Dirty sweater in washing machine

Can You Put Muddy Clothes in the Washing Machine?

Whether you’ve been out gardening or playing sports, there are plenty of ways clothes can get muddy.

Cleaning them might initially seem like an easy job, but is it as simple as just chucking them in the wash?

Below, we’ll look at whether you can put muddy clothes in the washing machine, along with any tips that might help.


Can You Put Muddy Clothes in the Washing Machine?

You absolutely can put muddy clothes in the washing machine. In fact, many machines have a sports intensive or similar setting that’s specifically meant for muddy clothes.

Ideally, you’ll want to let the mud dry before washing the clothes, so you can remove as much as possible by hand first.

 Washing muddy clothes is a straightforward job. The rough steps are as follows:

  1. Allow the clothes to air dry.
  2. Shake them off outside to remove as much loose dirt as possible. You could also brush them down with a soft-bristled brush if the fabric is resilient.
  3. Put them in the washing machine with some heavy-duty laundry detergent. Ideally, use bio detergent with added enzymes.
  4. Set on a sports intensive or similar wash, as this uses more agitation to help loosen stubborn stains. Use a 40- or 60-degree Celsius wash.
  5. Once the cycle has finished, check the clothes and air dry if possible.

If your clothes are really muddy, you could pre-soak them in warm soapy water for an hour or so.

This isn’t necessary if you’ve got a decent washing machine, as it should handle muddy clothes.

However, if you’re concerned about clogging your machine, soaking first can help avoid this.

Mud on trousers

Will Muddy Clothes Ruin Washing Machine?

In theory, lightly muddy clothes shouldn’t have much of an impact on your washing machine.

That said, if you’re dealing with a lot of mud, or actual clumps of dirt stuck to your clothes, you’ll want to pre-treat them first.

Here are some other tips to help get your clothes (and washing machine) as clean as possible:

  • Rinse your muddy clothes in the sink, bath or shower before washing. It’s generally easier to unclog a plug hole than a washing machine.
  • Wash your muddy clothes separate from other washing. Mixing things up could result in your other clothes coming out dirtier than they went in.
  • Biological laundry detergent is the best option here. The added enzymes can help break down grass stains and other marks on your clothing.
  • Set the washing machine to a cleaning cycle after your muddy clothes. This is a normal cycle set at 90 degrees Celsius, ideally with some bicarbonate of soda or white vinegar added for extra cleaning power.


Final Thoughts

Muddy clothes aren’t the most difficult thing to deal with in a washing machine.

However, a bit of extra pre-treatment will do wonders for how clean your clothes come out, and how clean your washing machine is at the end of the cycle. After all, you don’t want to make your next load of washing muddy too!