17 answers

Why Is My Washer Leaving What Looks like Wet Marks/oil Marks on My Clothes

Help. I continue trying to figure out why my washer is leaving marks on even my new clothes. It is terrible. Any ideas on what I should do. I use a tide liquid detergent and a downy sheet. I do not overload my machine and I follow the clothes recomended wash cycle. My washer is ruin all of our clothes and I cant figure out how to get these stains out either.

What can I do next?

Featured Answers

When this was happening to my husband's dress shirts, the dry cleaner told us it was from using fabric softener. I never use it anymore, except when I'm washing towels, and then I use a sheet in the dryer, not liquid in the washer for fear it won't rinse completely away. It seems to have solved the problem.

More Answers

You may have washed something that had grease or oil on it that didn't get completely washed out. I'd suggest running a full load with vinegar on the hottest setting you can without clothes. Then, wash an old towel (white is best to see if the oil/grease is on it) with your regular detergent on warm or cold to test it out. If the towel has the oil on it, run it through another super hot load with more vinegar. If this doesn't work, you may have some kind of leak in your washer and then I'd check the online forums. Some appliance help sites have online chats with repair people that can help you figure out what's going on. Be sre you know the brand and model of your washer when you do that...there may even be a recall, who knows?

Another thing to use to get clothes extra clean is to use baking soda and lemon juice to whiten/brighten them. The Oxi stuff works pretty good, too...

Good luck!

1 mom found this helpful

So glad you asked this one. I have had this problem off and on my entire 20 years of marriage. Nobody I have talked to seems to know what I am talking about, so I gave up on ever solving the mystery. And a mystery it is, because I have had about 6 different washers and have never used fabric softener. Of your advice, I am going to guess that my problem may be with the seal on the washer or possibly another item of clothing in the load (but that one seems unlikely, since we don't have many grease stains on anything.) Anyway, I haven't really stressed out about it because the dish soap has always worked for me. I just put a dot of it on each of the dark spots and wash the item again.

1 mom found this helpful

This happens to me as well! I was so glad to see you post it so I could see what other said. My mom said it is due to the fabric softener, so I have to frequently wash out the fabric softener dispenser (even though I use a downy ball) because residue builds up in there. It is so frustrating, isn't it??? I feel your pain. I haven't figured out how to get the stains out yet either, so will have to try your suggestions people have given here.
Good Luck!
L. L.

Try using OxyClean. Pour two (2) scoops of Oxyclean into a clean bucket. Then add about four cups of BOILING water and stir until product is dissolved (important). Now, pour in plenty of cool water (enough to cover the stained articles--do not crowd them) and let them soak--this might take at least 24 hrs. If the stains are still visible, just let the articles soak some more. I have soaked items up to a week (read: forever!) but it will get most dried-in stains out (but not dye transfer stains). I've had success with the worst stains, e.g., dried blood, tea/coffee, and grease stains that went unnoticed until I took the articles out of the dryer. Just be patient. Thanks, Billy Mays.

This has happened to me from using liquid fabric softener the wrong way. Are you using liquid fabric softener? Martha Stewart has great advice on how to get most any stain out. If it is caused by liquid fabric softener, you can use bar soap to get it out. Just wet the spot lightly and rub the bar soap on it, then wash it as you normally would. I would also check your machine to see if you have any build up in there and thoroughly clean it. You don't want to use more detergent, as it is, most detergents on the market don't fully come out of your clothes...making your clothes be less soft. Cheer is a detergent that actually comes completely out in the wash (provided you only use as much as directed). So, even if you want soft clothes w/out the hassle of liquid softener, you can get pretty good results by buying a detergent that will fully come out after washed, and use fabric sheets. Most large loads you actually use 2 fabric softener sheets in the dryer. If you have a place in the middle of your washer where the agitator is, this is the place you are supposed to put liquid softener. Put as much as the softener directions say, then fill up the rest of the way (to the line) with water. You won't get spots by doing this and your clothes will be VERY soft. I use Cheer detergent, Downy liquid softener, and Bounce dryer sheets and our clothes are very soft!! My family always raves about how are clothes feel and smell. :) Good luck!

Sorry I can't help you with the washer problem, but some others had some great ideas. I just wanted to mention if the bar of soap idea doesn't work, I've never tried it, whenever I have an oil based stain I use L.O.C. on it stands for liquid organic cleaner, anyway, I put the LOC on the stain let it sit for at least a couple of hours if not a day and wash, it usually will take out almost any oil based stain, whether from the garage, cooking, or other. This is a detergent that I get from a company called quixtar, most people remember it as amway. Good luck and hope you get the problem solved!!

When this was happening to my husband's dress shirts, the dry cleaner told us it was from using fabric softener. I never use it anymore, except when I'm washing towels, and then I use a sheet in the dryer, not liquid in the washer for fear it won't rinse completely away. It seems to have solved the problem.

I'm having the same problem. Looks like no one has the answer! Do you use fabric softener? I thought maybe my downy ball was leaking and maybe that was causing it? I don't know. It's really frustrating. Please let me know if you find the answer!

Hi R.,
We just had this same thing happen to our washer a couple of months ago.

I hate to tell you this, but the seal on your washer may be broken (basically letting water flush in and out of the motor part of the washer - that is oil on your clothes).

No fix for this. We had to purchase a new washing machine.

We did find out some interesting things. We had a front loading washer and didn't know you had to use HE detergent.

So, look into this. If this is what it is, you'll just continue ruining clothes.

Also, you might try some oxyclean on the stained clothes. It did help some and you may be able to salvage some of them.

Good luck,

Hi R.--
The grand findings of a HE machine.
We all have it eventually.
It's old soap buildup in your washer.
It will start to smell too if you don't nip it.
You have to clean the rubber seal and sometimes more.
There is a special cleaner --affresh-- and you have to wipe the seal manually.
This will make your pump run harder-- so our mechanic after our pump broke 2x with clothes from twins-- told us the problem he sees and he recommended
1) rinsing with affresh and vinegar alternating regularly
2) using only HE soaps and using only 1/2 of what it says to use -- even with HE This is key

It's a pain and comes back-- mostly on the whites in a gray fashion- spots. You can bleach it out but it does come out with time on some stuff-- whites not so good.

So much for technology-- I'll take the old fashion washers anyday next time.

About me: 48 yo perfusionist, wellness coach now starting a new session online 12 week class, and mom to 7 yo twin girls

B. J

If it doesn't have anything to do with a faulty seal, try using more detergent. Occasionally, I need to wash my children's clothes twice because they have small wet (or oily) looking spots on them. This happens especially if the salt is low for our water softener.

That used to happen to me. I think loading the detergent before putting the clothes in helps. I now use ALL Free & Clear Detergent and haven't had that happen with that detergent. I could not get those spots out either. :( sorry

I agree they are probably oil marks. Wet the spots and treat with Dawn dishsoap, then wash as normal (after the washer is fixed). It works for me every time.

Hi R.! This happened to me when I was using liquid fabric softener, so I started using just dryer sheets, and my problem was solved! Also, you could try a different brand of products. Several months ago, I started using Ecosense cleaning products. They have no harsh chemicals in them and are safe to use around your little ones, and they work better than anything else I have ever tried. They are not available in stores, but if you're interested, let me know, and I'll let you know how to get your hands on them.

Did you by chance wash something that had oil in it (a tablet, capsule, chap stick, crayon). I would run a load with rags and maybe bleach to see if it can clean out the washing machine. I don't know how you would clean out the dryer though.

Sorry I don't have a answer for the washer and dryer but a idea for oil stains and stuff like that use spray and wash on the stain then but salt on that let it sit for a lil while and wash it. If it doesn't come out the first time if its a bad stain do it again.

Been there done this. Had tech after tech out. Could not find anything wrong with the machine. Finally I had it replaced. Didnt want to break up my set so went with same brand samsung front loader. 3 months later spots on clothes. Did not use fabric softner. Ran bleach through it. Left door open. Did not over fill dispenser did not over fill machine. Used only HE Detergent. Wiped out rubber seal Stood on head and still spots. Ruined alot of my clothes. and a comforter! So after dealing with Samsungs awful customer service for months and months and piles of ruined clothes they are finally replacing it. I am not going with another front loader nor am I going with samsung. So I do not know why this has happened and I can not explain it. I have done research and googled and Ive seen several folks with the same problem but no real explanation. GOOD LUCK! I was about ready to throw the thing in the yard and have YOU TUBE TIME! lol

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