Whites coming out of washing machine looking grey coloureds losing colour

Shirts-grey If white shirts are coming out of the wash looking grey, or if coloured laundry is fading too quickly the first thing you need to look at is the type of detergent you are using.

Different washing machine detergents work in different ways. Some contain bleaching agents, which helps keep whites white – but that also fades colours. Other detergent claims to be friendly to coloureds – but it achieves this by not using bleaching agents so whites may not be kept as white.

Shirts-coloured So this logically means that if you have laundry that needs to be kept nice and white you should use detergent with bleaching agents in. But if you have coloured clothes that you want to keep from fading as long as possible, you need to use a colour friendly detergent. In other words you need to buy both types.

Cutting-corners Apart from using good quality washing machine detergents you also need to use the correct amount. Using less can cause a build up of grease and grime in the washing machine as well as poorer wash results.

Not using enough detergent can also cause limescale problems. Washing machine detergent contains ingredients that protect the washing machine (particularly the heating element) against limescale. Not using the proper amount may appear to save money in the short term but may well end up costing much more.

Many people are happy with the wash results they get when using lower doses of detergent but if that’s you, check underneath and behind the door seal to make sure your washer isn’t getting slowly choked up with grease, limescale or slime. (Washing machine smells – causes of grease, slime and black mould inside washing machines)

Finally make sure you are not overloading the washing machine. Overloading will reduce the effectiveness of the detergent and rinsing.

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13 thoughts on “Whites coming out of washing machine looking grey coloureds losing colour”

  1. I purchased an expensive Whirlpool Duet, and am using HE liquid tide, I do have hard water and may not be using enough, in my old machine I USED TIDE WITH BLEACH IN HOT WATER AND ALL WAS CLEAN, now, not so clean, and my towels come out stiff and hard.. I wonder, am I missing the agitator? or my powdered tide or is my dryer tooooooo hot? Gosh..give me back my old old machines and Tide.

  2. Sue: Tide is advertised as “protecting colors” (American spelling). This implies that it doesn’t contain bleaching agents as it is those that fade colours.

    Generally there are two types of detergent, ones with bleaching agents which help keep whites white by bleaching them but fade colours, and detergent without bleaching agents that protect colours but don’t keep whites quite as white and don’t kill bacteria and black mould or get rid of grease well at low temperatures.

    I suggest using a detergent without bleaching agents for colours and one with bleaching agents for whites and the monthly maintenance hot wash.

  3. I started to wash at a lower temperature last year and found i had a nasty smell from my washing and a black mould grew in my seal I cannot get rid of it and now my washing is going grey even with persil and a HOT wash I have tried everything to get rid of it , bleach , calgon , cleaning solutions , soda crystals and repeated boil washes I have given up trying now but feel manufacturers that recommend a lower temperature should be stopped !!
    It is not environmentally friendly to have grey smelly washing so what now ? a new washing machine ! hopfully delivered soon before people start to talk about me !

  4. My colours & jumpers with sewn in shirt colars are coming out grey!! I have a beco which I purchased in January. This never happened with my old machine. How can I stop this and how can I restore the white colars without ruining my new jumpers?

  5. Cherrytree07: If a garment is made different types of fabric or a mix of white and colour you may be restricted as to how you can wash it. If the main part is coloured but a false shirt collar or t-shirt is white then if you wash using detergent with bleacng agents it will keep the white bit white but fade the colours. But if you wash it in a colour friendly detergent it will protect the colour but not keep the white bit especially white.

  6. If I use the “recommended” amount of detergent, it usually creates masses of foam!! The only time I can use the “recommended” amount of detergent is for full loads (when I say “full”, I do NOT mean overloading) or when washing visibly dirty washing.

    Either modern detergents foam too much or the manufacturers of washing detergents are telling us to use more than we should, so we buy more detergent sooner and they make bigger profits?

    If foaming is a problem for you, follow my tip: use half the recommended dosage and add a heaped tablespoon of soda crystals to the drum before loading (this prevents limescale and grease forming). When washing towels alone – which I recommend as they leave fluff bits behind on other items – foaming is to be expected! Too much foam prevents proper cleaning, so using half of the recommended dose, along with the tablespoonful of soda crystals, actually helps a lot.

    Until the detergent manufacturers reformulate their products with better anti-foaming agents, my advice is the same: use less than recommended for everything, except for full loads or items that look really dirty. Avoid washing small loads, but if you must, use even less than half the recommended dosage.

    Has anyone else noticed the excessive foaming of washing detergents?

  7. Hi WMUser, Yes i have noticed loads of foaming action with modern detergents too and have complained to Ariel and they don’t want to know basically. I have found for some strange reason though that powders and tablets rinse better than liquids. Does anyone know why liquids do not rinse well? WMUser you 100% sure it is ok for washing machines to use soda crystals as some people say you shouldn’t but all they are is bleach type ingredient? Does anyone know if the liqui tab casings used for washing machines and dish washer tablets damage the machines? I know Fairy use them for their dishwasher tablets and Ariel as well. I would like to know that as i used to use them but an engineer told me not to use them becuase apparently they do not completely dissolve.

  8. i had the problem w whites turning grey. tried vinegar rit whitener tide washing cleaner. turns out my dryer vent was clogged and carbon lined my dryer. after washing the inside of dryer w window cleaner and dry cloth, cleaning the vent my clothes good as new again :)

  9. Miriam Van Nyvel

    I put a white wash in washing machine and it came out a peachy colour, one of the one tops has got hole marks from the washing machine. Everything in the wash was white, no colours at all, i used the same soap and detergent as I normally do, it was not over loaded, just the right amount. Why did my washing come out a peachy.rusty colour??

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