Why Is Your Washer Leaving Marks On Your Clothing?

Appliance Express
December 3, 2020
Washer Repair

A washing machine has one primary job — to take marks off your clothing. However, when all your favorite pieces of clothing are coming out of the appliance with new mystery stains, that is a pretty big deal. At first, you might think that there was a marker or some other item that got left in the wash, but if that checks out, then it is the appliance leaving the stains. Unfortunately, there is no one solid issue that can cause the washing machine to start marking up your laundry. You will need to check several of the common causes for it in order to make the right repair.

The Machine is Too Full

You might suspect that if you are really wedging every last scrap of clothing in the washer, it might not be getting washed very well. However, the issue is not only that they are not getting cleaned properly, but your detergent may not be able to circulate properly. This could lead to new stains on the clothing. This is more likely if you use a powder detergent. It can form pockets in the clothes where it doesn’t fully dissolve. This will result in white stains and residue on your clothing.

Too Much Fabric Softener

Have you ever gotten fabric softener on your hands? It isn’t exactly slimy like liquid detergent. In fact, it is more of a waxy consistency. This is because fabric softener actually does coat the fibers of your clothing in a protective, nice smelling wax. However, that involves it being able to dissolve in water correctly. If the machine is too full or you use way too much fabric softener, it can result in serious residue and stains on your clothing.

Moldy Door Seal

If you have clothing coming out with black streaks and spots on it, you will want to take a peak at the gasket on your washer. This is particularly appropriate to check if you have a front-load washer. Often what you will find when this issue manifests is a whole lot of mold. The mold has grown because water did not dry from the seal quickly enough. If left untreated, it just grows out of control and if your clothing rubs against it, even lightly, it will leave a stain.

While you can clean the mold way with white vinegar, if you have gotten to this point, it may be time for something more drastic. If the seal is staining clothing, you may be better off just replacing it altogether and starting fresh.

Damaged Drive Belt

The drive belt is what psychically rotates the drum. When it is in motion, the detergent and fabric softener is evenly distributed over the rotating clothing so it doesn’t pool in one place. However, if the drive belt is damaged and not rotating the drum, it will cause the detergent and fabric softener to drop on one spot of your clothing. This is the same as using too much — it will cause stains.

Not all washers have drive belts.

If this is the case, you will notice that your washer has trouble turning. If the belt has snapped, the washer drum will not turn at all during any cycle.

Worn Bearings

You wouldn’t think the bearing can have an impact on your clothing other than poor washing, but they can. The bearings are what allow the drum to rotate freely. If they are starting wear down, you may actually start to see black marks or rust appear on your clothing. However, a far more obvious sign of this is the metallic screeching that they manifest. If you hear this squealing and are seeing marks, then you will want to look into replacing the bearings.

Standpipe Issues

If you have been doing work behind your washer or with the standpipe in particular, you will want to make sure it is properly adjusted. If the standpipe is even an inch out of alignment, it could result in back flow from the wash cycle. This means that instead of being siphoned out of the washer, the wash water flows back into the appliance. This can cause stains not just from the dirt, but the prolonged exposure to detergents as well.

Plumbing Issues

In some cases, the cause of stained clothing is not actually your washer, but the plumbing that feeds your washer. If you have old pipes where the water can come out rusty, then this can cause stains. More commonly, you have hard water and the water itself can cause stains. Furthermore, prolonged exposure to hard water can cause build up that may flake off and stain clothing unexpectedly.

It is highly recommended that you get a water softener system for your home if you have hard water and it is causing these issues. It is not just a problem that the hard water is staining your clothes, but it is incredibly hard on all water-using appliances. Hard water build up essentially cuts the appliances’ lifespan in half. Aside from that, running white vinegar can help break up the hard water build up in your washer so it can stop staining your clothing, at least temporarily.

What Do You Do Now?

Many of the issues that cause your washer to leave stains on clothing are fully able to be handled by the appliance owner. However, the more technical concerns like the drive belt or the bearings will be better left to a professional hand. In truth, some appliance owners may want to leave even changing the door seal to a professional to make sure no leaks occur after it is done. Finally, if you have checked all these sources and simply cannot find what is causing it, a professional eye can help you find the root cause as well as get it quickly fixed.

Do you have a washer leaving stains or some other appliance problem that you just can’t figure out? We can help with that. Contact us today to see what Appliance Express can do to help fix up all your appliances quickly and safely.


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