Should You Rewash Clothes Left In Washer? Here’s what you need to know
Forgot to get your clothes from the wash to the dryer?
No need to be too hard on yourself. As humans, we tend to forget stuff. One of the things that many of us overlook sometimes is our clothes in the washing machine.
Since laundry is a chore we can start doing and leave it be for a bit of time, it’s possible to forget to switch our clothes from the washer to the dryer, leaving them damp and musty.
When this happens, is it necessary to wash the garments again? Or is it okay to continue with getting them dry?
Do you need to rewash the laundry you left in the washing machine?
To answer the question of whether you need to rewash the clothes you left in the washer, experts say it depends on factors, mainly, how long did you leave them for, and whether they could still pass the sniff test.
To give you a more accurate solution, let’s go into the things you should check before putting your clothes into the dryer.
How long did you leave your clothing in the washer?
The most important thing to determine whether you’ll have to wash clothes again depends on how long they were left in the washing machine.
According to laundry professionals, it’s still acceptable to not rewash clothing if they have only been left in the washer for less than 12 hours. This information is based on the fact that damp items of clothing are highly susceptible to growing bacteria, mould, or mildew when they’ve been constantly wet for at least half a day.
When more than 12 hours have passed, it’s likely that your clothes may already have bacteria lingering in the washer. Usually, bacteria is the cause of why there’s a foul smell on your clothes, even if they are freshly laundered.
What about when you truly forgot your clothes or just did not get them from the wash for a longer time?
You left your clothes in the wash for 24 hours
If you left your clothing inside the washing machine and it still smells okay, it’s acceptable to proceed with the drying by airing them out or putting them in the tumble dryer.
However, as mentioned above, bacteria may already be growing on your fabrics which may cause a musty smell.
You left your clothes in the wash for days
If you left your clothes inside the machine for 2, 3, and even 4 days, it’s highly likely that it already smells bad.
We advise rewashing clothing at this time. Chances are, even if you may not smell it now, the bad odour may come out of your clothes once you’re already wearing them due to the combination of sweat you’ll produce.
You left your clothes in the wash for a week or more
If you forgot to take out your clothes in the wash for a week or two, we highly recommend rewashing them.
In this situation, not only will your clothing smell musty, but there’s also a chance that mould is already growing on the garments. You wouldn’t want to wear this clothing as it may irritate your skin or trigger various skin conditions such as eczema.
How bad/good do the clothes smell?
Ever taken a whiff of your clothes to see if you can still re-wear them? This is also known as a “sniff test.”
If you forgot to take your garments out the wash and they already smell stinky after just a couple of hours, this is a sign that you’ll need to wash them again. Of course, this may not just be because of mildew, but could also signify a problem in your washer.
Are there visible signs of mould growth or mildew?
When you often forget to take out your laundry in the wash, chances are there are already mould spores growing in it. This is because mould thrives in damp environments.
Check your garments for visible signs of mould or mildew. If there are already dirt-like patches or powdery spots on your clothes, this is an immediate sign to rewash them.
Tip: Mould and mildew are both fungi that can grow in your clothing. Mould usually appears in greenish, reddish, or black colour while mildew is often grey or white.
What should you do if the clothing smells bad?
If your clothing already smells bad after leaving them in the wash, no worries as there are still many ways to save them.
Aside from washing them as normal, check out the following tips to rescue your clothes and get rid of the smell:
Allow clothes to air dry
To get rid of the stink, allow the clothing to dry before attempting to rewash them. Air-drying clothes allows them to let go of the musty smell, especially if they are also exposed to the sun’s rays.
Start your rewashing cycle with some vinegar
Did you know that white vinegar is a great alternative to fabric conditioners?
Since it’s made with fewer chemicals and can still make clothing smell good, adding a dash of vinegar to your laundry cycle will leave your garments softer and fresh.
Clean your washer
Finally, another thing you can do to make your clothes smell great again after leaving them in the wash has to do with your machine.
A simple way to clean your washer is running a cycle of hot water and a cup of vinegar to kill the bacteria and mildew on its surface.
Nothing beats wearing clothes that smell fresh!
Just because you forgot your clothes in the wash, doesn’t automatically mean that you’ll have to wash them again.
However, if you left your clothing in the washing machine and they don’t smell as good as before, feel free to rewash them again.
After all, nobody wants to smell musty after supposedly wearing “clean” clothing!
Do you have tips to share to not forget garments in the wash? Comment them below!
Frequently Asked Questions
If unavoidable, it’s okay to leave clothes in the washing machine as long as it does not exceed 8 to 12 hours.
There’s no need to rewash clothes that have been wet by the rain, as long as they still smell fresh and have not been wet for days.
You can leave wet clothes in the washer for less than 12 hours before they’ll start to smell.
Yes, if clothes are damp for a long time, they’ll eventually grow mould.
It’s better to not wash your clothing twice in a row unless absolutely necessary, as it can age down its fabric much faster. If there are stains, spot-treating the area is recommended.