How to rescue clothes accidently left in the washer

by Janine, Jan 2021

We’ve all been there… you put a wash on, you forget about it and then you’re left with clothes that smell like wet dog! But, is there a way to rescue them and avoid the musty stench clinging to your clothes for days to come?

Well, according to Martha Stewart (domestic goddess), ‘it’s perfectly alright to leave your wet clothes in the washing machine’… even overnight!

Now, it’s important to remember that whilst it may be ‘perfectly alright’, it’s not ideal and nor do we recommend it here at Well Polished. But it’s great to know that there’s no need to leap out of bed at 11pm just as you were about to doze off when you remember your mistake.

However, if you leave them in overnight and then forget AGAIN and leave them in till the middle of the next day – you’re likely to suffer the inevitable wet dog smell, but we have some top tips on how to rescue them.

Rescuing your forgotten load

1.Clothing that’s only slightly whiffy can simply be air-dried. If you hang the item up outdoors, the breeze and fresh air will help remove the mildewy odour and save you the trouble of having to run another load.

2. If you’d prefer to run the load again, make sure to throw in a cup of vinegar along with your detergent. Vinegar is a natural disinfectant and deodoriser, so your clothes will be smelling fresh again when you take them out.

3. Another natural cleaning option is to add a sprinkle of baking soda before running your clothes through a wash cycle on the hottest setting should do the trick.

Other causes

It’s worth noting that the wet dog smell isn’t always caused by the length of time sitting in the machine… sometimes, there are other causes to consider:

  1. Your clothes did not dry properly. This can happen if you fill up your dryer with too many clothes or if the drying cycle is too short.
  1. You are washing mouldy/musty towels or garments with everything else. 
  2. Your washing machine needs to be cleaned. If your machine stinks, of course, your laundry is going to stink too.
  3. You overfilled your washing machine – this means clothes won’t be free to move around and get clean, because they can’t be properly soaked in water and laundry detergent.

It’s recommended to have your washer go through a cleaning cycle once a week or bi-weekly, depending on how often you are using the machine. If you aren’t using it as often, it’s recommended to give it wash (both inside and out) once a month.

When you’re cleaning your washing machine, don’t forget to give the detergent drawer a good scrub as well! 

Our final top tip (and it’s a super simple one!) is to leave your washing machine door open between washes. This allows the machine to aerate and prevents mould growth.

Did you know that your Well Polished cleaner is always happy to pop a load of washing in when they arrive for your clean, and then hang it out before they leave? Our housekeeping service allows you to benefit from chores like this, as well as the cleaning! If you’d like to book in, enter your postcode below to find your local office.

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