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White Streaks on Dark Laundry

Submit an Entry: Your Laundry Questions and Answers

By Renee

My Laundry Question

I frequently have gray/white residue on my fabric after washing. Doesn't come off in dryer using dryer sheets. Does not cover entire garment, only in patches or stripes.

Share a Little Background Info

Shows up much worse on dark clothes of course but appears on everything from time to time. It is almost like a fuzz compacted into the fabric. Can't just scrape it off. I have tried Borax in the wash cycle, white vinegar in the wash and rinse cycles. I use only liquid detergents and it happens if I am using Tide or Woolite. I use the minimum amount of soap and sometimes (especially w/ darks) do a double rinse. I have gone thru the process of cleaning my washing machine probably 3 different ways. (bleach, powder dishwasher detergent, vinegar)

I seems to appear more on fabric w/ texture but will pop up on very smooth knits also. I have pondered that maybe these patches or stripes are inside the folds created by the spin cycle. We have hard water in our area, therefore the use of the borax to help that. Any suggestions? I am washing and rewashing my clothes. Sometimes I have a load come out with no visible marks and I cant' see that I have done any thing different. HELP!!!

Lessons Learned

  • Sorry, see above for notes on actions taken.

Fabric Content of Item (if appropriate)

Everything from knit to fleece to cotton.

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

It is possible that the hard water is causing part of the problem. You should also be sure that you do not overload the washer and do not mix "fuzzy fabrics" like microfleece with terry cloth or other knit fabrics. Always add the detergent to the empty washer if you have a top loader - never pour detergent onto the clothes.

To remove the stains when they occur, fill the washer with tepid water and add 1 cup of distilled white vinegar. Allow the affected fabrics to soak for several hours and then rinse with plain water. Do this before you put the clothes in the dryer!

Good luck!

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