Keeping Well Water from Staining Clothing

I recently moved to a home with well water and the stains are ridiculous. I'm getting over the tub, sink and toilet stains, but I am a chef and my coats are made of some crazy stain absorbing fabric apparently. All of my coats now look as if I've been washing them in half water, half coffee. Is there any way to keep the stains in my water from getting into my coats while still getting them clean? Is there a difference in the amount of staining that hot water can do opposed to cold water?


Kathryn from Tampa, Florida

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December 4, 20080 found this helpful
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My family had well water for many years, and I had the same problem. I used to take all the light-colored clothes to the laundramat; no amount of bleach or detergent, or anything else could make the clothes white. Our water also had a mineral taste, and little "floaties" hanging around in it; we bought drinking water in gallon jugs every week for drinking water. (we lived far out in the country where water delivery from a water supplier was not available.) Eventually, we had to buy a water system that cleaned all the water before it came into the house. At that time, we rented the system from Culligan; they do not rent anymore, you have to purchase the system, and maintain it yourself. Other water-purifying systems made by different companies are an option as well. I would recommend this as something to look into; it seemed to be the best solution for the problem. (no more hauling clothes for a family of nine all around the country to be washed, yay!) Hope this helps, good luck. from: Been There, Done That

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December 5, 20080 found this helpful
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Sounds like you have iron in your water. To see if that is so, pour a little water into a white container. Add a little bleach. If the water turns an amber color - you've got iron. I too have the same problem, but solved it in two ways.

First, eliminate using detergent that contains any type of bleach. I used to swear by Tide, only to find it contained bleach. In Canada, we have "Sunlight" detergent that does not contain bleach. What a difference it made to the laundry. Don't know if you have Sunlight, but read the labels. Same great result with the dishwasher by switching to ElectoSol without bleach.

The other, more expensive, solution is a water softener combined with an aerator. Don't soak anything in your water. If you must soak something, do it with bottled water.

Good Luck,

Joyce in Ottawa (BTW, I have a daughter in Brandon)

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December 9, 20080 found this helpful
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When we lived in Georgia (think iron-rich red clay!) the one way they were able to keep the kids softball uniforms white was to wash them in CASCADE powder-style dishwasher detergent in warm to hot water. It was able to remove the iron and clean the uniforms quite well - even on synthetics. Cascade may not be good for colors though so test carefully.

My in-laws had the same problem and finally bought a water-softener. More expensive in the short term, but thought that it made up for it in less damaged clothing and fixtures.

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December 4, 20080 found this helpful

I live the same life with our water! We recently did install a water softener and WOW, that made a huge difference. Definitely worth every penny! Meanwhile, Rit makes a rust remover that I used occasionally. Read directions carefully and I would only do the whites. Good luck and hang in there.

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December 9, 20080 found this helpful

I have iron in my well water that stains my clothes and also my dishes. But I purchase a product from Wal-Mart called "IRON-OUT" and add that to my white clothes. Make sure that you don't put any colored clothes in as it may take the color out. I also soak my dishes in a mixture of IRON-OUT and hot water occasionally to get rid of the stains. Rinse well before using your dishes.

Harlean from Arkansas

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June 23, 20090 found this helpful

Sears water softner is the answer. All the stories before mine, are mine. Softener from Sears has lasted us 20 years and we just had to replace it. Just run a separate line for drinking water. hard water doesn't hurt for drinking, and its better for you then bottled or soften water. But go with the softener it saves all appliances in your house and your clothes and it really isn't expensive to run. Your showers will be better too.

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In This Article
Concerned looking woman checking clean laundry for stains
Keeping Well Water from Staining Clothing
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Cleaning Well Water Stains from a Bathtub
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Washing Machine Staining Clothing
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