Washing wet clothes

The girlfriend and I are having an argument over washing the bathroom towels. Simply stated, is it okay to wash the towels in the washing machine while they’re still wet?

I checked Google, but all the sites dealt with clothes that had been left in the washing machine and developed a mildew smell from that.

ETA: The issue is not necessarily a mildew smell, but general cleanliness.

If you’re talking about putting wet towels in the hamper and not washing them immediately, then it’s better to let them dry first. Otherwise, of course you can wash them if they’re wet. They’re going to get wet in the washer, after all.

You need to read this before you kill each other: http://www.mil-millington.com/

Of course you can wash them while they’re wet. Why on earth wouldn’t you? Please elaborate. . .

I have an aunt who runs a dog grooming business, and let me tell you, she washes tons of wet towels every day. I have no idea what sort of problems that supposedly could cause but I can assure you that if it did cause any, she’d know about it, and so would I as I worked for her briefly.

Since the towels are going to get wet in the washing machine anyway, I can’t imagine what difference this would make. I’ve never heard of this, and we’ve never had a problem washing wet items.

Why on earth would you need to dry something out…before wetting it again to wash it?

Obviously you don’t want wet towels sitting in a hamper for the week, waiting for a Saturday morning wash, if that’s what you mean?

One could argue that washing wet towels is better. It actually does matter. The OP was wondering if washing wet towels hurt anything, but we should look at it from the other direction: Washing wet towels is best.

If the towels were to dry first, that implies they remained wet for a longer period of time after their last use, which increased the chances that they got mildew on them. That would mean more chemicals (bleach) or more hot water. It also means that mildew lingered somewhere, for some time. Mold? Is that building up somewhere, too?

So, wash wet/damp things as soon as possible. It’s better for the garment/towel, the washing machine and your overall utility budget.

PLUS… Damp/wet towels left behind to dry on a door or in a hamper are also harder on the materials they sit against. The door/paint/wood has to deal with the wetness/dampness and the finish will degrade faster, and other garments (and even the hamper) will suffer from dealing with the increased moisture (mold, mildew,etc).

Wash wet towels as soon as possible. It’s better for everything involved in the process – Maybe even you, too.

:slight_smile: Happy Washing.

That’s some weird logic you have here. I follow the rule of always drying the towels first by letting them hang on the rack. You can bet there is no mildew there at all. However, I need to do this because I don’t have a washing machine in my apt., so I will have to travel with the washing.

However, I still think as a general rule for normal occasions, letting the towels dry is the best standard approach, because it’s quite easy to forget/ delay the washing and then, when the towels are in the hamper or the machine and lie there for hours, then they will develop mildew and/ or smell.

On those occasion when you have the washing machine already loaded and set to go, and your SO comes out of the shower, with a wet towel, you make an exception and toss it in, and turn the machine on immediatly.

Not weird. Describe the weird part, please.

Washing wet vs. dry towels makes no difference in the outcome of their cleanliness.

Y’all wash your towels?

Related question:

<wally> Are towels supposed to bend? </wally>

The things people will fight about when there’s nothing more important to fight about …

OP which do you mean?

a) Get out of shower, towel off, throw still-wet towel directly into the washing machine.
b) Get out of shower, towel off, throw still-wet towel directly into the hamper where it sits for some indefinite X period of time.

a is perfectly fine. b is not, depending on the value of X.

It seems to me that OP’s GF is afraid that a wet towel, being saturated with water, will not absorb the cleanser-bearing water during washing. There is a certain primitive logic to this, but I don’t think it holds up; fabrics don’t bind water that well. Add agitation, and you’ll see that the water in the towel will mix quite well with the water in the machine; in some circumstances, being wet will improve cleaning, as some fabrics initially resist wetting.

I didn’t want to reply to earlier, lest I affect the results, but here’s how it broke down:

We have a washer and dryer in my apartment, it was empty at the time and eagerly awaiting to serve its master.

G/f is in the shower and asks me to wash the towels. I state that I will as soon as she’s done drying off, post-shower, I will throw all the towels in the washing machine. Her face immediately changes from its beautiful girl next door look into that of HORROR.


In my head, I ponder:
[li]Is there any reason why I shouldn’t?[/li][li]Is this a movie quote?[/li][li]Is this some inside running joke that I should know?[/li][li]Would this make perfect sense if I was a girl?[/li][/ol]

Because the answer to all of the above was, “No” I respond, “Yes…”

A refresher course on why I should just agree with her point of view followed.

I cannot fathom how it would make them less clean, and I Googled with no success. Unless anyone has a reputable source on the subject, I’m going to begin applying for research grants in order to put this one to bed once and for all. Thank you all for your assistance, and I shall claim victory until the results of my study are peer reviewed and published.

Please ask her to elaborate. I’m dying to find out the reasoning behind this. 'Cause, you know, the first thing that happens in a washing machine is, the towels get wet. :confused:

And I thought my wife had some doozies.

Ask her if it’s okay for her to wash her hands if they happen to be already wet, or if she dries them off first.

Tonight after dinner I asked her to respond to this thread and her argument is:

[li]You rub the towels on yourself, and as a result they attract hair and dead skin.[/li][li]Then if you let it dry, it loosens it, so that it is easier to remove when they are washed.[/li][li]Her Mom always wanted the towels to be dry when she washed them.[/li][li]It unbalances the washing machine.[/li][/ul]

After discussing this for a while, we called her Mom, who actually agreed with me, and said she had no idea why you would dry them first and that her daughter is crazy. I must say after listening to my girlfriend’s arguments I’m a convert…

The power of love… :wink:

For the record she’s going to do the laundry from here on out. :smiley:

[li]Non sequitur.[/li][li]Drying loosens it? Maybe she should get the towels dry cleaned. ;)[/li][li]Mom sez no[/li][li]How they start out has no effect on balancing when they are going to soaking wet come spin time regardless[/li][/ul]In the old days (I mean even before I was born), your girlfriend would never even know how you wash the towels. By the time you found out she was wacko, you were married and it was too late.

For you, there’s still time.

[quote=“Yogurt, post:18, topic:549895”]

Yes, hair and skin cells end up on towels.

Yes, the water in your skin cells and the wet towel theoretically have molecular attractions.

Yes, Mom did not want wet towels in the hamper.

So far, this is wrong but weirdly reasonable.

But only sopping wet towesl would unbalance the washer.

You didn’t mop up after something like a dishwasher overflow and try to wash the soaked towel(s), did you? Because that is just … somewhat ill-advised.