Weird lint (i guess) problem

pammyfayJanuary 22, 2012

I wash my casual tops (cotton mostly) in cold or cool water, usually on the gentle cycle. Then I do an extra rinse cycle. I don't overload the washing machine, and I use a color/scent-free liquid detergent (currently it's All, before that probably Arm & Hammer). I hang all my tops on a drying rack in the guest bedroom's bath.

A couple months ago, I noticed that some of the shirts came out of the wash with tiny pieces of lint or some such residue on the top of the arms -- as if you started a line at the neck, followed it along the shoulder line and went down the arm about halfway.

Always in the same place.

These are colored shirts, no whites. No fabric softener. The lint is white-ish gray, so I can't pin the blame on a specific item in the wash.

So I decided to try turning the shirts inside out to see what would happen. After the shirts were dry, I turned them inside out and -- again. There were the little trails of lint.

What's my solution to this -- anyone?

I do wash a lot of navy cotton pants that tend to collect some short dog hairs, but the stuff on the shirts isn't hairy. So I'm perplexed! I don't think I noticed any of this happening in the past; the machine is about 4 years old, and it's a regular top-loader from Sears.

Is there just lint between the tub and the washing-machine frame that I need to clear out with a vinegar wash or something similar?

This inside-out situation is really bugging me -- just can't figure it out!

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@ pammyfay

It might be lint, it might not. Is this happening only with the one garment? What you describe sounds suspiciously like calcium precipitating out of solution and settling onto your clothes. Do you know if you have hard water? Are you using a precipitating water softener like sodium carbonate/wash soda or TSP (not STPP)? Has anything changed on your end between the last successful wash and when the lint started appearing?

    Bookmark   January 23, 2012 at 12:55PM
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All I can add is my experience. When our old conventional top-load washer was eight years old, all the dark clothes started coming out of the dryer covered in lint. It was not in one place on the garments, but all over. Long story short, I had a repair guy come out and he pulled both the drum and the tub. There was an inch of dried who-knows-what on what was supposedly the built-in "lint filter." The caked gunk looked like old laundry powder, which it may have been with two teenage boys doing their own laundry for a few years. Repair guy and I chipped and scraped it off and we never had the problem again.

Are you using a powder detergent? If so, are you washing in COLD water? It may be remotely possible that the powder is not dissolving. That's my best guess.

    Bookmark   January 23, 2012 at 5:00PM
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I'm not sure whether it's hard water; I'll have to look at the info on our water-provider's web site or ask a neighbor.

Cavimum -- you know, I wrote that I use liquid All. But then, yesterday in fact, I went into the laundry closet for something and noticed my container of Borax -- which I've used for cleaning the toilet but then decided a few times to add to my washing load of white sheets. So it's possible, I'm thinking, that there may have been a bit of leftover borax that clung to the outside of the drum and didn't get washed away in the 2 rinse cycles. Although in those white sheets/detergent/and a bit of borax cycles, I used hot water. (The dog sleeps on the bed, so ...)

I did a cycle with a bit of detergent and white vinegar. We'll see what the next load turns out like!

(But I'm still stumped as to why the lint-or-whatever-it-was always gravitated to the shoulder line and not other places on the tops! So weird!)

    Bookmark   January 24, 2012 at 12:41AM
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