Can you leave laundry in the washer overnight? Martha Stewart settles the matter

/ Source: TODAY

We've all been there: It's the end of a long day, and you're ready for bed. Too bad the load of laundry that you started isn't ready for the dryer.

So what do you do? The answer to that is what turns this universal experience into a polarizing debate.

Do you throw in the (damp) towel, call it a night and save the rest of the task for the morning? Or does the fear of mold, mildew and stale clothes keep you up until the job is done?

Well, if you ask the internet, as one tired mother on Mumsnet recently did, you'll learn everyone has a strong opinion on the subject. Very strong. Curse-word strong.

RELATED: These products will cut down on time spent in the laundry room

But as far as we're concerned, there's only one opinion that matters — that of Martha Stewart.

The domestic doyenne called in to TODAY Thursday to finally put an end to this heated-but-not-quite-dry debate.

"I would say that it's perfectly all right," she assured us. "I mean, don't leave it for a long time ... don’t leave it for a week. If you get up in the morning and throw it in the dryer, it should probably be OK."

That's right! If the bed is calling your name, feel free to answer it. The clothes will still be waiting for you in a few hours.

But what about those who are concerned about moldy garments? Easy. Stewart said your nose will know if there's a problem.

"One way you can kind of tell is if it smells all right," she said. "That mold and that bacteria that starts to grow on damp clothes and environments, that's very pungent."

RELATED: Yes, 8-year-olds can do their own laundry: Which chores at what ages?

So if it smells OK, it is OK. Just make sure you're not covering the smell with perfumed detergents.

"I always use unscented soap in my laundry," Stewart told us.

And she told us one other thing: "Don't make a habit" of leaving the laundry half-finished.