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Can You Leave Wet Laundry in the Washer Overnight? Martha Says It's Fine

In a cameo on the TODAY Show, Martha weighed in on whether wet laundry can sit overnight.

laundromat washing machine
Photography by: Pixaby

Many people learn the hard way that if you leave wet laundry in the washing machine for too long, it starts to smell because of bacteria and mold growth. When this happens, no amount of drying will remove the odor, which means clothes usually have to be washed again. 


But what if you're just going to leave the clothes in the washer overnight? The hosts of the TODAY Show recently debated this hot topic, and naturally, they gave Martha Stewart a call to get an expert opinion on the matter.


Which side of the debate did Martha land on? She says it's fine!


"I would say that was perfectly alright," Martha told the hosts. "I mean don't leave it for a long time. [Like] Al said, 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."


If you're not sure whether your wet laundry has been sitting too long, Martha recommends smelling it: "One way you can kind of tell is if it smells all right. That mold and that bacteria that starts to grow on damp clothes and environments, that's very pungent."


While Martha says it's fine to leave wet clothes overnight on occasion, she does caution against making it a habit. If you want your laundry to look and smell its best, give yourself plenty of time to wash, dry and fold clothes before bedtime. 


[CHECK OUT: Martha's Tips for Perfect Laundry]

Related Video: Household Laundry Tips