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What Causes Black Streaks on White Clothes after Drying?

Submit an Entry: Your Laundry Questions and Answers

By derekeglit

My Laundry Question

I have been getting black streaks all over my white laundry after drying.

Share a Little Background Info

I do not use any fabric softeners (sheets, liquid, etc.). I do mix colors with whites and wash at low temperatures. I tumble dry at medium temperatures. Any ideas of what is causing these black streaks that are ruining my white shirts?!!?

Lessons Learned

  • Don't mix colors with whites?

Mary Marlowe Leverette, About.com Laundry & Laundry Rooms, says:

Good news: You haven't done anything wrong. Bad news: Your washer or dryer has a problem.

If you are certain that the streaks are only coming after drying, inspect the dryer drum. Move a flashlight around the drum where it seals to the front and back of the appliance. Look for a gap where clothes - particularly thin cotton material - can get caught. If you see a gap, the clothes are getting streaked with the metal shavings that have accumulated because the dryer drum is out of balance. The shavings are coming from the drum rubbing on the rollers or support glides that hold it in place. You may be able to do the repairs yourself of call a repair person.

If you have lost your appliance manual, you can find it here.

To remove the metal shavings stains, mix a solution of oxygen-based bleach (OxiClean, Clorox 2, Country Save Bleach, Purex 2 Color Safe Bleach) and warm water. Allow the stained items to soak for 24 hours and then wash as usual.

It might be worth your time to check your washer as well. Remove the back and check for any "spray" of oil. If you see a splattering around the bearings, the oil may be leaking into your washer drum. If so, you can look up the model of your machine and get replacement parts or consult a repair person. If it is oil, you should be able to remove the stains following these tips.

Good luck!

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