, and pressed Play. At which point it went mad, cycling through menus at random and then switching itself off. Officially deranged.
STATUS: MYSTERIOUS

Test four: Optomo USB flash drive

By far the most likely to find its way into your laundry, these pesky buggers are easily forgotten in the bottom of a pocket, or the pocket on a bottom. But we've good news: wash away!

Flash

Remarkably, there's not a hint of harm. After a quick shake to remove droplets, it worked perfectly. All the data stored before the wash still remains, and is completely accessible. When washing your jump drives, we recommend 40° for colour-fast cottons. Officially survived.
STATUS: ALIVE