If your laundry isn't coming out of the machine looking and smelling fresh, or worse yet, you notice that your clothes are being damaged by the washing process you're not alone. Sometimes the solution is simple, sometimes it may take a bit longer or cost a little to fix it.
Here's a quick and handy guide to the most common problems with washing machines and some ways to fix them.
Your clothes come out looking gray or yellow
Your ability to keep whites white is a good test of how well your machine, your choice of detergent, and laundry techniques are working. Greyish or yellowish clothes might indicate that you're not using enough detergent, or you may be washing at too low a temperature. It's always worth checking washcare labels and if you're in any doubt about what a sign means check out a laundry symbols guide on the internet.
Liquid detergents tend to be gentler than powders, so it might be time to change if you haven't yet. Consider a detergent that's especially designed to preserve bright colours. In hard water areas adding a water softener may help. Finally, turning clothes inside out for washing will always keep them looking good for longer.
Stubborn grease stains
Grease is hard to remove and putting a whole wash through a cycle that's strong enough to remove it from a single item will be overly harsh on the rest of the load. Your best option is to pretreat the stain with a specific grease removing solution, you can also apply a little extra detergent directly to the stained area before putting the item in the machine.
Detergent residue on clothes
The most common reason for this problem is overloading the machine. If you put too many clothes in, the water can't circulate and the detergent won't dissolve. Undissolved detergent can't clean your clothes, it looks horrid and if you don't rewash and rinse the clothes you could end up with a skin reaction. If you know you're not overloading the washer, it's probably not working properly and it's time to call in your local washing machine repair service.
Your clothes don't smell fresh at the end of the cycle
There are a number of possible reasons for this problem.If the clothes still smell dirty you may not be using enough detergent or the correct cycle. Leaving clothes to stand wet in the machine won't help, empty promptly and leave the door open to allow the machine to dry. A musty smell is more likely to be down to an uncleaned filter or a dirty machine. You can buy washing tablets for the machine itself. Some people find a half cup of baking soda in a hot cycle works just as well.
The water is too hot! If you're confident you selected the correct cycle for the items that have shrunk there's a problem with your machine. Time to call the repair man.
Gathered spots of fabric that look like tiny balls and spoils the texture of the fabric are most common with synthetic fibres. Make sure you're using the right cycle, short, gentle and not too hot. You may also find that turning garments made of synthetic fibres inside out before washing them cuts down on pilling.