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Residues on Laundry after the wash-



Q:  Often I notice that there is a white substance on my dark garments at the end of the wash cycle. Is it lint or is it something else?


A:   The substance you describe on the clothes is a type of residue. Residue appears as white streaks on clothing and can resemble lint. Over time, residue can make your clothes feel rough and the colors may become dull.


There are several causes of residue.



Possible Causes-


1. Detergents-


There have been many changes in detergents, especially since phosphates have been eliminated. Phosphates were once used to soften the water. In some newer detergents, the ingredients used as substitutes for the phosphates do not do a good job of softening hard water. These ingredients tend to react with the minerals in the water to form a white residue. 


Generally, most types of detergents will perform effectively in water that is soft (0-3 grains per gallon)or even moderately hard (4-9 grains). When using hard water (10 grains and above), a high-quality GRANULAR detergent containing aluminosilicates is recommended.  Changing to a low-suds detergent may be helpful. Some brand names include Tide HE, Wisk HE, Fab and Ultra Ajax. Remember, visible suds in the wash water is NOT and indication of cleaning power.


2. Incorrect Amount of Detergent-


Detergent is necessary to suspend lint and soil in the water, away from the clothes during the wash cycle. If the clothes are heavily soiled and the water is hard, use slightly more detergent. When the water is very hard (Hello, Austin), it may be necessary to add one-half cup of a packaged water conditioner, such as Calgon or Spring Rain along with the detergent. Likewise, it may be necessary to install a mechanical water softener for good results.


In a top-loading washer, the detergent needs to go into the tub before the load for better dissolving and activation of the ingredients. Placing the detergent in the dispenser of a front-load washer provides for better dissolving and activation of ingredients.


3. Cold Water Washing-


When a cold water wash is selected, washing results can be compromised. Granular detergents donít dissolve if the temperature is too cold and a detergent residue may be left on the wash load. The effectiveness of the detergent greatly diminishes as well, because detergents need a minimum water temperature of 65įF to activate the ingredients. Soil removal and suspension can be very poor if water is too cold. Most detergent manufacturers list the temperature recommendations on the label of the detergent product.


4. Overloading-


If there are too many items in the wash tub, the soil and lint cannot be rinsed away, and will instead be re-deposited on the fabrics. Once the washer has filled with water, the clothes need to have room to circulate in the washtub so that detergent & suds do not get trapped in the folds of the fabric. In a top-load washer, place the clothes loosely in the washtub to the top row of holes. A front-loader can be loaded full, but not packed tightly.


5. Rinse-Added Fabric Softener-


A chemical reaction between liquid softener, detergent and suds may sometimes create a white deposit on clothes. It is important to dilute the fabric softener with warm water in the dispenser cup. Be sure to wipe up any spilled detergent from around the softener dispenser before adding the softener. If residue persists it may be necessary to change to a low-sudsing or H.E. detergent and switch to dryer-added sheets instead of fabric softener.







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