The convenience of modern appliances raises questions about energy consumption and safety. One common question is, “Can I leave my washing machine on when I’m out?”

This concern stems from a desire to save time and return to freshly laundered clothes. However, the potential risks associated with leaving appliances unattended raise valid considerations.

In this article, I will explore the factors to consider when contemplating whether to leave a washing machine running during your absence.

Can I Leave My Washing Machine on When I’m Out?

You can leave your washing machine working while you are not at home, but it is not advised. Leaving your washing machine on when you’re out depends on a few factors.

In general, washing machines are designed to be used safely when you’re not present, but there are some considerations to keep in mind:

  • Safety: Modern washing machines are generally designed with safety features to prevent issues like overheating, leaks, and electrical problems. However, like any appliance, there is a slight risk of malfunctions. It’s a good practice to have working smoke detectors and water leak detectors in your home to alert you to any potential issues.
  • Duration: If you’re running a short cycle that doesn’t take much time, leaving the washing machine on while you’re out might be less of a concern. However, if you’re planning to run a long cycle, such as a heavy-duty wash, it might be better to wait until you’re home to avoid any potential problems that could arise during the extended cycle.
  • Water Supply and Drainage: Make sure that your washing machine’s water supply and drainage systems are functioning properly. A sudden leak or clog could lead to water damage if you’re not around to address the issue promptly.
  • Energy Efficiency: If you’re concerned about energy consumption, running appliances when you’re not home might not be the most efficient option. Some people prefer to time their appliance usage to take advantage of off-peak energy hours.
Can I leave my washing machine on when I'm out?

Best Practices for Leaving Your Washing Machine On

While leaving your washing machine unattended is generally safe, there are certain scenarios that are more suitable for this practice:

  • Short Cycles: Shorter cycles, such as quick wash or delicate cycles, are ideal for unattended usage. These cycles are designed to be completed relatively quickly, reducing the time the machine is running and minimizing the risk of potential issues.
  • Small Loads: If you’re washing a smaller load of laundry, the machine will likely have an easier time handling the load, reducing the strain on the appliance.
  • Reliable Appliances: If you have a well-maintained, newer washing machine with advanced safety features, you can be more confident about leaving it unattended.

Monitoring during the cycle

While leaving the washing machine unattended is generally safe, it’s still a good practice to periodically check on it during the cycle.

Here’s why monitoring is important:

  • Early Detection of Issues: Regularly checking on the machine allows you to catch any potential problems early. For instance, if you notice an unusual noise, smell, or leak, you can take immediate action to prevent further damage.
  • Ensuring Proper Functionality: By observing the cycle’s progress, you can ensure that the machine is operating as expected and completing each phase without any interruptions.
  • Peace of Mind: Monitoring the cycle gives you peace of mind knowing that everything is going smoothly, even if you’re not present throughout the entire duration.

Planning around your schedule

To strike a balance between convenience and safety, it’s important to plan your laundry cycles around your schedule:

  • Time Management: Start a cycle when you know you’ll be home within a reasonable time frame to monitor its progress. This way, you can enjoy the convenience of starting the laundry before leaving without compromising safety.
  • Use Delay Start: Many modern washing machines come equipped with a delay start feature. This allows you to set a specific time for the cycle to begin, ensuring that it finishes around the time you’re back home.
  • Prioritize Safety: If you’re running a longer cycle, it might be best to wait until you’re back home. Safety should always be the priority, especially for cycles that could potentially last for hours.

Read more: Can I Leave A Washing Machine On Pause?

Is It Safe to Leave the Washing Machine On?

Leaving your washing machine on when you’re not home can pose a fire hazard. Appliances that use heat to operate can overheat and start a fire, so it’s important to unplug them when they’re not in use.

If you must leave your washing machine on, make sure it’s in a safe location where it can’t cause any damage if it overheats.


The question that also bothered me is: Can I leave my washing machine on when I’m out? Leaving your washing machine on when you’re out is generally considered safe, especially for shorter cycles. However, it is not recommended.

It’s a good practice to consider factors such as safety features, cycle length, water supply and drainage systems, energy efficiency, and your personal comfort level.

If you have any specific concerns about your washing machine or its usage, referring to the manufacturer’s guidelines and recommendations is always a good idea.