Dark or brown stains on laundry after washing in washing machine

Last updated 13/05/2022 11:21


  • There are brown stains on the laundry after washing

Applies to:

  • washing machine
  • washer dryer


1. Haircare products can cause dark or brown stains on clothing.

  • Some products (e.g. foam mouse, shampoo) may contain an ingredient called polyquaternium copolymer, which is a fixing agent.
  • When the product comes in contact with clothing, it binds to the surface of the garment.
  • The staining is caused when splashes of hair care products get onto the clothing, or when you dry your hands on a towel without first washing off the residues of the hair care product.
  • To test whether a hair care product produces spots during a wash cycle, try putting a piece of fabric in the machine and washing it using a colour wash.

2. When garments are washed together with darker fabrics which continually release small quantities of dye, the “contact area” absorbs the dye that is released. 

  • As a result, the spots do not become apparent until the garments have been washed.
  • The spots can never be removed completely, but white towels can be saved by removing almost all of the discolouration.

3. Towels can be bleached without being damaged by treating them as follows: 

  • Prepare an oxalic acid solution: Add 50 – 100 grams of oxalic acid to a plastic bucket containing 10 litres of hot water (60°C). Immerse your garments in the solution for 30 min.
  • Then thoroughly wash the garments at a minimum of 60°C using a good soap, which should contain phosphate and bleach.
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