Left Clothes In Washer Overnight? (here’s what you need to know)

Forgetting our laundry in the washing machine is one of the universal things many of us experience.

After all, when we’re all busy with work, friends, and family, chances are, chores like laundry tend to be put on the back burner until there’s really a need to do it.

This brings us to the question of what happens when we leave clothes in the washer overnight. Is it really that bad to do? And when it does happen, will you need to rewash your clothes again?

Is it okay to leave your laundry in the washing machine overnight?

Generally, it’s fine to leave clothes in the washing machine overnight.

However, it’s recommended by experts to avoid leaving them damp for over 12 hours, as this is the time when clothing will get mouldy or start smelling foul.

If you forget to transfer your clothes to the dryer and it has only been in the wash for 8 to 12 hours, there’s no need to rewash them. On the other hand, if they’ve been left there for more than a day, try doing a sniff test to check if there’s no bad odour emanating from your laundry.

clothes in washing machine

If they already have a bad smell, or if there are visible signs of mould or mildew growing on the fabric – now’s the time to rewash your clothing.

What’s the time limit for leaving your clothes in the washer?

To be safe, we recommend not leaving your garments in the washing machine for more than 24 hours.

As you may know, wearing clothing that already has bacteria will not only make you smell bad, but also irritate your skin. This is especially the case for people with sensitive skin conditions, as mould or mildew can cause rashes, stuffy nose, and other allergy symptoms [1].

NOTE: It’s always better to just spend your time rewashing your garments instead of having to suffer from the effects of wearing clothes with bacteria or fungi. If more than a day has passed since you left them in the washing machine, rewash them!

SEE ALSO: How Long Can You Leave Clothes In The Washer?

How to keep your clothes smelling fresh after leaving them in the wash

When you accidentally leave your fabrics in the washing machine, it’s normal to be concerned about the way they smell.

person smelling shirt

After all, it’s very likely that if they are smelling musty now, they’ll smell even worse once you wear them. This happens when the bacteria buildup that’s in the clothes gets mixed with your sweat and body oils.

To keep your clothes smelling fresh, add a cup of baking soda or vinegar to your normal washing cycle. Since they are disinfectants, these products are wonderful in keeping your laundry smelling fresh, even after leaving them damp for hours.

If you notice your garments still do not smell that great even after using quality detergent, you may have to clean your washing machine. After all, it’s possible that bacteria is growing inside the machine itself, especially if you always leave damp clothes inside.

Also, it’s worth trying to hang your clothes outdoors. Especially on a sunny day, the UV rays will work as a bacteria and fungi killer that’ll not only keep your garments smelling nice, but also disinfect them.

SEE ALSO: Best Clothes Drying Racks & Airers (Clothes Horses Reviewed)

Do you have tips to not forget clothing in the washing machine?

Do you use a timer to alert you that you finished your washing cycle?

Or do you follow a schedule to ensure that you won’t forget your damp clothing in the wash?

Feel free to share your tips below!

Frequently Asked Questions

What to do if you accidentally leave clothes in the washer overnight?

If it has only been less than 12 hours and there’s still no bad smell on your garments, you can proceed with putting them in your tumble dryer or hanging them outdoors. Otherwise, if it has been more than 12 hours and they’re already smelling foul, it’s time to wash the clothes again.

How long does it take for wet clothes to mildew?

According to experts, wet clothes will start to mildew or grow mould after a day of being constantly riddled with moisture.

Can you remove mildew from your clothes?

Yes, you can remove mildew from your clothes in several ways, such as washing them on a hot cycle, using a strong detergent, or adding a cup of white vinegar. Make sure to check your clothing’s care labels to avoid ruining them.

What temperature kills mildew on clothes?

Experts recommend using the hottest setting on the washer, which is usually around 60 degrees Celsius to kill mildew on your clothing.

How many times should you wash mouldy clothes?

Two full cycles in the washing machine in the hottest setting is usually enough when washing mouldy clothes. However, you should still check if all of the mould has been removed. If there are still traces on the garment, you’ll need to wash them again.

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