Asked on Jan 04, 2014

Water like stains on clothes from washer and Dryer

Does anyone else have a problem with their washer and/or dryer living water spot looking stains on their clothes??? And if yes, how do you get them out of your clothes and stop it from happening?

Water stains on your clothes?!

Your washing machine could use a cleaning using this white vinegar that Amazon reviewers swear by!

Washer/dryer leaving water spot like stains..any ideas of what is going on???
  63 answers
  • Carrie Carrie on Jan 04, 2014
    Never heard of water like stains- Are you sure it's not an oil type stain? I'd just give it a good pre-soak and wash again. That should work. Frustrating I'm sure.
    • See 1 previous
    • @Carrie I guess maybe I didn't us the right words. I said water like stains because I know for a fact that they are not grease and that they weren't there before washing them. Thanks though.
  • Carrie Carrie on Jan 04, 2014
    I know, I replied from experience- those mystery little spots- look like water, but are probably oil based. :(
  • Serena Serena on Jan 04, 2014
    I have had that happen to me and realized it was my fabric softener I add a little bit of water to my fabric softner and that seem to help good luck
  • Linda Linda on Jan 04, 2014
    I get the same spots and they are definitely NOT grease of any kind. I have to check my husbands shirts for food "drips" so I know they were not there when I started. It is very frustrating. I find Murphy's Oil Soap removes them but I hate having to rewash items. I would love a solution.
    • Karen Karen on Aug 13, 2019

      I get water spots too. I figured it was just hard water stains. Sure is annoying!

  • Thanks for all the suggestions everyone.
  • Carrie Carrie on Jan 04, 2014
    Now I'm stumped! Did you use any fabric softener? If it was a really large load maybe some softener drips on parts that didn't get down into the water? Just some thoughts. P.S. Just READ you don't use fabric softener! Will follow!
  • Jacqueline S Jacqueline S on Jan 04, 2014
    Beca not sure how to get them out, but I've had this problem a lot of times before, mostly with knit fabrics, when "not" washed in cold water.
  • Jacqueline S Jacqueline S on Jan 04, 2014
    Well not sure what causes it, but if you find a good solution, please let me know.
  • Melissa Potter Melissa Potter on Jan 05, 2014
    When I used the Bounce Dryer Bar my clothes came out with stains on them. Try Dawn Dishwashing Liquid to get them out.
  • Marla Rafuse Marla Rafuse on Jan 05, 2014
    I get this often too on my clothing and still haven't figured out the cause. This may sound weird but I rub flour into the stain and then after a minute or so I "wack "off the excess with a towel or cloth until the stain is invisible. Usually I'm able to wear the clothing item after I've done this but sometimes I may have to repeat the process and wash it. I think the flour absorbs the oil. Good luck :)
  • Cozy Home Service Cozy Home Service on Jan 05, 2014
    If the problem is in the water. Have it tested. You may need a water softenr. May only need a good filter.
  • Nancy Nancy on Jan 05, 2014
    I've found that too much fabric softener leaves white powdery spots on my dark clothes. Now I only use very little liquid fabric softener, and NO DRYER SHEETS! I ran the clothes through the wash cycle again, and the spots came out. Your spots could be caused by fabric softener or maybe it's too much laundry detergent in too large a load of laundry. Try cutting back on the detergent and run the clothes through again to see what happens. Good luck!!
  • Melissa Gutilla Melissa Gutilla on Jan 05, 2014
    i get them also! I used to think it was from the detergent but now I start the water in the washer and add the tide then mix it around- so I know that's not causing it. I also don't put fabric softener in the wash. So who knows! The always come out next wash but it's a pain! I'll keep checking your post to see what others think! Hope someone has an answer!
  • Paula Englert Paula Englert on Jan 05, 2014
    I enjoyed reading everyone's answers and suggestions. I get those spots on clothes, also, and I know they weren't there before they were washed. I don't use fabric softener either. I never heard about using Murphy's Oil Soap. I'll have to try that. Thanks.
  • Suzy Smith Suzy Smith on Jan 05, 2014
    Use Lestoil! Just put a little on the spot and rub in...then wash. Works fantastic!!!
  • Claudia Claudia on Jan 05, 2014
    any of the oil treatment things: Dawn, Murphy's Oil or Lestoil will work.
  • Linda Linda on Jan 06, 2014
    I want to thank everyone for trying to help . I don't have a problem getting them out, it's just the frustration of having to re wash. I've actually tried everything suggested believe it or not. I actually wondered if it might be caused by using cold water but don't want to use warm on the colours ( which is where it shows up the most ). I'm still hopeful that someday someone or I might figure this out. ( My laundry is in the basement and I'm waiting for back surgery so I don't redo the load, I just go without those clothes for a week which is often inconvenient)
  • Kim R Kim R on Jan 06, 2014
    Is it a front loader?...that is when mine started...I think it doesn't use enough water.
    • See 1 previous
    • Shay Shay on Apr 01, 2019

      That is when it started happening to me when my Condo put in front loaders - I was secretly blaming neighbors for using softener or have greasy cloths but they to have the same issue. I have not been able to get them out with rewashing - but will try the murphy oil soap trick next

  • Cheryl Cheryl on Jan 06, 2014
    Mine were caused by dryer sheets. Quit using them and it cleared up.
  • Deanna H Deanna H on Jan 06, 2014
    I had the same thing happen to my clothes. The problem was that my washing machine was dirty. detergents and softeners leave a residue in the washing machine drum and parts. To clean run a full empty load with two cups white vinegar in hot water, It worked great! Gets rid of any smell as well. Hope this works for you.
  • Charlene Kimbrell Charlene Kimbrell on Jan 06, 2014
    This is quite probably the result of using liquid fabric softener. It is a common occurrence. Make sure the washer is filled with water and not yet agitating when it it is added so it doesn't get directly on the clothes. Or best solution yet use dryer sheets.
  • Dianne Dianne on Jan 06, 2014
    Had a similar situation which turned out to be caused by a faulty felt seal on the dryer. BTW, dryer was making a squeaky sound.
  • WOW! Thanks everyone. I will try all these great ideas. I'm happy to learn that it's a very common problem.
    • Teri Teri on Jan 06, 2014
      @Beca @ Creative Dominican These aren't water marks. They are grease marks and if your clothes went into a dryer then the marks are set in and are VERY hard to get out. Maybe something is on the drum of the washer or dryer that is leaving these marks or food marks too.Sounds funny but I was professional spot cleaner for almost 30 years. i had to identify spots and remove them with chemicals.
  • Patty A Patty A on Jan 06, 2014
    would like to know which one of these many answers was the problem, Beca. I too have the spots with a fairly New machine, a water softener , and no dryer sheets.
  • Jennie Jennie on Jan 06, 2014
    When it happens to me it's because I accidentally washed some chapstick.... it melts and gets all over stuff. Not fun.
  • Nancy Hinds Nancy Hinds on Jan 06, 2014
    I have several favorite t shirts with that same spottiness...I use cold water and dryer sheets and pre-Shout them when I remember, but there are the ones that gets heat set with the dryer and back they go to pre-Shout, etc. I need to try some of these new ideas, too! My methods don't always work. Thanks!
  • Barb Barb on Jan 06, 2014
    The spots look they could be grease spots. I keep a little bottle of Dawn dishwashing liquid handy to spot treat before I put things in the washer. It works better than anything else I've tried for anything greasy.
  • Mary Mary on Jan 06, 2014
    My favorite sweatshirt now has these spots on them At first I thought I had gotten grease on it, and not realized. But couldnt remember being around any. I will now run white vinegar through my washing machine, and make sure its cleaned up real good. I quit using dryer sheets, got the Bounce thing that sticks in the dryer. Im so glad I came across this!
  • Linda Linda on Jan 07, 2014
    I have tried every solution suggested except the vinegar. I know vinegar to have worked miracles in the past so that is my next step.Thanks to Deanna for this suggestion.
  • Marilyn Highley Marilyn Highley on Jan 07, 2014
    Those spots are tiny spots of grease from food that don't show up until the clothes are washed. They come from tiny flecks of food (chips, popcorn) while eating, tiny splatters while cooking (bacon, sausage), even a quick swipe with your hands and not realizing there are tiny bits of grease/fat on your hands. We are not as clean as we like to think we are. :-) One of the pretreating products used before laundering (my fave is Shout) will remove it, especially if you rub the product into the stain before re-washing.
    • Shay Shay on Apr 01, 2019

      That is not true of my spots - they are cauuses somehow by the front loading washer

  • M. K. Wilkie M. K. Wilkie on Jan 08, 2014
    I have had this and I believe the problem is with the Downy Ball. I use less softener now and fill the ball with water before adding it to the machine. I understand that we use way too much detergent and softener in our washing machines to begin with. It only takes a little for normally dirty loads.
  • Diane Foust Diane Foust on Jan 08, 2014
    I too have this problem so I will give the vinegar a try. I know you can use vinegar as a fabric softener so maybe I'll just make it a regular part of my laundry routine so I don't get the detergent build-up.
  • Kim Kim on Jan 09, 2014
    I have this problem with my work clothes. I don't use liquid fabric softener. and you find the spots before they go in dryer. if you have a newer he top loader you have a lint trap around the top of drum. you will need to clean it. also you need to wash the inside of washer. I use a rag with vinaigrette before I wash those clothes good luck
  • Kim Kim on Jan 09, 2014
    vingarette is suppose to be vinegar
  • Fran Fran on Jan 09, 2014
    Yes, those are grease spots from a juicy hamburger. LOL Spray with Shout and leave overnight, and spray again before washing again. Shout for me is better than Spray and Wash.
  • Tammie Tammie on Jan 09, 2014
    Use Goop! It's found in the automotive section at Walmart. Used to clean mechanic's hands.
  • Val Val on Jan 09, 2014
    I get these all the time. I use Shout, put a tiny dab on each spot, works every time. Mine are caused by grease splatters when I am cooking. If I wear an apron, they don't happen. Val
  • Nancy Merrell Nancy Merrell on Jan 09, 2014
    @Fran just regular Shout? Have these spots all the time.
  • Sarah Barber Sarah Barber on Jan 09, 2014
    I agree with the micro grease spots because I have them at times as well and pretreat with a stain remover for grease
  • Fran Fran on Jan 09, 2014
    Shout/any shout will be fine. Now, if you do wash and dry and notice those spots, you can as I said before re spot for overnight and leave out by itself and spot again the next day and throw in with regular laundry. Nancy, let me know how it works for you. I worked in the dry cleaning business for over 10 years and you would be surprised the business that was created by juicy hamburger.
  • Carol Carol on Jan 09, 2014
    I sew a lot and always clean my machine before I pre-wash my fabrics. I add 2 cups white vinegar to a regular wash cycle with 1/4 c Dawn. I then add another cup white vinegar during the rinse cycle. This usually does the trick. If your washer is several years old, you may have to do this a couple times due to the buildup of grease from detergents you use. Hope this works for you.
  • Sheri Evans Sheri Evans on Jan 09, 2014
    Its fabric softener. If you use a Downy ball, its most likely the culprit. i find that rewashing them will usually take care of it.
    • Linda Weeks Linda Weeks on Jan 19, 2014
      @Sheri Evans I think you are absolutely right: if I throw in a softener sheet, I see these exact spots on my clothes, every time, especially dark clothes! So then I take and wash them again after pre-treating the spots. Wouldn't you think that a laundry product wouldn't add to the work of washing your clothes?!!
  • Cindy tustin Cindy tustin on Jan 10, 2014
    I use ammonia Iput 1/4 cup in a cup of water it works great for grease or oil film windows clothing. I spray my stove top. It is a very inexpensive and good cleaner.
  • Kim L Kim L on Jan 12, 2014
    I believe those are greasy prints - maybe not from your hands, but from someone else's hands touching or grabbing at you during wearing. They look EXACTLY like oily or greasy leftover spots. Water does NOT leave stains.....perhaps your laundry detergent can and that is NOT what this is either. Detergent stains appear as white shadowing.
  • Debra Bruhl Debra Bruhl on Jan 12, 2014
    they look like small spots of grease, I use dish soap as a pre-wash treatment. Put a dab on each spot, rub a little and wash as normal in warm to hot water.
  • Pat Dollar Pat Dollar on Jan 17, 2014
    I agree that what you are showing on the garment appears to be grease spots. Use any of the suggestions above to remove them. Also clean your washer thoroughly with the following: Pour 2 quarts of bleach into your machine with the highest level of water and run the washer but do not allow it to spin and drain. Let it sit for 3 hours then drain followed by a full level of water with 1 quart of white vinegar. Again stop action before the spin cycle and allow to sit for 3 hours then complete the cycle. This should be done once about every 3 months or so.
  • Cat Cat on Jan 17, 2014
    I had this! It was oil from the inner workings that got into my top loader!
  • Gay Storm Gay Storm on Jan 17, 2014
    I used to get those when I used dryer sheets. When I stopped using them, I didn't get those spots anymore.
  • Hot Shot Hot Shot on Jan 19, 2014
    So is there anyway to save these clothes if they have been washed/dried and then you see the stains?
    • Debbie Debbie on Dec 23, 2015
      @Hot Shot I have been able to remove spots even after wash & drying by just soaking spot with spot remover, let it sit & soak in good, spray again and maybe even scrub a little with a toothbrush and then wash as normal.
  • Jennifer G Jennifer G on Jan 19, 2014
    I was a Costumer for years and most laundry spots like this are caused from too much detergent and/or softener. Top & front loading washers do accumulate soap residue inside the drum and it needs to be removed periodically - vinegar works with Hot Water (no clothes) but be careful because straight vinegar can erode rubber gaskets, fittings and seals if not rinsed off throughly. They also make a 'Washing Machine Cleaner' that eats the old soap residue. Most people add more soap for extra dirty clothes, but it is actually counterproductive. Small loads with more water and less soap usually cleans better. Hope this helps - Good Luck!
  • Sheri Evans Sheri Evans on Jan 21, 2014
    One would think!! lol...the Downy balls are a big culprit of this and if you are using dryer sheets and leave your clothes lay in the dryer, you run the risk of the spots as well. Hot clothes + hot dryer sheet = spots. :(
  • Hot Shot Hot Shot on Dec 23, 2015
    Thank you, will try it..
  • Coe Coe on Aug 15, 2016
    Mine were on silk looking polyester. I thought it might be that the liquid detergent hadn't completely mixed with the water so washed it again with no detergent and let it soak a good while before the rinse and finish. Most of it came out. Now I put detergent in then start the fill cycle before adding clothes. I haven't had the problem since.
  • Maryjane Fields Maryjane Fields on Sep 05, 2016
    Always put the fabric softener dryer sheet in LAST so that your wet clothes don't sit there on top of it. As a general rule, I don't put my better clothes in the dryer. If something doesn't come out in the wash, the dryer sets it.
  • Sherrie S Sherrie S on Sep 05, 2016
    I use organic wool dryer balls and I found that the clothes dry faster and without wrinkles. My dog likes them too. She stole one when the dryer door was opened.
  • Mary Hofstra Mary Hofstra on Oct 28, 2016
    Just use a tennis ball, a new, clean one. That's all I've used for the last 10 years. No static here! Or, take tin foil and make it into a ball, again, brand new, new, clean piece, it takes the static out too! Super cheap! I've been using the same tennis balls for years! When I think they're dirty, I throw them in the wash with a load of towels!
  • Fernando Fernando on May 19, 2018

    I don't have an answer I'm just as stumped as Beca. I bought a new washer and do not use a fabric softener and at times I see these wet spots on our clothes. I am starting to suspect the water because this is my second washer with the same problem and I don't have a water softener .

  • Trish Washington Trish Washington on Feb 14, 2020

    I have experienced this I noticed it when I used liquid fabric softer.

  • Annie Annie on Jun 24, 2021

    I would try giving your washing machine a good cleaning. They make a "cleaner" that you use just like tossing in laundry soap. It will be with the laundry soap at the grocery store. Maybe you have a bit of a problem with one of the seals and that's a bit of grease coming through?

  • on Jun 24, 2021

    Lots of answers here, but I'll focus mine on the machine - if your washer has a self-clean cycle, see if running that reduces future instances. Even before we had a machine with self-clean, we would run vinegar through ours periodically to reduce soap, odour and mineral build-up.

    Not a fix for the current clothes, but maybe will help save some in the future!

  • Mrs. Banks Mrs. Banks on Jul 28, 2022

    So iam experiencing the samething, but I believe it's the laundry detergent or fabric softener. We did not have this problem when I had an upright washing machine. However, I went back to the tub or agitator washing machine. I noticed the tray where you add the detergent and fabric softener, is right over top of the clothes when you pull out the tray to put the detergent and fabric softener in. Well I noticed the other day, it dripped down a little bit from the tray? Those could be the spots you are seeing. Also, if you overload the washing machine, I experience it as well. I think I will go back to an upright😊

  • Toni Sellers Toni Sellers on Jul 28, 2022

    I dont have that problem but a few drops of Dawn dishsoap n peroxide will take about anything out, I havent found anything it hasnt so far.

  • Johnavallance82 Johnavallance82 on May 26, 2023

    How long has this been happening to your washing? Can you remember when it started and what you used in the wash? Maybe make a note of what you used after it happens again! Call the manufacturer or a Service Engineer and ask them what the cause is! Maybe it is something leaching from the machine itself (Oil Spray)??