Expert weighs in on age-old debate of how long wet washing can be left in the machine before it needs to be hung out

It's one of life's most annoying niggles.
It's one of life's most annoying niggles. Photo credit: Getty.

If you're forlornly gazing out the window at the third straight day of torrential downpours, you may - like me - have the horror of a washing machine full of wet clothing you haven't been able to hang out, instead just festering away. 

It's one of life's little niggles - putting in a load of washing on an evening and forgetting to hang it out before work, or waking up to rainy weather which sees the washing line out of action for a few days. 

The result begs one of life's toughest and more important questions - how long can you leave washing in the machine before you have to re-wash it?

Luckily an expert has weighed in so now you can breathe easy. 

Lucinda Ottusch - an expert at the Whirlpool Institute of Fabric Science - told the Mirror that you don't have to remove damp clothes from your machine straight away.

Instead, she says you can leave the load in there between eight and 12 hours - at which point you do need to hang them up to dry straight away. And of course, outside in sunshine is always better. 

It's a statement agreed upon by home and living expert Martha Stewart, who previously said in an interview that it's fine to leave clothes in the machine overnight.

"I mean, don't leave it for a long time... 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!" she said. 

All the experts have agreed on one thing - when in doubt, do the sniff test. 

"One way you can kind of tell is if your washing smells all right. That mould and that bacteria that starts to grow on damp clothes and environments, that's very pungent," said Stewart. 

Better living everybody!