Although there isn’t a set rule saying how long clothes can stay wet for, the longer you leave them outside and damp, the more chance mould and bacteria will begin to breed.
There's also the chance of rain spots leaving dirty marks on your clothes. That said, parents in an Essential Kids forum, said they have no problem leaving rained-out washing on the line until it dries - and then it's business as usual.
Similarly, a Mumsnet forum recently discussed if it’s okay to leave your washing on the line overnight.
“I've been on a washing mission today and put the last load on the line at around 4ish. It's not dry and so not likely to be by tonight,” one mum asked.
The reaction in the comments was mostly in favour of leaving clothes on the line for as long as they need to be dried, even if that means leaving them overnight.
“I pegged mine out at 10. Hopefully, it will be dry by tomorrow morning,” one user wrote.
Another added: “I'm just going to hang mine out now. Obviously, it won't get wet given the current heatwave, but during wetter weather, I don't mind if it gets a soaking and takes a bit longer to dry; the rainwater softens the fabric.”
Drying your washing inside has its drawbacks too.
A study by the Mackintosh School of Architecture in Glasgow found the water in your washing adds another 2.5 litres of moisture to the air per typical load.
The study mentions three main health risks associated with indoor drying:
- Moisture and excess dust mites were an asthma risk
- A high mould spore count was bad for asthma and eczema
- Indoor drying combined with fabric softener could deliver a potentially hazardous and carcinogenic chemical cocktail.
Stick to the line and keep an eye on the weather.