Mysterious Stains on White Clothing LG front load

jenmenkeDecember 9, 2009

Hi, I've been searching for the answer to this question for months and am hoping to get a few ideas here. I hope someone can help shed some light on this.

We replaced our original Asko Washer and Dryer (circa 1995!) with huge LG Steam units. I can't say for SURE that this started after the switch, but I'm pretty sure. At the very least, it is much worse now.

And here is the issue:

My husband's t shirts, always a problem due to the antiperspirant stains (or bacterial stains according to a poster on this sight!), now have mysterious dark-ish stains all over them, as if something dripped on them, or they were splattered with something. ALL of his white shirts: undershirts, workout shirts, etc.

At first, I figured it HAD to be something he was wearing. We switched his deodorant, he doesn't wear sunscreen or lotion. But it is still happening. When I really started picking apart everything that came out of my white loads, I realized he is really the only person who wears white t shirts. Then, my son got a new white tshirt and suddenly there are stains on that, too. They aren't any specific color. I would just call them a very faint light grey.

Could this be from fabric softener? What else could it be? What should I try?

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Is there any way you could post a picture?

The stains are all over the shirt, or just in underarm area?

Your machine isn't one with "Silver Care," is it?

    Bookmark   December 9, 2009 at 4:34PM
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I tell you what hapened to me about 3 months ago. I have 2 fls. The smaller one is about 5-6 years old and I use it a lot for hot (194)washes. I don't use detergent dispenser, I just put the detergent straight in drum w/ laundry. But every now and then I check the dispesnser to make sure it's clean. Well, I opened it up and there were small streaks and tiny dots of this black/grey spots and when I touched it w/finger it was smudging and felt greesy,almost like graphite. I was wandering for couple of days and then I unscrewed water hose and saw the little strainer all busted open and w/this black yack on it. So obviously it came in from the water pipe.This washer is hooked only to cold water so it had to come from it. My laundry never got any stains, probably b/c I literally boil my whites out every time.
I did check my other fl(almost 3years old) and there was little of this stuff in the strainer too-the cold water,but the hot water intake had almost nothing in it.
We have city water and I thought it should be cleaner. Can you imagine, we drink this water too?
The other day our tankless died and after conversation w/the guy who will re-install new one, he mentioned that many times the unit is build up w/black greasy stuff after he takes the heat exchanger appart. I told him about the washer and he said he saw it many times.
I don't know if your water might have the same problem but I know I will check the little strainers more often now and have my new tankless flushed more often too to prevent future incidents.

    Bookmark   December 9, 2009 at 7:17PM
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I'm wondering if it could be caused by a deteriorating connector hose... aren't they usually black?

Otherwise, it sounds like it could be some kind of mold.

    Bookmark   December 10, 2009 at 9:00AM
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I'm having a heck of a time with the photo, but still working on it. My main computer died and is out for service, so everything is sort of chaos. I think the photo will help a lot.

The machines are less than a year old. Could I really have a deteriorating hose? I think the hose is actually a flexible metal...

The grease idea is interesting, but the stains are so faint. You almost can't even see them until you hold them up to a window in the daylight. But then they are everywhere. Knits seem to catch them more than anything.. hence the tshirts and work out shirts. I don't see them on socks, which is weird. I've also never seen them on my light colored sheets...

Will keep working on the photo...

    Bookmark   December 10, 2009 at 10:24AM
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oh. one other thing. I spent some time cleaning the machine yesterday. We have two short-haired dogs and therefore clean lots of hair out of the dryer trap. I did find a fair amount of gunk in the washer's door gasket which looked like a combination of lint, dog hair and goo -- most likely undissolved fabric softener. I also ran a "tub clean" cycle with vinegar and then another with bleach. I've only done that once before. At the very least, it smells clean and fresh...

I also do all my white load on "hot" and sometimes "allergy" or "sanitary"

Please see the link for the photos. Don't know how else to do it:

Here is a link that might be useful: gallery with 3 pictures showing stains

    Bookmark   December 10, 2009 at 10:42AM
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I looked this problem up in one of my cleaning reference books and here's what I found. Spots like this can be caused my many different things, among them:

too *little* detergent (what kind/how much are you using?)

 too *much* detergent/fabric softener combined with incomplete rinsing. The products can get lodged in fabric, then become oxidized (usually by a hot dryer), causing blotches

 iron in your water

 soils clinging to synthetic fabrics (Are these shirts 100% cotton?) Polyester is hard to clean, especially items that are worn or used against the skin like t-shirts and pillowcases.

 hard water can make detergents less effective. Loss of cleaning power would be most apparent on white/light clothes

If you know you don't have iron in your water, I'd try:

 a better detergent, using a bit more if you've been using a low dose. Was your Asko a small "European" sized washer? If your new machine has a larger drum capacity you'll probably need to use more detergent than you did with the Asko.

 I'd also try a load with liquid chlorine bleach. If you don't have iron in your water, it can only help. Follow directions on the package

 Adding a water softener if you have hard water. STPP is a great one

 If the shirts aren't 100% cotton, honestly I'd replace them with ones that are.

    Bookmark   December 11, 2009 at 9:31AM
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lots of ideas there!
Yes, drum to LG is probably 3X the size of the Asko. but still. I find myself being cautioned at every turn not to use too much detergent! I use Kirkland Free and fill the little cup up about 1/2 way. I also use Kirkland FS and also fill that cup up about 1/2 way. Water is softened. Slight amount of iron, but softener does a good job (no yellow/orange in toilets, for example). T shirts are 100% cotton. Workout shirts are poly.

Still doesn't really compute... Do you guys think I should contact LG?

    Bookmark   December 11, 2009 at 11:18AM
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"I use Kirkland Free and fill the little cup up about 1/2 way. I also use Kirkland FS and also fill that cup up about 1/2 way."

Is that powder or liquid? Is 1/2 of the little cup the recommended dose? Or just half? (I'm not familiar with Kirkland detergents.)

Are you positive that your water softener is removing all of the iron?

Yes, I think contacting LG would be a good idea. You may want to have someone look at your water softener too.

    Bookmark   December 11, 2009 at 11:36AM
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My son's three white shirts, all 100% cotton, also have the faint grey splotches on them. I tried an oxy spray and think it lightened the splotches but in the right light, and right angle they are still there. I have fought this problem for years and have never found a solution. It seems to happen when the shirts are older, maybe washed 20 times or more.

    Bookmark   February 24, 2011 at 9:58PM
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My son's three white shirts, all 100% cotton, also have the faint grey splotches on them. I tried an oxy spray and think it lightened the splotches but in the right light, and right angle they are still there. I have fought this problem for years and have never found a solution. It seems to happen when the shirts are older, maybe washed 20 times or more.

    Bookmark   February 24, 2011 at 10:13PM
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I've had the same type of stains show up. Then I switched detergents from Cheer to ALL--Cheer is becoming very difficult to find in my area stores for some reason. Anyway, I tossed in one of my light pink business shirts that had developed one of those mysterious stains right in the center of the chest after a regular washing with Cheer (pretreated & washed several times after stain showed up but stain would not come out) just to see if the ALL made a difference & low & behold when the cycle was finished the stain was 100% gone! I read on another thread that ALL and Fab detergents have chelating agents in them and so they work differently than other detergents. Also that detergents and pretreaters that don't have the chelating agents can make some types of stains worse. I don't claim to be an expert and I'm not certain that the chelating agent thing has anything to do with it--just conjecture on my part, but I do know that I can wear my light pink shirt again thanks to the ALL detergent!

    Bookmark   March 24, 2011 at 1:15AM
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I also have mysterious stains but on all our clothes, not just whites. It is primarily on my childrens clothing, no idea as to why that is. All stains are identical. They are the outline of a cirle and it fits the exact shape and size of the dimples inside the washer drum. The repair man was here this morning and said it has to be something wrong with the washer not something I have done as the store had indicated where we bought it. This washer/dryer set is 2 months old!!! It is ruining my clothes. The only thing he could suggest at this time is that it could be the rear bearing. I would like the appliance store to take it back and give me a new one. We spent $1400 on this set and their bill for all my ruined clothes is adding up. I would love to show you all pictures but I'm not sure how to do. I will let you know what the outcome is.

    Bookmark   June 2, 2011 at 6:57PM
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I've been noticing this as well. We purchased LG steam washer/dryer set in April and I've noticed 3 light colored sweaters are gross with grayish discoloration.

Currently using Kirkland HE and fabric softner. Will have to try ALL and see if that helps...this is definitely getting expensive.

    Bookmark   August 16, 2011 at 7:16PM
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Have you contacted LG? I'm assuming you didn't take advantage of any sort of premium service plan or extended warranty your dealer may have offered you at the time of purchase. This is just the sort of situation these plans are designed to protect you against for a few bucks a month.

    Bookmark   August 17, 2011 at 2:51PM
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@ applianceguypa

My experience with extended warranties is that they are generally a rip-off. On those occasions when someone does want the added protection, do not just buy whatever warranty is offered by the dealer. Do not accept a third party warranty if you can buy one directly from the manufacturer. Extended warranties offered by the manufacturers are usually much better than third party warranties.

    Bookmark   August 18, 2011 at 10:07AM
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I've been getting these spots as well. I have a new LG front loader and I use Kirkland he liquid detergent. I put a brand new work out shirt in the washer that I had only worn once and it came out with grey spots all over. It looks as if big rain drops of grey stains hit it every where. My husbands white 100% cotton t shirts have also been coming out with the same grey spots! Has anyone found a solution? Going to try All detergent, but I am thinking about calling in my LG warranty.

    Bookmark   January 20, 2015 at 11:26PM
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after years since writing this post, I have basically given up. My husband (and mostly him alone) is doomed to replace his light colored shirts on a fairly regular basis. Undershirts are still the worst. My conclusion, lacking any better ideas -- which is crazy because I still cannot believe there are not answers to this -- is some strange cocktail between him and either sweat or deodorant -- though this is definitely NOT confined to the underarm area. Other logical ideas include possible sweat combined with dry cleaning agents from his dress shirts -- though this does not hold up, as his white work out shirts also suffer the same fate, though not as wide spread. I am baffled.

    Bookmark   January 21, 2015 at 5:20PM
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I would try some powder he detergent. Might not help but wouldnt be out that much if it didnt.

    Bookmark   January 22, 2015 at 3:46AM
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I found this blog regarding the grey stains on white/light clothes. I bought a brand new front loader washer thinking that was the issue and found that it did not solve my issue with these stains. In my case it does not always happen but when it does the clothes damaged are ruined with these stains. I have tried to figure this issue out for years. I do use the Kirkland HE blue liquid detergent but always thought it could not be that as thousands of people use Kirkland HE detergent. Has anyone figured this out?

    Bookmark   February 9, 2015 at 1:12AM
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We've had our LG FL for 3-4 years...never an issue with any of the staining you've mentioned. Sorry to hear about your experiences - very frustrating. Good luck.

    Bookmark   February 9, 2015 at 7:13PM
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I have been seeing these grays spots show up on my whites for about 6 months now. I have an LG front loader. I wasn't sure if it was the front loader, the dryer or the Kirkland laundry soap. So I switched from using the Kirkland liquid laundry packets to the just the blue liquid and just now found another spot on a brand new shirt before the dryer. It is either the Kirkland soap or the machine. I'm not sure which but I'm going to find out. I noticed a lot of people have both the LG front loader AND the Kirkland soap and everyone has been assuming it is the machine.

    Bookmark   February 18, 2015 at 4:37PM
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I just looked at another web that suggested that the washer could be harboring thicken undissolved detergent and and dirt and that the washer needs to wiped down in the front seal area and do a cleaning rinse of just chlorine bleach and water. I'm going to try it.

    Bookmark   February 18, 2015 at 4:44PM
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Stacy Warwick

It is not the detergent you mentioned. I have used several brands and we have had these stains since we have owned our LG machine. I purchased the service plan and have had them out three different times for this very issue! Nothing is ever resolved. We just decided to not purchase white anymore. (how frustrating!). I have 8 children and we wash 2-3 loads a day. We have our machine serviced every year and we have learned how to clean and maintain it every few months on our own (i realize it has heavier use than the average household). These machines cost me over 3k with the service plans and I can't tell you how many dress shirts my husband has lost to these! Sad! I found this post when looking "again" for an answer. My daughters brand new pants where ruined tonight... She used her own money to buy these american eagle pants and the waist band is covered in these blue/gray grease looking stains. I don't know how else to explain these... but I paid too much money for this hassle. As for the maintenance plan... we have had the motor in both the washer and dryer replaced (worth the money for our family!). Only we have lost so much in clothing... i am disappointed. Tomorrow, I am requesting a new washer... we will see what they say. But, enough is enough! Good thing I still look at them and love the pretty red color...LOL~ Trying to find a silver lining???
ps, i have never heard anyone using "too little detergent". Every time we get it serviced (every 12 months) they go over "less is more". We use about 1-2tbs per load. Other than these mysterious stains, our clothing comes out smelling fresh and clean. I even cloth diaper and use the sanitize cycle every three days (the drum gets a good cleaning every week!). There is also a cycle on my machine to clean the unit (we try to do it often... that is one area we fail in). But, I think we do enough to not have to deal with these stains!

    Bookmark   March 13, 2015 at 12:17AM
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Perhaps it has something to do with an acne product / face wash / hair gel as you seem to complain about shirts and no other articles of clothing.


    Bookmark   March 13, 2015 at 5:09AM
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I found this post because I was googling light grey stains. I am having the same problem, except it is on my infant daughters clothes. It seems to only show up on the front of her shirts and onesies. I don't have an LG, I have a whirlpool front loader. We use all free and clear and it still happens. I haven't noticed it on any other clothes except hers. All other whites get bleached though, so I guess that's why. Thinking it may be a grease stain from fabric softener I put Dawn soap on it, left it overnight and washed it again. Nope they are still there. I have no idea either what they are, but it's so frustrating. I'm going to try soaking the affected clothes in oxyclean and see if that helps. So frustrating!

    Bookmark   March 20, 2015 at 9:07AM
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Nancy Islas

Well has anyone figured out these grey stains? This is so frustrating! I continue to damage light clothes. I just put in a $45 tennis skirt into the washer and it came out with a circular grey stain. Here are some pictures.

    Bookmark   March 21, 2015 at 8:17PM
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Nancy Islas

    Bookmark   March 21, 2015 at 8:19PM
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To me it looks like it might have gotten caught between the tub rim around the edge because it looks like streaks in places. I would try washing things like this in the mesh bags and see if you get a torn or snagged mesh bag. You might soak this in Biz and get that out. Sorry I don't have a better answer. If it was me, I would buy a box of powder Tide with Bleach HE and use it everytime I washed whites. There is none better to me. If it doesn't help you arent out that much money. Worth a try. For me, powder just can't be beat.

    Bookmark   March 22, 2015 at 1:08AM
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I am having the same issue! It seems to have started about 3 months ago. We have had our LG front loading washer and dryer about 2 years now. I have not been able to pinpoint whether it is the washer or dryer, but after reading through these posts, it sounds like it is the washer. It just ruined a pair of white pants I have and I am so frustrated! It started with my son's white sheets, then my white t-shirts and now a rarely worn pair of white pants. I am going to call LG and have the machines serviced, but from what I've read, I am not very hopeful.

    Bookmark   March 22, 2015 at 5:12PM
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And, by the way, I have never used Kirkland Detergent, I usually use Dreft or Woolite or Cheer.

    Bookmark   March 22, 2015 at 5:25PM
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Nancy Islas

What city do the folks having this issue live in? I wonder if it's the water in Anaheim? My washer was a three months old when I saw the issue happen again. My tub rim is clean, I wipe it down after every wash. I will post the most recent stain on a skirt that is circular.

    Bookmark   March 22, 2015 at 8:06PM
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Nancy Islas

    Bookmark   March 22, 2015 at 8:18PM
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Nancy Islas

Since nothing gets this stain out, it would appear to be grease. I was thinking of routing the washer drain hose to a large bucket and collecting the water to see if I see signs of grease in the water. I already was in tab only so the water from the water heater is not being used. The plumber says it is no way it is the copper pipes. The LG washers are ne so where is the grease coming from? I ran a lot of water directly into large jugs from the cold water pipe tat connects to the washer. This is driving me crazy!

    Bookmark   March 22, 2015 at 8:24PM
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Didn't someone else say they are having the same problem but have a Whirlpool machine? The only other thing I know is either you take the tub out and see what if anything is in the outer tub or hire it done OR buy a new machine. If you keep ruining clothes it wouldn't take long to pay for one through the replacement of clothes.

    Bookmark   March 22, 2015 at 10:08PM
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@Nancy Islas - I live in Newbury Park. We do have pretty hard water and I think we will look into a water softening system, but I'm not sure if that is going to work. I'm going to call LG this week for service.

    Bookmark   March 23, 2015 at 6:53AM
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I have the same problem with my front loading machine - big gray blotches on whites, and whites just not looking clean, Driving me crazy too. Used to do it with my bosch and now with my GE too. Thought maybe my machine was just dirty, but use the self-clean cycle and still seems to be doing it. Frustrating that I really can't buy whites anymore. And I would love to have crisp/clean looking white sheets or towels (which also bunch up like crazy so they don't really seem to have a chance to get clean) but I don't buy those anymore either ... wish there was an answer!

    Bookmark   Yesterday at 7:14PM
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