It’s so easy to forget things in life, and forgetting something laundry-related is no exception.  You may forget to add a certain item of clothing to the load, or a multitude of other things. But what happens if you start the washer after you forgot something. There’s no “undo” button on a washer.

washing machine

Luckily though, there is a way to hit “pause” on a washer. And it may just save you if you need to halt your load of laundry for a moment. There’s really only one question left though, “how long can you pause a washing machine for?”

Let’s find out!


How Long Can You Pause A Washing Machine For?

Technically, a washing machine can stay paused for a very long time. The more pressing issue is the clothes inside growing bacteria and mold from staying damp for too long. Experts typically agree that 8 hours is about as long as you can keep your washing machine paused.

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What Do I Do If My Clothes Mold?

If you do leave your washing machine paused for too long then your clothes could still be saved. You’ll just have to find a way to wash the bacteria and mold off of the items. There are several ways to do this.

You could try rewashing them with some detergent and see if it removes the moldy smell, which will tell you if the mold itself is removed. Or if that doesn’t work, you could soak the items in a bucket filled with water and white vinegar (leaving it to soak for about an hour) and then wash them again.

If all else fails, you may have to use bleach to wash away the mold and mildew that’s formed.


Can You Pause A Washing Machine Mid-Cycle?

Yes, you can pause the washing machine at nearly any point in the cycle. Although if your intention behind pausing it is to add something to it, then the faster you’re able to pause it, the better. Because this means the washer won’t have already mostly washed your clothes, and the new item can be just as clean as the others.

If the cycle is almost done then it’s advisable to just let it end and wash the missing item later, otherwise you’d be wasting a lot of water for no reason. Although if you need to pause it for a different reason, then know that the option is there no matter how far along the cycle is.

Just be prepared for a few minutes’ wait, as the washing machine halts its cycle.

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Can You Pause A Front-Loading Washer?

There might be some confusion though, about whether or not you can pause a front-loading washer and proceed to open the door. After all, it seems like the water would simply spill out and nobody wants that.

Thankfully, front loading washers will automatically drain themselves of water after you pause the cycle. And only after all the water is drained will the door unlock so that you can open it. This means there’s no chance of spilling water all over the place, even if you have to pause it with water in the machine.

However, this will result in some lost water because it means you’ll waste all the water that was drained and have to use more to refill the machine.


How Do You Pause A Washer Without Draining It?

If you’re concerned about potential lost water and want to know if it’s possible to pause a washer without it draining, then the answer is yes and no…

If you have a top loading washing machine then simply opening the lid will cause the water to cease draining, and you don’t have to waste any water in the process.

But if you have a front loader then unfortunately the water draining is part of its mechanics and there’s no way to stop it, even if your intention isn’t to open the door. As soon as you press the pause button, the washer will begin to drain.

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Can I Stop A Washer Early?

Sometimes though, you don’t want to pause a washing machine cycle but you’d like to completely stop it instead. Some washers quite literally have a “Power/Cancel” button, but others have “Start/Pause” buttons instead.

Don’t worry though, you can completely stop a washing machine with the “Start/Pause” button as well. You just do the same thing as you would with the “Power/Cancel” button, press and hold it for 3-5 seconds. Then you should be rewarded with the cycle ending and eventually the door unlocking on the machine.



So our final verdict on the question, “How Long Can You Pause A Washing Machine Paused For?” is as follows…

Front loading washers, top loading washers, and all different brands of washing machines can be paused mid-cycle. And although it’s suggested that you don’t leave it paused for more than 8 hours at a time, all hope isn’t lost if you do leave it for longer. You’ll just have to make sure to scrub off all the potential bacteria on your clothes.

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