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Ask Dr. Laundry

Ask Dr. Laundry

Spots on Clothing

By Dr. Laundry February 17, 2009

Q. I have had a problem with random small spots appearing on red clothes after washing. It doesn’t seem to matter what kind of detergent I use. I always wash my red load in cold water. I never get these spots on any other color of clothing. What could the problem be?

A. This certainly can be a frustrating problem. I’m especially intrigued by why only the red items are affected. It is possible that this problem may be occurring with the other clothing, but just isn’t as visible on the other colors.

My best guess is that the problem is caused by either fabric softener spots and/or undissolved powder detergent. To help prevent this, you might try using a little warmer/hot water as you add the powder detergent. Let 3-4 inches of warm water fill your machine, then swish/swirl this solution to help insure all the powder is dissolved. Switch back to cool/cold water, and then add another 3-4 inches of water before adding the red items.