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How To Fix A Washing Machine Making Your Clothes Dirty – Stains On Clothing

Is your washing machine making your clothes dirty? There are many reasons why a washer can leave stains or marks on your clothing. An older washer with chipped paint, excessive fabric softener, or a dirty door seal could be the cause. These reasons may dirty or stain your clothing when washed.

How To Fix A Washing Machine Making Your Clothes DirtyFix A Washing Machine Making Your Clothes Dirty

You washer is supposed to clean your clothing not stain them. You need to find out what is causing the problem by inspecting the washer. We will go over some issues that can cause the washer to have this residue fault.

(Clue = Sometimes a washing machine can get a wax like build-up of fabric softener and detergent in the washer drum that causes stains on your clothing.)

Try This Quick Fix = The washer drum may have grease, fabric softener, detergent, or oil that is present from earlier washed clothing. It is best to run a hot water empty wash cycle with a cup of bleach after wiping down the inside of the washer drum. This will remove any softener or grease that may be staining your clothing.

Washer Stains Clothing - Wipe Inside Of Washer Drum

Common reasons a washing machine stains or marks your clothing…

1. Washer drum has greasy residue from previous wash

The washer drum may have accumulated grease or oil from recently washed clothing. This can cause the next load of clothing to get grey stains or black marks when washed. To fix this problem you can wipe the inner washer drum with a damp washcloth to remove any greasy residue. Once you have cleaned the drum, run an empty hot water wash cycle with one cup of white vinegar to further clean out the drum.

2. Paint enamel in washer or dispenser is chipped and causes brown or red colored stains

Any chipped enamel paint can cause rust stains on your clothing. This causes a brown or red colored stain on your clothing. The only way to truly fix this is to repaint the affected area. To fix the rust issue, carefully sand down the affected area. Use a rust resistant appliance paint and apply the paint to the chipped area. Once the rusted area is painted over, this will prevent any further rust stains on your clothing.

3. Excessive fabric softener clinging to areas in drum causes stains

Using too much fabric softener can cause it to lump up and cling in certain areas. The softener can then stain your clothing when washed. To fix this problem, reduce the amount of fabric softener used and reduce the amount of clothing put in for each wash. Clean out the inner wash drum with a warm damp washcloth to remove any clumped up fabric softener.

4. Grease stuck on rubber door seal creates stains and marks on clothing

The rubber door seal on front loading washing machines might have clumped up detergent/softener that can rub off on clothing. Always wipe the rubber door seal off after washing your clothing. Mold or mildew can also be present so cleaning is a must. Leave the washing machine door open when not in use to allow air flow and avoid bad smells and mold growth.

5. Internal issue in washer stains clothing when washed

If a part in the washer begins to deteriorate, this can lead to stains on your clothes. The door seal, pump or other parts can crack, rip, or break and get grease or stains on your clothing. To fix this, you will need to troubleshoot the washer and find out which part is causing the washer to stain your clothing. Unplug the washer and turn off the water when troubleshooting the issue.

How to prevent stains on clothing from dirty washerEvery 30 days run an empty cycle with hot water = Use 1 cup of white vinegar and a scoop of soda crystals (bicarbonate of soda).

How to prevent further staining on clothes

1. Do not use excessive fabric softener as it can clump/clog.
2. Wipe down the washers inner wash drum to keep clean and free of grease/oil/detergent.
3. Keep the washers detergent dispenser open for airflow when not in use to avoid mold/clogging/bad smells. (Front loader washer)
4. Open the washing machine door when not is use to promote air flow and prevent mold. (Front loader washer)
5. Try to always wash white clothing in hot water as cold water promotes mold.

More resources for washing machine odor prevention
Front load and top load washers
How To Prevent Odor In Front Load Washer?
What Causes A Washer To Smell Bad?

If you need help with solving a problem with your washer leaving marks or stains on your clothing, let us know your problem in detail below and we can assist.

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16 thoughts on “How To Fix A Washing Machine Making Your Clothes Dirty – Stains On Clothing”

  1. Appliance Repair Assistant

    Can you give us some more info, such as what type of washing machine you have?
    In the meantime, check the inner drum for any gunk stuck on the sides, check for any rust or similar near the rubber door gasket if applicable.
    Let us know the model number and what the technician did and we can go from there.

  2. Every couple of washers my dark clothes come out with dirty marks on them. I paid a repair man to pull machine apart and clean it, including the drum! It is still happening. Any ideas?

  3. ALLEN VETTER - DIY Repair Assistant

    Leah vallance,
    Try using the AFFRESH tablets to clean out the washer. Use HOT water and run a CLEANING cycle.
    If this does not work, check inside the washer drum for anything that may be causing the black and grey marks.
    Possibly something that was washed left residue in the washer and is stuck to the side.

  4. Hello I’ve noticed tiny black/grey marks on our washing. We have cleaned the drum and seal and done a cycle with a cleaner too and it’s still happening, any ideas. Thankyou

  5. We have a brand new washer and a lot of times we notice a streak of black or gray on the clothes if it goes un notoces and we dry them there permanently ruined. This started about a year ago before we got the new one.

  6. My brand new LG Diamond Series washer (top loader with agitator) leaves white marks on dark clothes and black marks on white clothes. I’ve been using a damp cloth to wipe them off then throw them in the dryer and they seem to come out after drying. But if I want to leave the clothes hang dry they look horrible. Any ideas?

  7. My Ikea Sofa Covers in Orange were washed as per the label. We use liquid detergent in a cup inside the drum as with every wash we do.
    However once we dried the cover (air dry) we were left with white streaks throughout the cover making it look old and worn out.

    I tried diluted vinegar and using a cloth to see if it was residue but once dried it was still there. I rewashed the covers again and made sure to use an extra rinse cycle at the end. Again same results.
    Have no idea whats happening.
    I tried the diluted vinegar again and really saturated the white streak and gave it a good rub with a cloth – nothing. It’s still there
    Thw cover is £120 from Ikea and past warranty period aswell. Not sure if that is the cover or the washing machine.

  8. Marion R., Are you sure it is the dryer? I have the same issue and after 1 yr discovered it was the washing machine. Went to GE website and read 277 problem solving items. Only 1 applied to me. You are not supposed to wind the clothes around the agitator as it may stifle the movement? Just drop them in balancing the best you can. Don’t know how this prevents dark streaks. Next wash was okay, but it doesn’t happen every time anyway. I don’t use any fabric softener and don’t have muddy clothes. The washer is 5 yrs. old and this didn’t start until after the 4th yr. Good luck!

  9. My Maytag Neptune front load washer leaves crescent shaped rust colored stains on clothing. They are almost always crescent shaped and are getting bigger. They started at about half inch and now are an inch or larger in size.

  10. I own a service ultima extra washing machine which is quite a few years old but in perfect working order,the problem is on occasions it leaves odd small black dots on my washing which is more noticeable on whites I have done the hottest wash when machine is empty but without any cleaning aid would really like some advice on how to stop this from happening hope you can help solve my problem thankyou.

  11. I have a top load Kenmore series 300 washer and it leaves oily stains on my clothing. I have had repair personnel come out to look at it and some say it’s nothing, others have blamed it on the fabric softener which I dilute with Mr. Clean antibacterial liquid. I do a rinse cycle once a month with hot water and 1-2 bleach tablets, but my clothing is still getting stained. Any ideas as to why?

  12. My automatic washing machine top loaded, after washing my white dress making Yello color stain, I cleaned many times still it’s stain, what can I do can you help me

  13. David E Hounslow

    The probably was a worn seal in the base of the washing machine which allowed oil to contaminate clothing.
    The bearing and seals are economically available as a kit. YouTube might have an instruction on replacing them.

  14. I am getting dirt , spots of sticky dirt on my clothing. Very evident on white clothing. It is a top load. he inverter Direct Drive.
    I have cleaned tub and did the bleach then vinegar and it continues to have dirt. I can see the particles of dirt in the water when washing .

  15. I didn’t realize that a washer’s rubber door could create grease stains on clothing! My washer has been having issues for a while. I probably just need to order some new parts and fix it.

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