Why is my washing machine destroying my clothing?
June 16, 2011 6:27 AM   Subscribe

Why is my washing machine destroying my clothing? Newish machine just started causing clothes to pill up, in addition to some tears.

I've had this washing machine for about 3 years. I've had the occasional shirt pill up after "a while" but usually assumed it was bad fabric, since it only happened on some, and most were okay. Fast forward to a few months ago, I noticed more of my shirts were pilling up, including newish ones. At first, after a round of blaming crappy fabrics, I realized it was happening to all my cotton blend shirts. With one recently purchased shirt, I started noticing it after only 3 washes. I also noticed a couple holes in clothing that I am almost positive came from the washing machine.

So is there anything in my machine that would be causing it to happen so drastically now, and anything I can do to fix it? I read a couple tips - to not wash with towels (which I had been previously doing) and turn shirts inside out. Still isn't helping. I'm washing on the color appropriate settings - cold for color and dark. I'm using fabric softener.
posted by [insert clever name here] to Home & Garden (8 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Just a random guess, but could your water be too hard? Borax could do the trick. It's cheap and can be used for many other non-laundry tasks.
posted by ALLLGooD at 6:35 AM on June 16, 2011

Are you using one of those ultra stain removers like Vanish or Shout? Known problem for those.
posted by likeso at 6:49 AM on June 16, 2011

Front or top-loading?
posted by jacquilynne at 7:12 AM on June 16, 2011

Are you overstuffing your washer? Too many clothes in the machine might be causing the pilling. Make sure all zippers are zipped up, clothes could be catching against the teeth of the zipper as well.
posted by crankylex at 7:18 AM on June 16, 2011

Top loading. Ill check the hardness this weekend but I jave a water softener so thats probably not it. No stain remover. Not overstuffing if anything the loads are on the small side.
posted by [insert clever name here] at 10:37 AM on June 16, 2011

Well, if you've got a top loader, that usually means you have an agitator. If so, I'd recommend using the gentle/delicates cycle. There's also a sweet spot for loads - overloading is bad (clothes don't get as clean, hard on the machine, rinses won't be as effective, more wrinkles) but underloading means the clothes move around more, so friction causes more wear and tear. You're also more likely to overdose on detergent = more wear and tear.

But you could call the manufacturer for help.I've been given good advice a time or two by one of those 'hotlines'.
posted by likeso at 12:44 PM on June 16, 2011

A friend of mine had a washer that developed sharp edges around the holes in the drum that began shredding her clothes. On high rpm spin cycle, the fabric is actually pulled a bit into the holes in the drum and can snag that way... Here is a visual.
posted by cecic at 3:13 PM on June 16, 2011

One other thing that can cause pilling is mixing fabrics. Rayon will pill if put in with cottons, for example. Cotton blend shirts in with jeans will get beat up and pill, too. There's a reason they recommend that you sort your fabrics.
posted by DaveP at 4:07 PM on June 16, 2011

« Older Please recommend an ice cream maker?   |   Father's Day without a father? Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.