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Why do White Clothes Turn Gray?

Submit an Entry: Your Laundry Questions and Answers

By Jennifer

My Laundry Question

Whenever I use an HE laundry machine and HE laundry detergent, it seems to make my whites go to a light blue. I have no idea how to stop my whites from going to a grayish blue. Please help me make my blues go away!

Share a Little Background Info

I used to get darker blue stains on my whites, but as soon as I as I stopped using the fabric softener, it stopped.

This problem is occurring with either front load or top load washers, and the HE Tide detergent.

Lessons Learned

  • This is making me hate HE washers and HE detergents.

Fabric Content of Item (if appropriate)

White t-shirts and white towels

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

There are several reasons that white clothes turn gray or dingy. One may be the quality of your water. If you have hard water, you may need to add a water softening system or water conditioners to each laundry load.

The other causes of graying is using too much laundry detergent which leaves a dirty residue on your clothes. Adding 1 cup of distilled white vinegar to your rinse water to cut through and remove this film. Or, your washer is dirty. HE washers don't use as much water and film of dirt and detergent can get built-up on the drum and redeposit on the clothes leaving them dingy. Clean your washer at least once per month to prevent this problem.

Good luck!

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