Mysterious Grease Stains on Clothing

I have a Maytag Neptune front-loading washer that is about 4 years old. In the past 2 years, I've noticed greasy/oily looking spots on some of the darker colored clothes coming out. I've been through every possible remedy, even the ridiculous tablets Maytag said I should use, to no avail. I only use detergents for HE machines, and the smallest amount possible. I do not use liquid fabric softener at all.


I have run the machine empty with hot water and bleach, with hot water and vinegar, even done 2 cleanings in a row, even though the thought of wasting that much water totally did not sit well with me. But at the same time, I have some articles of clothing that don't get worn, just washed over and over because each time I wash, old spots might go away but new ones appear.

Anyone else have the same problem? What are some other solutions? I'm really at my wit's end with this stupid machine.

By Valorie from Arlington, WA


Mysterious Grease Stains on Clothing

Are you on city water or a well? When I had a well, my laundry used to get mysterious oily spots. Don't know if it came from the water or possibly the well pump. (04/19/2009)

By vickie guy

Mysterious Grease Stains on Clothing

I have used a Kenmore front load washing machine for over six years without any problems. I recommend these machines for various reasons. They clean well without using too much water or electricity. The first week I used it, my family actually noticed how much cleaner their clothes looked. The dark clothes were actually brighter and the whites were whiter. This was a big deal for me since, as in most families, husbands and kids do not usually make comments about things like this.


But it is used differently than a top load machine. It's not difficult, just a different way of thinking. You have to avoid too many suds. Suds do not clean clothes. You have to take into consideration the bulk of the clothing or the way the clothing holds water when wet when loading the machine, not the size of the load.

You should not mix heavy clothing and light clothing together. For example, heavy jeans and light nightgowns together, this is not even distribution. The jeans hold more water than the nightgowns. This will cause imbalance in any washer. Read the manual from the manufacturer to fully understand how the front loader works.

Since the front load machine doesn't have an agitator, it holds more than what it appears to. I have a small machine but can fit king size bedding into it.


I mix one box each of washing soda and Borax together, and add 1/4 cup or more, depending on the load, to the bottom of the drum. This was recommended by the manufacturer. I use 1/4 cap or more, again, depending on the load, of any cheap liquid clothes detergent.

I pre-treat any oily type of stains with Greased Lightning, a degreaser, bought at Wal-mart. This will take out oil stains even after being dried in the dryer. The treatment may have to be repeated once. I add a mixture of half vinegar and water as a rinse about once a month.

I use hot water for sheets, towels, and cotton whites. The rest of the clothes are washed in warm water. I always rinse in cold water.

On occasion I will use diluted bleach. When I feel any load needs some extra cleaning, I will let the washer get the clothes really wet and then turn it off for about one-half hour or more. I then restart the washer.


This method works for me. I feel every household has different laundry issues. If you have kids, you have different types of dirt, depending on what type of job you do, your clothes may get dirtier than others. Also, the type of water you have makes a big difference in how you may have to wash clothes.

Since I have city water and our water is hard, I use washing soda and Borax together, this helps soften the water, and boosts the laundry detergent's cleaning ability. You have to use more detergents/cleaners when you have hard water. I have used soft water and hard water, and there is a big difference.

I must mention that I think any clothes washer should have the lid/door kept open when not in use. I keep the dispenser drawer open on my front loader. This will help to prevent mildew/mold.


I am a big advocate of keeping anything in the house as dry as possible. Bacteria causes mold/mildew, it grows in moist/dark places. Circulation in any room is important. My husband jokingly says he feels he lives in a wind tunnel at times.

I realize some front loaders are not made all the same, and may have some manufacturer defects. My advice is to contact the company and be persistent if you feel that it is their responsibility to fix it. I have had major appliances fixed by the manufacturers when their warranties were up. One was a dryer that stopped working after only 18 months of use. The other was a defective air conditioner which was actually still under warranty, but the manufacturer (GE) did not want to honor it. They offered me a $50.00 rebate for a $230.00 air conditioner. This is a long story and I have already written enough, but in the end, I was given a complete refund.


Sorry this is so detailed and lengthy, but I am hoping someone will benefit from my over thirty years of experience of running a household. As you can tell, I like giving advice. (04/23/2009)

By it'

Mysterious Grease Stains on Clothing

Don't buy a new washer. I had this problem with our seven year old Neptune and tried everything I could think of to get rid of the spots. We finally decided it must be the bearings or a seal that was leaking oil. I bought a new LG two months ago. Things were okay for the first couple of weeks. Then the spots started showing up again. They are the worst on my kids' red school uniform shirts.

I have tried several different detergents, running the tub cleaning cycle, adding degreaser the detergent, adding water softener. Nothing works. I think the spots are actually worse when I use the water softener. I also wash their shirts in hot water using the extra water setting. Still spots. Also, I tried diluting the detergent before adding it to the machine. I am going to try running some CLR soap scum remover through the machine. I have to think that detergent is building up in the lines that deliver it to the tub and that chunks of it dislodge and end up on the clothing. I'm at my wits end and am very mad that I went out and bought a new machine for nothing! (05/19/2009)

By Julie Summers

Mysterious Grease Stains on Clothing

About three times in the last five years, my 25 year old Maytag has started getting black grease spots on my clothes. I have been able to remove the grease stains with elbow grease, a toothbrush and Wisk. I was not sure from where in the washing machine they were coming from, but thanks to the posts here, I am sure it is the seal on the transmission as others have mentioned. My Maytag washer and dryer have not needed one single repair in 25 years. I guess it is about time. It doesn't get any better than this. Since they quit making quality products in the US sometime ago, I am sure the next one will be a different story! (12/23/2009)

By Donna

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