Out Darn Spot!
December 9, 2004 9:18 PM   Subscribe

It’s laundry day: After doing my second load of laundry, I discovered some not-so-tiny black spots on one of my favourite shirts, as well as many other items in the load. [mi]

So, I washed it all for a second time. Surprise, the little spots have multiplied and the situation looks hopeless. They don’t look like burns (which I had originally though) or ink marks. They’re just…random spots in random places, sent to ruin my day. I’m currently sending it all through for a third time, and using Shout (spray) to *try* to get them out. There doesn’t seem to be anything on the inside of the wash tub. Regular load, regular liquid detergent, regular softener. Help?
posted by genevieve to Home & Garden (6 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
I've seen this happen when I wash with bleach, can't figure out the cause. Iron?

I've noticed that machine drying laundry with, er, defects makes them even harder to get rid of. Have you tried adding vinegar to your laundry?
posted by PurplePorpoise at 11:13 PM on December 9, 2004

Lint filter clean?
posted by flabdablet at 4:46 AM on December 10, 2004

That's rust. If you've been using hot water, you may have locked the rust spots in. Try treating the spots with lemon juice - apply directly, and a cup in the wash for the spots you missed. A caveat, though: lemon juice is a very mild bleach, so don't let it sit on the clothes for very long.
posted by notsnot at 6:59 AM on December 10, 2004

this used to happen to my laundry too! it was pretty much exactly as how you describe it, small black dots or marks, that seemed like they came from nowhere, because they definitely weren't there when the laundry was put IN the machine.

after much laundry investigation, it seemed that the dryer was "eating" my clothes. After drying a load of laundry one day, I noticed that a sock seemed stuck at the top at the dryer, like trapped between the edges of the side of the machine and the part that spins (that make any sense?). when I pulled the sock out, it had one of those small black marks. so my final conclusion was that the black spots were coming from the grease/machine parts in the dryer, since it was "eating" the clothes during the cycle and they would get stuck, causing the grease to leave small marks on my poor clothes.
posted by ilovebicuspids at 7:08 AM on December 10, 2004

Twice, I've found a pen stuck in a hole in the drum of my dryer, merrily marking my clothes as they tumble by. Could conceivably happen in a washer drum too, I suppose.
posted by cairnish at 9:12 AM on December 10, 2004

Some top loading washers only have a couple seals seperating the transmission fluid from the wash water. When the transmission bushings get worn they degrade the seals allowing water to get into the transmission which forces the gear oil out which may be the black spots you are seeing.

If you decide to replace the washer rather than fixing it (the repair can be quite pricy) front loaders do a better job[1] and use 1/3 the water (which you had to heat) and soap. And they save you money on drying because they spin faster driving more water out of the clothes that therefor doesn't have to be evaporated in your dryer. Also in a small laundry room the extra counter space is a plus.

[1] The reason the only thing you see in commercial laundries is front loaders.
posted by Mitheral at 1:12 PM on December 10, 2004

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