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Well Water Stains

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We have well water out here at the farm and I am constantly having to rewash items of clothing that have gotten those awful rust stains on them. I have been using baking soda in the first cycle, and it has cut down on some of the rewashing, but not all.

Most of the things we wash are cotton shirts and my husbands work pants (jeans or khakis). Also, the kids clothing (mostly cotton or poly-cotton blends) is getting a lot of abuse. Is there any way to stop this cycle and restore my clothing? It is such a waste to have to keep rewashing things. I have lost more clothes to this water than to anything I can think of. Please help.

Thanks!
Missy in Seguin, TX

Recent Answers

Here are the recent answer to this question.

By sososleepy (Guest Post)01/06/2009

I have the same problem in Florida. We got a filter system that has resin that removes the tannins and smell, and charcoal that cleans the water a bit more after. It helps a LOT, but if the salt/citric acid solution runs low, or we don't backwash on time, it gets awful again fast.

Does anyone know what I can wash my hair in to get the lighter color I used to have back? What removes tannins from hair safely?

By Nicole B. (Guest Post)07/10/2008

I have a dual softner however, the whites do not stay white after about 5 or 6 washes. I will try iron out to see if it works. I tried purex one time in the bathtub and it turned orange. So, I have stayed away from purex.

By Joan Brent (Guest Post)03/08/2008

We have a dug well and had some iron problems. We purchased iron filters for $2400 and it was much better. Then we got dark stains again. They said it was not iron but tannin and we needed a water softener. We are going to give up on the well and get our water from the lake. Meanwhile I am still cleaning tubs and clothes. White clothes and linens are terrible. I will try the oxyclean for the whites. Simple green works pretty well on the tubs. I am going to get a steam cleaner and see how that works because you don't need chemicals. Iron out works on whites only but makes you sick from the fumes.

By tammy owens [1]02/24/2006

A well that is not deep enough to get cleaner water can also be a problem, a shallow well is full of iron and dirt, a well should be at least 50 to 75 ft deep to get good water. Its a suggestion, sometimes its just where you live, and think of this, when you drink it ,it cloggs your arteries as well as your pipes in your house.slowing down pressure.

By Angel (Guest Post)08/03/2005

It is not suggested for laundry, but I used "Bar Keepers Friend" (found in the cleaning aisle at wal-mart and most grocery stores) in my wash for several years until I finally had an Iron-clear system installed by Culligan. I had extremely high iron level in my well water. The Iron-clear system is well worth the money when you consider the money you spend in cleaners for your laundry, extra washings, cleaners for your sinks and toilets ( Bar Keepers is excellent for that also) when you clean your floors and furniture and walls you are just smearing that rust water around, you are bathing in it, your hair probably has an orange-red tint to it ( mixing lemon-aid in your shampoo and washing your hair works wonders) If you don't want to go with culligan, I'm sure there are other companies out there with compareable products if you shop around

By Bella [1]08/01/2005

We were having loads of problems and found out our pipes were causing the problem. At the time we had copper pipes. Boy what a mess they made even our hair turned different colors. Well we replace all the pipes to both houses as we are on the same well. Installed plastic piping of some sorts and put a water filter onto the line coming into each house. What a difference it made and the beauty shop area i have for just us 3 gals is so much better. The taste of the water is 100% better and we use the white string laced filter. Bought a britta and keep 3 pictures of water in the fridg. Best water around for drinking. Everyone that comes here drinks the water and tell us how good it is. Good luck as i went through a lot of bad water before we could afford to repair this mess here in North Carolina...
Tonya

By Missy08/01/2005

I did think of that. I also heard that Oxy Clean might be able to help. I'm gonna try both and see what I come up with! Thanks!

By (Guest Post)08/01/2005

Living with rusty well water for many years, the only product I have found to keep my white clothes bright and white is Iron Out. It is usually found in the hardware deptartment. Just add a little with your normal detergent and it will keep them from browning. It also works well for cleaning the bathroom, but be forewarned, the sulfur smell is potent so make sure you can open up a few windows before and during use.

As for your darks/colors, stick with the baking soda. Iron Out will damage them.

By Ashley (Guest Post)07/31/2005

We have well water, and it turns our clothes orange in the washer. We have used Iron-Out and it works. You add it into the water. I think I have used it on our tub, it just smells. You can buy it at walmart on the aisle with the bathroom cleaner and that. Hope it helps

By Susan Sanders-Kinzel [9]07/31/2005

I am looking to find a product to clean well water stains off my clothes, washer tub, bathroom sinks and toilets.......It is difficult to find anything that will do clothes AND bathroom facilities. I look forward to any answers you have.
Thanks,
Liz

01/06/2002

Maybe a water softener would prevent those stains, eliminating the need for a product to remove them after the fact.

Rose B, mother of three, in NC

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