Grease marks on clothes after washing

Helpful White goods Tips There are various possible causes for grease marks on clothes after washing. To try and prevent it always make sure you use a good quality detergent, and use the correct amount as advised on the packet for your water hardness and the level of soiling. Don’t overload the washing machine either..

Not using enough detergent combined with overloading can cause poor wash results. It can also cause “redistribution” of grease onto the laundry.

So something that didn’t have grease spots on it before can come out of the wash with marks on it. If you imagine that some of the dirt and grease is lifted out of some laundry but then deposited on another item. This is because the dirt and grease isn’t held by the detergent because there wasn’t enough in there.

How to remove grease marks or spots on clothes

Oil and grease spills during meals or during cooking can be particularly stubborn to remove from polyester. Pre-treat with something like Ariel Liquid and wash at the highest temperature recommended on the care label of the article.

Try using washing up liquid and an old toothbrush. Put some washing up liquid onto the toothbrush and gently rub the affected area round and round with it. After treating, put the laundry back in the wash on the wash cycle recommended for the garment as stated on its wash label.

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20 thoughts on “Grease marks on clothes after washing”

  1. i am having a problem with my clothes constantly coming out of the washer with grease looking marks on them. i previously had a zanussi lindo 300 and had engineer visits who couldn’t find a problem with the
    machine. i now have a beko washer and the problem is still there. i don’t overload my washing and i am mindful of which detergents i use (i have about 5 different ones) i really am at a loss with this any advice of help would be greatly appreciated thank you

  2. Andy Trigg (Whitegoodshelp)

    Hello Rachel. Which kind of detergent do you use on the laundry that gets the grease marks? And do you use the exact amount that is advised on the detergent packaging for the level of hardness of your water and the level of soiling? One of the major causes of grease getting redeposited onto laundry from the wash is when there is not enough detergent inside the drum. Essentially there are products inside the detergent that attaches to the dirt and grease. When the washing machine goes through the rinse cycles it rinses away the detergent and with it the attached dirt and grease. So if there is not enough detergent in the drum then when the detergent is rinsed away there is dirt and grease left inside the washing machine that can redeposit onto laundry and accumulate inside the washing machine.

    If you pull back the door seal where it meets the revolving drum, is there grease, grime and limescale underneath it and on the lip of the outer drum?

    1. Hi Andy, I have the same [problem as above and yes there is grease and grime on the lip of the outer drum. What is the best way to get rid of this please?

  3. Hi Andy, I’m an expat living in Cape Town and we have been having issues with 100% polyester cloths such as sports shirts getting grease spots on them after washing them in washing machine. These seem impossible to get out as we have tried a number of the traditional methods but to no avail. We do not use washing powder but rather the capsules from Ariel and OMO ( not sure if that’s available in UK as I’ve not been there since 2010 ). Anyway, any advice would be helpful. Incidentally we have a brand new Bosch front loader. We had this issue for a while and even wash these items without any other materials and at the correct temperatures etc. Yep the water in Cape Town is pretty hard.

    1. Andy Trigg (Whitegoodshelp)

      Hello Peter. The only thing I can suggest, is that you carefully go through all of the points in my article to eliminate all the possibilities. Paying particular attention to the point that grease spots are commonly caused by grease being re-deposited on laundry due to not using enough detergent. If you are in a hard water area, you need to pay particular attention to the instructions on the detergent packet as to how much you need to use for very hard water.

      If that doesn’t work, I would try a good quality powdered detergent.

      1. Cool thanks Andy. I tend to stay away from powdered detergents as they can be quite abrasive on polyester. But a bit of experimenting is needed here. I tried borax and that didn’t really help much. As I stated before I use the capsules which I assume should be enough depending on how much of a washing load goes in.

        1. Andy Trigg (Whitegoodshelp)

          Hi Peter. I would think that capsules, with a fixed amount of detergent inside, couldnt possibly be adequate for washng a lightly soiled load in soft water – and, a heavily soiled load in a hard water area.

          Both scenarios need very different amounts of detergent. Do you use 2 capsules? What does it say on the packaging regarding washing different levels of soiling and in different levels of water hardness?

        2. Hi Peter,

          Having similar issues. Machine was working OK but around 4 months ago started noticing round marks left on some clothing after being washed (not all) the marks are not coloured just like greasy marks the same colour as the garment. Had an engineer out and he thought the drum would be dirty but said it was immaculate, he also checked the bearings but they were ok also. I have tried about 20 different cleaning products but nothing seems to work the issue appears to be resolved for a day or 2 but then the marks appear again. I live in a soft water environment. Any advice? Thanks…Jon

          1. Andy Trigg (Whitegoodshelp)

            Hello Jon. If this issue only started about four months ago new have to assume something changed around that time although I’m sure you must have thought of that and maybe can’t think of anything?

            If you haven’t changed anything at all, including the wash cycles you use, the detergent you use, the type of washing you are doing etc. then it obviously doesn’t make sense.

            As my article suggests, not using enough detergent, and overloading the drum can cause grease and dirt to be redeposited on laundry. However, overloading means putting way too much in, so don’t just reduce the amount of laundry you are putting in the drum if you know you are not overloading (how to correctly load a washing machine)

            If you have soft water, it is important to use the amount of detergent that is recommended on the detergent packaging for soft water. Apparently if you use too little detergent it can create a lot more suds than if you use too much so just make sure you read the packaging and are using what they suggest. I would also try using a good quality powdered detergent.

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