Can You Put Muddy Clothes In The Washing Machine?

When it comes to dealing with an outdoorsy day in the mud, whether from playing sports, hiking, or gardening, you may be wondering how to deal with your muddy clothes. Can you even put them directly in the washer?

The answer is yes, you can, but with caution. Large clumps of mud can cause problems, as they can clog the washing machine’s drain, impair its performance, and even damage the appliance over time. Also, simply tossing muddy clothes into the machine without pre-treatment might not effectively remove all the dirt, leaving your garments less than perfectly clean. 

Hence, you can put muddy clothes in the washer as long as you remove the excess mud and pre-treat stains to protect both your machine and your garments

Let’s go into more detail in this article. 

Before You Wash – Preparation Is Key

Before you throw your muddy attire into the washing machine, consider these essential pre-washing steps to protect your machine and ensure your clothes come out as clean as possible:

Dry and Scrape Off Excess Mud

Before rushing to the washer, some prep work can make all the difference. Start by allowing the mud to dry, as it’s far easier to remove when it’s not wet. Hang the clothes outside to dry naturally. 

removing dried mud on shirt with a spoon

Once the mud has dried, shake off as much as possible then gently scrape away the remainder with a spoon, soft brush or a blunt knife. This step prevents your machine’s filter from clogging.

Rinse Clothes Under Cold Water

Rinsing your clothes under cold water can remove a lot of the remaining mud, especially in heavily soiled areas. 

Focus on heavily soiled areas, using your hands or even a soft brush to help loosen the dirt. Avoid using hot water as it can set the soil further into the fabric, making it more difficult to remove. 

TIP: If the mud stains aren’t budging, you can pre-soak your garments for a few hours or even overnight using cold water in a basin. This will soften the mud and make it easier to remove the next day. 

Pre-Treat Stains

If there are still mud stains on your garments, there’s no need to worry. You can always pre-treat using commercial stain removers, detergent, or even bicarbonate of soda. 

Baking Soda

When using a shop-bought stain remover, make sure to follow the instructions on the product for best results. Most would have to be applied directly on the stain, then left to sit for at least 30 minutes before rinsing off. 

TIP: Bleach can be used for pre-treatment, but only on white clothes. Make sure to read the care label of your garment to prevent damage. 

Washing Muddy Clothes – Ensuring A Deep Clean

Once you’ve pre-treated your muddy clothes, follow these tips when using the washing machine:

Use Heavy-Duty Detergent

For tackling tough mud stains, an enzyme-based, heavy-duty detergent is your best bet. These detergents are formulated to break down and lift away dirt more effectively. 

putting liquid detergent in compartment

Be mindful of the recommended amount; using too much or too little can affect the cleaning outcome. 

TIP: Wash muddy clothes separately. You wouldn’t want to spread bacteria or germs onto your other clothing. 

Select the Right Wash Cycle

Use a heavy-duty or sports wash cycle if your washing machine has one, as it’s designed to handle heavily soiled items. 

Sports Wash Cycle

These cycles use more water and a longer wash time to ensure thorough cleaning. Make sure to read your machine’s user manual if you’re still unfamiliar with its programmes. 

Choose the Correct Water Temperature

Warm water is generally more effective at cleaning mud and dirt. The best temperature for removing stains and disinfecting muddy clothing would be around 40 – 60°C. 

40 Degree Wash Cycle

However, make sure to read your garments’ care labels to see if they can handle hot temperatures. If your fabrics are delicate, you’ll have to stick to cold washes as hot temperatures can cause damage to your clothing. 

Inspect Your Garments After Washing

After washing, inspect the clothes for any lingering stains. If necessary, re-treat and wash again. This step ensures that no mud is left behind to potentially set in during drying.

person checking clothes in laundry basket

After Washing: Drying And Machine Care

After the wash cycle is complete, check the garments for any remaining mud or stains. 

If the stains still persist, treat them again with a stain remover and wash the items separately to avoid spreading the dirt.

If Possible, Air Dry

Once the clothes are clean, dry them according to the fabric care instructions. Avoid using high heat on heavily soiled clothes, as it can set stains that haven’t been completely removed.

Airing clothes to dry is much gentler for their fabrics. Also, it is a cost-effective alternative compared to using a tumble dryer. 

Clean Your Washer

Finally, don’t forget about your washing machine. Check and clean its lint filter to prevent buildup. Wipe down the drum and run a hot cycle with white vinegar to disinfect and ensure your washer is ready for its next load!

SEE ALSO: How To Clean A Washing Machine Like A Pro: Quick & Easy Guide

Muddy Clothes No More!

Putting muddy clothes in the washing machine is perfectly fine, as long as you take the necessary steps to prepare and wash them properly. 

By following these guidelines, you can ensure your muddy garments come out clean and fresh, while also protecting your washing machine from potential damage.

Remember, the key to effectively cleaning muddy clothes is patience!

Do you have questions? Ask away!

SEE ALSO: How To Remove Mud Stains From Clothing

Frequently Asked Questions

How do you wash clothes with mud on them?

To wash clothes with mud on them, you should scrape off excess mud first, rinse with cold water, pre-treat stains, and then wash in warm water using a heavy-duty detergent on a heavy-duty cycle.

Should muddy clothes be washed separately?

Yes, muddy clothes should be washed separately. This prevents the spread of bacteria or germs to other clothing items and ensures the mud does not transfer, keeping the rest of your laundry clean.

What temperature do I wash muddy clothes in?

Wash muddy clothes in warm water, ideally around 40 – 60°C, to effectively clean mud and dirt. However, always check the care labels on your garments to ensure they can handle warm temperatures. If the fabric is delicate, you may need to use cold water to avoid damage.

What clothes cannot be machine washed?

Clothes that cannot be machine washed typically include delicate fabrics like silk, wool, and certain blends that may shrink, stretch, or get damaged in the washing machine. Also, garments with embellishments, such as beading or sequins, and those with specific care instructions stating “hand wash only” or “dry clean only” should not be machine washed.

Can I put muddy shoes in the washing machine?

It’s not recommended to put muddy shoes in the washing machine as it can damage both the shoes and the appliance. Shoes, especially those with leather or specialty materials, can be ruined by the washing process. It’s best to clean muddy shoes by hand, following the manufacturer’s care instructions.

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