What Causes the White Residue on Machine–Washed Clothes & Tips to Prevent it!

One of the most common laundry problems that we have all faced is a visible white residue on freshly washed clothes. There are several culprits responsible for white residue on clothes. Let’s find out what they are and how to get rid of them!


White residue on machine washed clothes

While we would ideally like our clothes to look clean after washing them in the machine, many times, we may find our washed clothes covered with white residue. White streaks and spots on fresh machine-washed clothes is quite a common problem. We know how frustrating and time-consuming it is to rewash an entire batch of clothes just because it’s laden with white residue. However, over time we have been able to identify the causes for the formation of white residue on machine-washed clothes and have devised some easy tips to get rid of them!

Possible Causes for Residue Formation on Machine-Washed Clothes

1. Use of Regular Powder Detergent

We have seen that one of the major reasons for white residue to appear on machine-washed clothes is the use of powder detergent. Often powder detergent doesn’t dissolve the way it should, leaving streaky patches on clothes. Making a simple switch from powder detergent to liquid detergent helped solve our residue problem to a large extent. We decided to use Surf Excel Matic Liquid for this purpose and were delighted to see our clothes looking clean and free of any residue. Being specially designed for the high water level environment of washing machines, it was able to dissolve quickly and efficiently. We saw that this product not only kept our clothes free of white streaks but also removed tough stains effortlessly.

2. Clogging of the Machine Drainpipe Filter


Lint, undissolved detergent, and soil can redeposit on your clothes if the machine drainpipe filter is clogged, resulting in the slower draining out of water from the washing machine. We were surprised to find buttons, lint, powder detergent build-up, and even a coin lodged in our drain line filters. Our switch to Surf Excel Matic Liquid ensured that the drainpipe filter was free of any undissolved detergent residue. This combined with cleaning the filter at regular intervals ensured superior quality of washing. The best part was that we no longer had to endure any skin irritations because of detergent residue on our clothes.

3. Overloading of Machine

We all are tempted to pack a drum full of as much laundry as possible. We believe this probably helps save time, but unfortunately, our clothes end up bearing the brunt of it. An overloaded washing machine can inhibit the flow of water and drainage. Hence, the detergent may not be able to make it throughout the load, leading to a pile of improperly washed clothes. Leftover grime, suds, dirt can leave white residue on the clothes, leaving you with no other option but to rewash the clothes. This is why we suggest not to overstuff your machine, however pressed for time you may be.

4. Overdoing the Detergent

More is not always better when it comes to detergents. We have seen that using too much detergent can end up leaving residue on machine-washed clothes. It’s best to check out the instructions on your detergent like we did when we used Surf Excel Matic Liquid.

We saw that this product has two variants exclusively dedicated to front-load and top-load machines. This ensured we got the best possible machine wash each time if the specified quantity of detergent was used. In a top-load machine, it was recommended to use 1 cap of Surf Excel Matic Liquid (Top-Load) directly on the clothes in the drum and wash as usual. Whereas in a front-load machine 1 cap of Surf Excel Matic Liquid (Front –Load) must be poured into the detergent compartment or drawer of the machine and washed as usual. For tough stains, you can directly apply the liquid on the stain before the wash for both top load and front load machines.

5. Improper Cleaning of the Washing Machine

If your freshly washed laundry is still coming out with white residue and none of the above culprits are to blame, it’s probably time to clean your washing machine. We have seen that a dirty washing machine can have soil, dirt, minerals, detergent residue that is redepositing on clothes. This is why we suggest giving your machine a good scrub at regular intervals. We ensured that areas such as the detergent compartment, the rubber seal along the drum, and the filters are cleaned often. After this, running an empty cycle with hot water made the drum free of any residue and ready for the next load of laundry.

How to Get Rid of Already Existing Residue?

Now that you are aware of the various causes, all you have to do is eliminate them one by one to keep your machine-washed clothes free of white residue. But, what about that pile of clothes that already has residue on it? Our experience has taught us that the only way to deal with existing residue is to rewash the clothes. Wash the stained clothes again with the hottest possible water permitted by the care label of the garment. We suggest that you do not add any additional detergent at this stage. Instead, add 1 cup of vinegar to the wash cycle to help fibers relax slightly and release the build-up residue.

These tips will ensure you have fresh and clean clothes after each machine wash.

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Originally published