Is it Safe to Leave the Washing Machine On Overnight?

A full washing machine cycle can take hours to complete, and it’s sometimes hard to know whether it’s safe to leave the appliance unattended. Should you use the time to pop down to the store? Is it OK to put a load in overnight? What happens if something goes wrong and you’re not around?

The Risks of Leaving a Washing Machine Unattended

Like most whitegoods, washing machines use electricity, have moving parts, and can be the source of household hazards.  Emergency services, in particular the fire department, will probably advocate that the machine should never be left unattended.

House Fires

In recent years, certain Samsung washing machine models were linked to fifteen Australian house fires and several more in New Zealand. As a result of the initial outbreak, the company recalled around 150,000 machines for appliance repairs. The cause was moisture coming into contact with electrical connectors, resulting in an electrical spark.

The Australian Bureau of Statistics also claimed in 1998 that many household fires result from appliance malfunction, regardless of whether the machines were attended or not.


If the pressure device that controls your machine’s water flow gets blocked, or the hose somehow becomes unattached, you’ll have a lot of water on your hands. If you are in an apartment complex, this could cause additional water damage to the apartment underneath yours. Either of these situations will probably require professional washing machine maintenance.

Older Models

Older washing machine models may not be equipped with safety features against overheating. Should the thermostat fail to function, the water may boil and evaporate, which could start a fire. Moving parts in an older washing machine may cause sudden, strong, and jerky movements while spinning: dangerous for small children and pets. Beware of little fingers tampering with settings or successfully opening the door mid cycle, if the machine lacks a child door lock.

Modern Settings

Modern washing machine models have been released with delayed start buttons, allowing users to choose exactly when the cycle should begin. They should also be equipped with safety features such as emergency door releases, child safety locks, and water flow metres.  New models might shut down automatically when a problem is detected. These features make it easier for users to program overnight cycles or to program the machine to run when no one is at home.

While safety features offer peace of mind, an electrical fault, house fire, or injury to a small child near a washing machine could be devastating. Whenever possible, complete the washing machine cycle while you are in the house, and supervise your children when the machine is running.

If you need urgent washing machine repair, Matic Service is here to help. Contact our professional representatives on (02) 9709 6188 for more information.