Have you ever washed clothes and left them in the washer or dryer, forgetting to remove them for several hours or even overnight? Don't worry, you are not alone. Many of us have wondered if the clothes then need a rewash, or if are they okay to dry out and put the episode behind us.
The main issue caused by leaving wet clothing in the washing machine or dryer is that the clothes will tend to smell. They may even develop mildew or mold that has to be washed away. This article will discuss how long it is safe to keep your washed clothes in the washer without the need to rewash them.
How Long Can You Leave Laundry in the Washer?
Research has indicated that the maximum length of time that you can leave your clothes in the washer is from 8 to 12 hours. This prevents the clothes from developing unpleasant odors or mildew. Even house expert Martha Stewart states that there are no adverse effects if the clothes are left overnight in the washer or dryer.
The best way to determine whether the clothes are okay is to smell them. If the clothes do not have an unpleasant odor, they are fine to put out to dry. It is recommended to dry them outdoors rather than use a dryer – heat and sunlight can dry the clothes more effectively and destroy bacteria, as compared to using a dryer.
Other factors that impact how long you can leave damp clothes in the washing machine include the temperature of the water during the wash, the type of detergent used, and the type of fabrics that were being washed.
Furthermore, if you regularly clean out your washing machine with white vinegar, then you'll be able to leave your wet clothes there for a bit longer. Similarly, using bleach will extend the time that you can keep your towels, coats, and jackets in the washing machine without them smelling. Clothes made of cotton, linen, silk, and polyester are more prone to developing bad smells if kept in the washer for too long.
3 Signs You May Have Left Your Clothes in the Washer for Too Long
Several signs tell you if you have left your clothes in the washer too long. Below, we discuss three factors.
Musty or Mildew Odor
Mildew is a type of fungi or bacteria that grows in a humid and dark environment and causes an unpleasant smell. Mildew feeds on the dirt in your washing machine and appears as a black, grey, or yellowish growth on damp clothes.
Mildew not only causes an unpleasant stink in your dried clothes but could also result in considerable damage to your clothing fabrics. It is important to remove mildewy clothes from your machine as soon as possible. Also, breathing the unpleasant musty odor can make people unwell, especially those with asthma.
Visible Mildew Spots
Leaving your clothes unattended for 24 hours is enough to build up mildew and moisture spots on your clothes. Mold is a white substance that develops on a garment sometime after it has mildew.
A Stale or Unpleasant Smell
The unpleasant musty smell of wet clothing in your washing machine could be due to mold or mildew. It could also result from soil and dirt in your washer or dryer – they need to be cleaned up regularly.
How to Remove Soil Build-Up
One of the reasons that clothes can develop an unpleasant odor if left in the washing machine for too long is because of soil buildup. This occurs when dirt, stains, oils, and lint are lodged in parts of the machine that are not easily reachable.
However, it is a good practice to clean out the machine regularly so that soil and dirt do not accumulate – doing this once a month should suffice.
If you have left clothes in the washer or dryer for several days, it can lead to soil buildup. But do not worry, there are several ways to address this problem.
Rewashing with Vinegar
White vinegar has excellent cleaning properties. To clean up the dampness in your machine if you suspect soil buildup, pour a cup of white vinegar into the machine and run the rinse cycle with the normal amount of water that you would use in a wash.
Set the water temperature to warm. When the cycle is complete, drain out the water and wipe the machine clean with a moisture-absorbent cloth. Keep the machine open to let it dry out and you're done.
Using Baking Soda
If you have no white vinegar on hand, you could alternatively use baking soda to clean out your washing machine and remove soil buildup. To do this, pour in a small packet of baking soda into the dispenser and then run the rinse cycle with warm water. This will also remove the effects of soil buildup in your washer or dryer. Remember to use an absorbent cloth to wipe off after it is done.
Add half a cup of bleach to the dispenser of your washing machine and run the rinse cycle on a warm or hot setting. Then drain out the water after the rinse cycle is complete. Always remember to use protective gloves and ventilate the room before using bleach because it could be harsh and release toxic fumes.
If you are still worried about what will happen if you leave your moist clothes in the washer or dryer for too long, set a timer for this purpose. You could sync the timing of the laundry cycle with your mobile phone – just remember to take action as soon as the timer on your tumble dryer goes off.
In addition, do your laundry at the same time every week. Once you establish this proper routine, you will never have to worry about leaving your clothes in the machine during your laundry routine.
Keep Your Clothes Constantly Fresh with Rinse
Rinse is a professional laundry and dry cleaning service that can save you from worrying about whether you left your clothes in the washing machine for too long. Our services include wash and fold, dry clean, and hang dry.
You can trust us to do a flawless job with clothes that are delicate and expensive, and require professional handling – we understand the importance of well-laundered clothes. Once you try our services, you will find fresh and clean clothes delivered to your doorstep.
Just schedule a pickup via text, our website, or our app and a Valet will come by that same evening. You will never have to worry about clothes left in the washing machine again!
Contact us at Rinse today to see our skill in action.