Expert reveals how long you can leave wet clothes in the washing machine.

It’s longer than you’d think!

Editor / March 09 2020

Ever put a load of washing on and completely forget about it? 

An expert reveals just how long you can leave a load of clothes wet in your washing machine without the need to re-wash it, and it’s much longer than you’d think!



A spokesperson for the Whirlpool Institute of Fabric Science has said that leaving an entire load of washing for a day is perfectly acceptable and won't have an impact on your wash.


The recommended maximum time to leave your washing is between eight and 12 hours, depending on what fabrics you are washing, and also the type of detergent you're using.

Leaving a load in your machine for up to 12 hours is totally fine according to experts.



Home expert Martha Stewart.

Home expert Martha Stewart.


Celebrity homemaker Martha Stewart agrees: "I would say that it's perfectly all right to leave it overnight," she told Today.

"I mean, don't leave it for a long time. Don’t leave it for a week. If you get up in the morning and throw it in the dryer, it should probably be OK."

There is also a tried and tested way of checking if your washing has been left unattended and wet for too long. Simply give it a quick sniff test.

Martha adds: “One way you can kind of tell is if it smells all right.

"That mould and that bacteria that starts to grow on damp clothes and environments, that's very pungent."



A professional washing machine repair man has shared his expert knowledge on Facebook, advising that your washing machine door should be left open after each wash.

He advises: “The first thing I tell people when I'm called out to a job is to start leaving the doors on their washing machines open when they're not using it.

"Keeping it closed for hours and days on end can cause all sorts of problems."

He also adds: "It's the mould and grime build-up, which is your biggest problem.

"A lot of people have to change the seal on their machines due to a scum and build-up and that can be largely avoided or prolonged by keeping the door open.

"Your big problem is warm water being trapped in there. If the door's closed, then bacteria and mould can breed and no-one wants that."

Watch: Mother shares video of filth in her washing machine


Michelle Connolly has worked as a photo director, social media manager and photo editor at some of Australia's biggest media companies, including New Idea. She is now editor of Practical Parenting and loving mum-of-two.

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