Why Your Washer is Leaving Residue on Your Clothing

Fleet Appliance
November 25, 2019
Washer Repair

Did you open up your washer, all ready to grab yourself a hunk of damp clothing to toss it in your dryer only to find that everything feels a little weird? If your clothing is slimy, sticky, or has visible residue on it, then they aren’t clean. Rather, they are clean, but they aren’t rinsed. There are circumstances in which this can be a one-time occurrence. However, if it is happening often, you need to troubleshoot the issue so you can fix the cause for the sake of your clothing and your sanity. You don’t want to have to do an extra rinse of your clothing after each wash forever.

How to Remove Residue on Clothing?

Before you troubleshoot, you have a load of laundry that needs to be dealt with. Unfortunately, how to remove the residue from your clothing is highly dependent on what is causing it. The obvious solution is to run the load again on a rinse-only cycle. Unfortunately, for many of the causes of this issue, that is not going to help.

If you think a problem with your washer was the cause of residue build up on your clothes, then the simplest way to continue on with your load of laundry is to rinse it in your tub. It is a major chore, but you need to rinse and wring out your clothes with fresh water before you put them in the dryer. If you don’t rinse residue off your clothing before it gets dried, it will have a distinctly unpleasant feel to it and will be a magnet for dirt. You can let this laundry sit until you troubleshoot the washer, but be aware that the longer damp clothing sits, the more it becomes a target from smelly mildew growth.

Overloaded Washer

We all know the urge. You have a lot of dirty clothes and doing more than one load is a lot of work. You have like two extra t-shirts that you can just wedge on in there. Unfortunately, if your washer is literally packed tight, your clothes won’t come out clean. They need to agitate in order to be washed efficiently. Furthermore, when packed in tightly, your clothing won’t be able to efficiently rinse either. This means you are likely to get heavy residue on your clothing.

Luckily, if overloading was your issue, the only thing you have to do is rinse about half your laundry at a time in the washer and then place it in the dryer. It will be fine once rinsed. Of course, you will want to learn from this and not pack your washer so tightly next time.

Clogged Drain Hose

If you have a drain hose clog, you might suspect you would have standing water at the end of your load, but in truth, a hose could be clogged, but still drain. If your drain hose is partially clogged and draining slowly, it will likely leave your clothes more damp and covered in residue.

To check your drain hose, you can disconnect it at the back of your washer and from the standpipe and visually inspect if it has a clog in it. There is also the possibility that the actual drain pump is clogged as well. Lint can build up and even small items of clothing like socks can make their way to this area and clog it up. However, checking your drain pump should be left until last after you have checked all the other culprits because it does require some disassembly of your appliance in order to check it.

Supply Hose or Supply Valve Issues

It is distinctly possible that your washer is not getting the amount of water that it needs to function properly. During the actual wash cycle, it may be able to get your clothes clean with the amount of water it receives, but getting your clothing rinsed during the rinse cycle is another story. If your supply hose is blocked or the supply valves are not open all the way, your washer may not get enough water.

This problem is most likely to happen if you needed to move or disconnect your washer, such as if you were doing another repair. The supply hose can become kinked and you may not have opened the supply valves enough when turning them back on. Check both of these.

There are some cases where the supply hose can clog, typically there is a filter at the end of the hose by the supply valve that will catch any particles. Turn off the supply valve, disconnect the hose, and check this filter for blockages.

Too Much Detergent Use

When it comes to laundry detergent, more does not equal cleaner clothing. Using way more detergent than necessary generally means that it is not all going to be guaranteed to be washed away. In some cases, like using regular detergent in a high-efficiency washer, you are going to have a suds emergency on your hands. Use both the recommended amount of detergent and the kind of detergent recommended for your washer. This also goes for a fabric softener that will leave your clothes not feeling softer, but rather greasier if you use too much.

If you did use too much of either detergent or fabric softener, you can run your load on a rinse only cycle and it will take care of it before you place it in your dryer.

Dirty Washer

Overall, your washer is generally pretty good at keeping itself clean. However, it does have some areas that are prone to getting dirty. The seal on front load washers, for example, can grow mold and trap some detergent residue. Over time, there may be areas of your washer that don’t get thoroughly rinsed and result in residue on clothing. However, typically this will not result in huge amounts of residue on your clothing so much as it will just be smelly when not in use.

Regardless, if you have gotten some residue spots on a few pieces of clothing, it may be time to clean your washer. Running a long hot wash load with vinegar or Affresh is a quick way to solve this issue.


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