Dryer Leaving Oily Spots on Clothing?

I am having issues with my dryer leaving what looks like oil spots on a lot of my clothes that will not wash out. I have tried to eliminate all possibilities, cheap detergent, dryer sheets, even filling the washer with water and detergent before adding clothes. It doesn't happen to all my clothes, but enough. Is there anybody that has experienced this type of issue, and if so, how did you resolve it. Any info will be greatly appreciated.


Bryson from Nashville, TN

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By tracy (Guest Post)
November 14, 20070 found this helpful

Call a repair man your motor in the dryer could be causing it, or leaving lip stick or pens in your pockets.


Silver Feedback Medal for All Time! 290 Feedbacks
November 14, 20071 found this helpful

There might be some oil leaking from the motor through the vent in the back of the dryer into the rotating drum. This is just a thought that came to me.

Come to think of it, I believe the motor is on the bottom. Could some oil be leaking in from a drive shaft that turns the drum?

November 16, 20070 found this helpful

Are you sure it is from your dryer? I have had that before and found out it was because the transmission from the washing machine had gone out and was losing the oil in the drum, splattering all of my clothes. It was more noticeable on my whites.


I hope this isn't the case but it might be a possibility. Good Luck.

November 16, 20070 found this helpful

Do you use liquid fabric softner? It can leave spots - I've always been able to get them out by rewashing.

April 10, 20230 found this helpful

I have also found that dryer sheets have oils in them and my blacks come out with oily spots. My dryer was recently serviced and I don't use any softener. I take a toothbrush and dip it into a partial cup of liquid detergent and lightly rub the spots.


That usually works for me. I have those paper ones that dissolve but found they aren't cleaning men's shirts well.

November 17, 20070 found this helpful

Sounds like your washer or dryer is leaking oil. You will probably have to call a repair man for this one.

By kathy watson (Guest Post)
November 17, 20070 found this helpful

Happens to me too! I notice the spots on dark blue or black t-shirts mostly. I really can't believe that my washer and dryer are leaking oil because my old machines did it too. New machines, same oily spots!! I thought this only happened to me. At least we know we aren't crazy!!

January 17, 20190 found this helpful

I have a brand new he hexwasher and gas dryer. I quit using pods in washer, I quit using liquid fabric softener, I started letting washer fill with water b4 adding LIQUID detergent. Rewashing fixes greasy spots IF I spray with oxy clean and soak clothes in direct. I think my issue is with dryer bc spots are not seen whenvremoved from washer.


Ugh. 2000k for this set and have spent over 2k replacing my husbands dress clothes for work. Still have the problem. Wish someone had a better answer. Ready to sit this pair to curb and buy and old set bc I never ever had this problem. GE will do nothing , I might add. Its always the consumers fault.

October 17, 20200 found this helpful

Same with me, new set same spots. Did you every solve the mystery?

By sue (Guest Post)
November 19, 20070 found this helpful

I had the same problem. I have a brand new wash and dryer. I just thought it was my old one. I think it is from liquid fabric softener. When I rewashed the clothing it came out. I now only use dryer sheets for my darks and haven't had any problems.

November 22, 20070 found this helpful

A couple of my friends and I, too, had this problem
at one time. We all found that by either changing
liquid fabric softener or diluting it, or adding it by


hand when the rinse cycle was swishing around,
and not in the dispenser helped.
Rewashing the items removed them for me.

By nickie (Guest Post)
April 2, 20080 found this helpful

I have been having this same problem for months now, I don't use liquid fabric softner, I have had both machines serviced, it seems to only happen to mine and my 18 month old's dark clothes. Ah! I've tried washing and drying inside out, nothing seems to work! I'm starting to think it is something in my water! Sorry I can't help, can anyone else?

By Karen (Guest Post)
September 17, 20080 found this helpful

I don't use liquid fabric softner or dryer sheets but do use laundry soap WITH softner, could this be the cause?

By (Guest Post)
October 1, 20080 found this helpful

I am reading my own complaint exactly. We are now in the process of dealing with the actual water coming into our home. We replaced water softner/hot water tank and now after having my washer/dryer serviced 4-5 times bought new ones and my first load had same issues.


Mostly on darker cottons(shirts). We have been told it could possibly be mangenise(not sure of spelling) in the water so we are currently getting tested now. Hope this helps.

By Carol (Guest Post)
December 1, 20080 found this helpful

It is so good to see others with the same problem. My friend and I are ready to send the clothes to CSI to get an answer! We too bought a new washer and dryer......same spots. I recently thought I had this sovled by using powder laundry detergent and dryer sheets. But, alas, spots yesterday. We thought it may be the water too but my friend has well water and we have city. There has to be an answer out there somewhere.

By leslie (Guest Post)
December 9, 20080 found this helpful

I had the same thing hapen to me, my parents thought I was crazy. I bought new clothes and took them to the laundry mat to wash them and brought them home to dry and got the same spots on clothes that were not washed in my home washing mechine that I had origianlly thought was the problem now I know its the dryer. I too changed from liquid detergent to powders etc. trying to figure the problem out.

June 3, 20090 found this helpful

A solution and explanation that have worked for me:

I have had the same problem a number of times-- oil stains on dark clothes coming straight out of dryer; I assumed machine oil from the dryer, but the posts here suggesting fabric softener got me on the right track. I have a hand-me-down top-load Frigidaire washer and new Whirlpool Dryer. I never use fabric softener, but the prior owner may have because there is waxy buildup around and in the dispenser cup. On close examination (brushing fresh stains lightly with water and also feeling the stains' texture-- especially on smooth, thin cotton), I discovered that, surprisingly, the stains feel like wax at room temp.

I took out the dispenser cup completely and re- washed immediately with hot water. It worked!, and I am talking on a thoroughly stained batch of blue and black cotton t-shirts, summer dresses and polos. I have looked at other forums, and machine oil is apparently a possibility, but for me it looks like it was waxy residue from the dispenser (softener or maybe even something else) that doesn't dissolve in my usual cold wash, gets on the clothes in tiny amounts, and then goes in the hot dryer to cause those usually round, dark stains.

March 4, 20110 found this helpful

So whatever happened? I am having the same problem...
Little background
Last few years I have replaced my soft water unit
Changed my detergent...liquid to powder and brand several times.
Stopped using fabric softer in both my washer and dryer.
Had maintenance work and cleaned both units inside and out.
Finally got so frustrated went out and bought a new traditional washer and dryer, as I thought maybe soap was dripping down some how with my front load washer.
Guess what? I am still getting the spots!
I have never used fabric softener in my new washer and dryer. And I have again used both liquid and powder and switched brands

May 7, 20110 found this helpful

The only thing everybody has in common , they use a washing machine soap.
Perhaps ALL soaps have one problem incredient in common and that is why so many different scenarios cause the same problem.

July 31, 20110 found this helpful

I'm glad to know others are having spotting problems. I get the roundish grease-like stains on clean clothes that come out of the drier. Hard to tell if it's happening in the washer because, of course, the clothes are wet. But I have used Spray n Wash Stain Stick for years on all our stains and it works well on these mysterious spots too. It's just a pain rewashing 2 or 3 shirts from every load.

October 1, 20121 found this helpful

I just want to point out that several people who have posted comments about this issue have mentioned that they have had the washer repaired and are STILL getting the spots. So to those others who keep suggesting that its an issue with the motor, or transmission leaking oil, please pay attention to the comments before making suggestions. Obviously this common particular laundry stain is not coming from a leak. Another clue - most people say that the stains are only on the front of the clothing. What would make more sense is the hypothesis that it is a chemical reaction from things that get on the front of our clothing during the day, which are invisible to the naked eye, reacting with the soap and water in the washer. The reaction becomes evident after the clothes are dried.

May 4, 20210 found this helpful

I get the spots on the front AND the back of my t-shirts.

April 5, 20130 found this helpful

As a NYC apartment dweller I have been using commercial washers and dryers forever, but lately I too have been noticing these oily type blotches on clothing. By the process of elimination, (line- drying) was ale to point to the culprit, the dryer. Somehow when they're maintained, I don't believe they (commercial establishment) do a thorough maintenance job. Somehow, I do believe that oil is seeping into the dryer tub and not an issue with fabric softener. Humble deduction only.

May 18, 20180 found this helpful

Some 20 yrs ago my sis & I discovered dryer sheets probable culprit for grease-like stains on colored, mostly knits or blends. Since then neither of us have use sheets or liquid softeners. 3 yrs ago I bought new washer/dryer for main floor as unsafe to navigate basement stairs. Grease spots again! Same water, same detergent. Started hanging clothes stead of drying. Same problem, so washer culprit. Used several washer cleaners no help. Logic told me that if washer leaking oil, it would be on all clothes but rarely on sheets, towels, underwear. Only my good stuff! Recently washed barely worn 100 percent rayon blouse. Large grease-like spot on very front! Hand-washed & used Shout, only thing I've found that gets these stains out at least sometimes (I have no connection to Johnson Co.). Hung up. Ok. But arthritic hands make hand-washing, wringing difficult. Have tried multiple detergents, incl "free," organic, natural. After experimenting these 3 yrs, I am convinced of some odd reaction between washer and colored, cotton, rayon, knits, and some other synthetics. Recommend we all contact washer/dryer manufacturers about problem. I've probably ruined $100s worth of clothes.

March 14, 20210 found this helpful

Try adding 1 cup vinegar to wash. And put a large towel soaked in a degreaser deluted to dryer,. Medium heat until towel is dry. Wipe out before you use it. Sometimes the static in a dryer can cause oil spots or chemicals to serface on
your cloths from everyday things we come into contact with . You might have to clean and repeat this procedure with washer monthly. Adding vinegar gives whites and colors a boost. And for the dryer , you could get a ground wire installed for the static. Dryers should already be equipped with it. But check. One last thought. Never mix Bleach with Vinegar. To unstable. Good luck.

July 18, 20180 found this helpful

Yes the oil is coming from the dryer transmission seal. May need to replace the dryer which would be cheaper than repairing the transmission. The same thing happened to me. The clear oil came into the dryer from the vent inside the dryer from the drum belt which was picking up the oil from the leaky seal. Hope this helps.

April 23, 20190 found this helpful

Sounds like the transmission leak is the culprit. Does everyone here have electric dryers? Do gas powered dryers have the same issues?

November 9, 20210 found this helpful

Brand new dryer, had small black spots in the back of the drum when it was delivered. Wipe it off, but more reappear after the dryer runs. The spots are scattered like something splatted on the back of the dryer on the inside.

What would cause this in a brand new dryer?


Silver Post Medal for All Time! 267 Posts
November 10, 20210 found this helpful

I would contact the manufacturer or store you bought it from. You might have gotten a faulty version or one that had an excess of oil or something. I would be worried that those spots will come off on your clothing.

I imagine that they will clean off over time but it's also possible that there is a small leak, which means they will just keep reappearing until the dryer runs out of lubricant (or whatever the dots are). Not worth the risk, especially if it is brand new.

May 5, 20190 found this helpful

I find stains on my clothes after washing them. I have a top load washer with fabric softener dispenser in the center. I took it apart only to find the most disgusting thick oily build up of old fabric softener that could easily be released into the wash cycle. I cleaned all the parts and put them back in the washer. I haven't seen those stains on my clothes since. Now I clean the fabric softener dispenser parts monthly to remove any build up. Hope this helps.

April 19, 20220 found this helpful

I have same issue with kids dark cotton clothes. If I hang them up to dry instead of using dryer they NEVER end up with the spots. Takes longer to dry but been doing this for a year and not once have I seen a spot now.

December 4, 20220 found this helpful

Did any one ever resolve this issue? Ive been having this issue for the last year and have had my washer looked at by two different companies, never use fabric softener, changed detergents several times, Im at my wits end, and have no idea what it could be. All the repair men tell me its probably not my dryer but Could it be the dryer?

April 27, 20230 found this helpful

I would really be curious if there is a common thread of gas dryers here. I've never had this happen before, moved in two a home with an older gas dryer and it was doing this exact thing'bought brand new front loading wash and dryer still happening!!! Could be something with the heat generated by gas!?


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