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Mysterious Grease Stains on Clothing and Stinky Towels

At first I thought that it was our washing machine that caused the little "grease" spots on my shirts. We got a new washer and the problems seemed to go away for maybe a month and then were back.


ALSO, our bath towels, first time you use them after they are washed, they stink like old stinky towels. IMMEDIATELY, as soon as you get them wet, you can smell the "yucky towel" smell.

What can I do to solve these two laundry problems?

Ann Washburn


Dryer Sheets

I don't know about the stink, unless it's a defective washer, but I quit using dryer sheets years ago because they were leaving little greasy spots on everything. (08/25/2004)

By Vicki

Not The Washer

NOT a defective washer. I mentioned, we thought that was the problem and bought a new washer and are still having the problem. Just like Barb, I get my grease spots with hang up, no dryer clothes. (08/27/2004)

By Ann Washburn

Line Drying Doesn't Help

As I said in my original post....we DID buy a new washer thinking that we had a defective one, Susan, so that isn't the problem.


Barb, I also get the problem of grease stains even on line dry clothing. so I know that dryer sheets aren't the problem, Vicki, but thanks for the suggestion. (08/27/2004)

By Ann Washburn

Some Ideas

Do you ever use liquid softener? They say that your dispenser can get goopy and leave grease spots. It is mysterious that it would start happening again a month after you got a new washer. It seems as though it must be either something that comes in on the clothes, in the water or in something you add to the washer to clean the clothes.

As far as the stinky towels are concerned, try adding 1/2 cup of white vinegar to each load of wash. It's best if it's added in the final rinse for the towels but adding it to the wash water might help with the grease spot problems.


Susan (08/27/2004)

By ThriftyFun


Regarding your grease spots, you may want to check the hoses going to the washer. I had the same problem and once I replaced the hoses, I haven't had the problem since. (08/30/2004)

By Donna in Kansas

Keep Washers Upright

I used to own an appliance store, and would get this question occasionally - always from people who picked up and installed the washer themselves. Washing machines should always remain upright - NEVER laid over during delivery or installation. This causes the oil in the motor to leak out, and into your laundry, sometimes for the life of the washer. If it was delivered and installed by the store, and you observed it being laid over, contact the store and ask for a replacement.

As far as stinky towels goes, I've given up on ever owning pretty decorator colors. I only buy white or beige towels, always wash them separately in hot water with a small amount of bleach, and put them into the dryer immediately afterward. Letting them sit (even overnight) makes them stinky, and I have to re-wash. (10/01/2004)


By Kathy Jones

Oil Leak

It could be oil leaking from washer, call a repairman! (04/06/2005)

By Jen

My Experience

I have been researching this for days, here is what I have found. Either there is too many clothes in the washer and to little water or the detergent is not dissolved enough. If you overload your washer the soil in the clothes can not dissolve properly because there is not enough water. So then the soil just rests on clothes. Or, there is not enough detergent for the amount of clothes to break up the soil. I read that if you use a dry detergent, let that dissolve in water first before adding your clothes. Use the warmest water possible for the type of clothing you are using. Do not over load washer and use the highest amount of water. I have tried this and finally, something works. Also, I read pouring a can of Coke in your washer with detergent gets out any oil stain. And, it works! (06/16/2005)


By Somer

Vinegar and Lemon Juice

I've been having similar problems. When I wash whites, I end up getting little grease balls on the material. When I try to remove them, the stain just spreads and I have to wash all over again. I use fabric softener COMFORT. I've heard that you need to put the washer on a hot long cycle and add 2 cups of vinegar or lemon juice. Also check the powder and fabric softener containers. Smelly towels - It only happens with the really heavy ones. Good luck (01/12/2006)

By Colette (Argentina).

Stronger Detergent

Just last week I called Sears to arrange a repair because my front-loading washing machine left dark brown spots on white sheets. I had been using a mild detergent (from the health food store) up until a month ago when I switched to Sunlight for Sensitive Skin. The person at Sears figured out that my mild detergent hadn't always been dissolving the dirt and grime from our clothes which was then deposited on the plastic drum that encases the stainless steel basket. When I started using a stronger detergent the grease was being washed off the plastic outer basket and ending up on the sheets.


I have always used hot water for towels and sheets, but the new detergent was more effective at cutting the grime. An appliance repairman in my town also recommended that I should wash a load of rags with "Iron Out". After that I washed the same sheets again and so far the spots haven't come back. Apparently using cold water for most of your washing loads allows for this kind of buildup, as well. The person on the phone at Sears saved me an expensive repair bill. (07/18/2006)

By Kathleen


I too had the mysterious spots on my white sheets and had a film build up on the glass and steel face of my sears front load washer. I had been using mild detergent and started using a stronger one. Apparently this was the problem. To fix it, I tried washing with a can of coke but it didn't work for me. I then tried using "Iron Spot" with detergent on a load of rags. And tried a second time. It worked somewhat. I finally had success with my own formula: I filling the washer with hot water and the Iron Spot, added the rags, detergent and 1/2 cup of rock salt. Finally it cleared things up! (08/07/2006)

By Jeff

Washing Soda

I don't have the spots but I noticed with my HE front load washer, it smells if the door is not left open between loads (maybe overnight) to dry out. I also use about a half cup of Super Washing Soda with my towels. I put it IN the washer and just use soap in the dispenser. Works like a dream. It has a very high PH and gets off all build up. I also use the SWS in my bathroom sink drain every few weeks to remove built up shave cream from DH. Hope this helps. PS-I use a few drops of Tea Tree Oil in the rinse cycle when I wash the pet bed covers. Removes all other odors. (08/07/2006)

By Connie Jo

Hydrogen Peroxide

The cheapest most efficient way I've found is to add a cup of hydrogen peroxide to the water, along with the detergent before adding the clothes.

Someone sent me a forward that had this info: You can add a cup of peroxide instead of bleach to a load of whites in your laundry to whiten them. If there is blood on clothing, pour directly on the soiled spot. Let it sit for a minute, then rub it and rinse with cold water. Repeat if necessary.

I've also used ammonia on underarm sweat stains, just soak for a while and then wash as usual and it takes the stains out.

Let me know if any of this helps, (08/08/2006)

By Tina Brown

Dryer Sheets

it is caused by fabric softener and dryer sheets! It took my husband and I years to figure it out, and lots of ruined clothes. No more of either item, they are full of petroleum. (08/14/2006)

By Maureen

Mysterious Grease Stains on Clothing and Stinky Towels

I work at a dry cleaners and we also have the same problem but not every washing, apparently it is in the water and it is grease. Since working there, I have noticed it on my own clothes after washing as well. It is especially noticeable on reds! Re-washing sometimes will remove it but the ultimate sure fire way... have them dry cleaned, the solvent removes the grease. I know not cheap but on something that is worth it it works! (01/11/2007)

By Sandy

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