The question about soaking clothes in washing machines is an enquiry that is raised frequently. Many people are curious as to whether damage can be done to their appliance or clothes by soaking in the machine.
The first issue that is raised with soaking the clothes in washing machines is that most machines have a build up of sludge in the bowl.
This sludge is a combination of dirt and grime from your clothes and excess detergents or fabric softeners. Many soakers are quite powerful and can loosen this sludge. Once the sludge is loosened it can flake off and stain your clothes.
The picture to the right shows an extreme case of what a stainless steel bowl looks like when it is coated with sludge. On this particular machine the sludge had hardened like concrete and a wire brush grinding wheel had to be used to remove the build up.
The second issue is "can damage be done to the washing machines?"
To put it simply machines are not designed for soaking they are designed for washing. As the saying goes a picture is worth a thousand words, the next photo shows the results of a machine that is regularly used for soaking. The rust in this bowl had not quite broken right through, (which could have flooded the house had it rusted right through) but the habit had caused severe damage. So not only was the machine damaged but you can imagine what was happening to the clothing.
To summarize it is cheaper to buy a $2 bucket from your local discount store than cause expensive damage to your washing machines or clothing.