Here's What Martha Stewart Thinks About Leaving Laundry In The Wash Overnight

You're pretty hectic and busy. But, of course, when you need clean clothes, you make time to toss a load of laundry into the washer. But while we may feel a sense of relief that we accomplished our goal of washing a pile of clothes, we also may forget about part two of the process: drying them. If you're competing with other tenants for access to machines, someone will remind you to take out your load, but as a homeowner, you've got all the time in the world and so may easily forget. Next thing you know, you've left your wet laundry in the washing machine overnight. Is this OK? According to Martha Stewart, it is.

Although we absolutely don't recommend it, theoretically, you could leave wet clothes in the washer for a month. But if you do, don't be surprised to find a ball of mildew and a few unrecognizable items when you open the lid. Per Stewart, however, you could get away with leaving your laundry overnight. But, similar to our one-month scenario, you'll want to make sure your laundry passes a simple and telling test.

What does the laundry smell like?

As you normally would, it's best to place wet clothing into the dryer straight after washing. But Martha Stewart notes that if you happen to forget to do so and leave your wet laundry in the washer overnight, it's not the end of the world. "I would say that it's perfectly all right," she said in a call with the "Today" show. "I mean, don't leave it for a long time — don't leave it for a week," she continued. "If you get up in the morning and throw it in the dryer, it should probably be OK."

Your first clue about whether or not it actually is OK is your nose. Open the lid and sniff. If you smell mildew or a musty odor, then bacteria has gotten into your load and you need to run the wash cycle again with soap. It's an unmistakable test, because, as Stewart says, mildew smell is "very pungent." Also, this applies even if only one item in the entire load smells different. If your wash smells clean, however, put it straight into the dryer.