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Excessive lint/dust on clothes after washing


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To add to this post I just want to say that I have started washing things per label, really separating synthetics from cottons and using different washes per the label. I was surprised to see that my bedding care label had a line underneath which the internet told me that means it should be on a synthetics wash. I have washed it on that but I'm assuming it's going to take a while to undo any damage if it will because they were still very dusty/linty once dry. 

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  • 1 year later...

Dear friends, I was very relieved to find this forum where many of you have so clearly described and shown the exact issue that has plagued me since Jan 2022.  All fabric that I launder is, after indoor line drying, increasingly faded and stiff after each wash, with apparent whitish residue that becomes more apparent after applying pressure to the fabric with a fingernail, and with broken fraying fibres on the surface of the fabric that cause garments to lose shape and shed astonishing quantities of fibres in the house and car.  Family members suffering respiratory and dermatological conditions caused by irritation from the damaged clothing and associated dust.  10x accelerated wear and associated replacement costs.  Enormous time wasted on excessive dusting and vacuuming and on shaking clothing outdoors before and after washing to reduce the indoor nuisance.  All of which defies explanation and resists intervention so as to appear as if caused by magic, like a curse.  The type of intractable problem that after months of failed troubleshooting common sense might suggest that one give up on finding a solution and just accept that not all mysteries can be solved.  Except for the fact that functional clothing is a need and we cannot ignore the financial impost and health-damaging circumstances for ourselves or our children.  So we obsess and stress and reach breaking point … for years.  I really feel for you and the impact this serious issue has had on your life and your families.

What an awful problem this is.  I know it to be absolutely real and I’m committed to finding the root cause and I intend to share it with you when I do.  I’ve already progressed substantial investigation on several fronts and eliminated some factors - I’m zeroing in but it’s slow going.

Comparing and contrasting our respective circumstances and pooling observations and experiences can lead to valuable insights and avenues of enquiry.  I’d like to please have an indication of whether you have solved the problem since the last post by Louise1305 in Mar 2023 or if you have anything new to share.

I look forward to finding a solution together.

H.

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  • Root Admin

Hello H. Thank you for your contribution. Yes it is a very strange issue in every way, and exceptionally frustrating for people who appear to suffer from it quite badly. I think one of the problems is that there seem to be relatively few people that suffer the issue to the levels that have been described by yourself and others in this thread. So this implies that there should be some common factor between you all that if identified could reveal the cause.

If it was caused by detergent, washing machine, the water, the quality of the clothes etc. then you would expect this issue to be a big one, with many thousands of people complaining about it. As I have said in previous posts, it doesn't seem to affect me, or anybody that I know. But, having said that I have posted a photo where one morning when the sun was streaming through my bedroom window and I shook a T-shirt before putting it on, I noticed masses of tiny fibres floating around in the air. They settled on my bedroom side table (which is white). But apart from that incident, we genuinely do not notice any issue. However, the white side table is the only surface in the bedroom that is likely to highlight it. Everything else is either bedding or carpet.

My gut feeling is that it is not related to the washing machine but as we do not know the cause it is impossible to rule it out. This thread is very long with detailed posts and presumably you have carefully read each one (which would take quite a while) but anyone with this issue would need to read all of the posts. Just one sentence in there could lead to a line of investigation, or even a solution.

I'm not sure though that this could be resolved without someone getting the assistance of some person or company who specialises in understanding fabrics and clothing.

 

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Thank you Andy for offering this forum and for generously contributing your time and expertise to helping the people who post here.

Consulting an expert in the cleaning of fabrics would be a great way to go, however I’ve not yet discovered such a person - I’d be grateful if someone would share the details for an expert they’ve used or know.

Sometimes issues do affect a small minority of people.  Two examples:

- Microbes damaging textiles.  See https://royalsocietypublishing.org/doi/pdf/10.1098/rsbl.2020.0700

- Pale streaks on laundry and a sour smell in the washing machine.  The Danish consumer organization "Forbrugerinformationen" investigated the phenomenon over a long period of time and published guidance on how to remove the coating on the drum.  I haven’t located that guidance but discovered about the issue here: https://www.electrolux.ie/support/support-articles/laundry/washing-machines/washing-machine-produces-pale-streaks-on-laundry-or-emits-a-sour-smell/

These examples are long shots and troubleshooting sensibly begins with the basics.

In my case the problem had a well defined beginning.  In the decades prior to the troubles, I owned two Miele front loaders, each one a model down from the flagship.  The first was a 5.5 kg model - that was the largest capacity Miele made at that time.  The second, a 2014 model, was I think a slightly higher capacity.  I’ve always used sensitive powder detergent, 30 degree cotton or blend cycles of about an hour long, and the default spin speed, 1200 rpm I think.  I would estimate and conservatively dose detergent for laundry weight and soil, and pause the programme to open the door and add detergent if I didn’t see a sensible amount of bubbles.  In addition to separating colours and lint-shedding clothes into separate loads, I wash luxury items separately from everyday items and separately from household cleaning rags.  I believe I *never* ran cleaning cycles with these machines.  I’ve always dried clothes on an indoor line and carefully hung the clothing to almost completely avoid the need to iron.  My family’s clothing was always lint free and in perfect condition.  I generally wash small loads of 1kg to 2kg, sometimes smaller for 1 to a few items.  Depending upon the quality of cotton (which I’ve found was generally better in decades past) shirts and tees would last for 6-10 seasons of regular wear, meaning 6-10 years.  Our clothing would go out of fashion before appearing old, faded, stretched or threadbare.  Quality bedsheets and towels would last 6-8 years of daily use in a dual set rotation.

In January 2022 I bought a new 9kg Miele with auto dosing and a circulation pump/spray.  This is when the problem began.  Interventions to solve the problem that related to the machine included obtaining a warranty replacement Miele after 6 months, then within a year I replaced the Miele with a V-Zug, and now for some months I’ve had an Asko.

The first thing I noticed in Jan 2022 was that it was impossible to dose detergent.  Whether programming the Miele settings for auto-dispensing more or less mL of Miele liquid detergent (ultra phase 1 and 2), or manually measuring liquid or powder detergent into the dispenser drawer of any of the replacement machines, I couldn’t get visual feedback as to whether a proper amount of detergent was dosed because the presentation of bubbles was different in these modern machines.  With higher kg loads, like bedsheets, bubbles wouldn’t appear because water didn’t pool during these loads.  And if it appeared there was insufficient detergent it wasn’t possible to open the door to add more detergent with the firmware controlling modern machines - the cycle needed to be canceled and restarted.

Interventions moved me away from auto-dosing liquid detergent to revert to using powder detergent, and I discovered over a period of weeks or months that it seemed I’d been using too much detergent in comparison with the 2014 machine because the clothing was stiff, rough to touch when dry and didn’t smell soiled as quickly as was previously normal.  I could wash these clothes again without detergent because there was accumulated detergent in the clothing - bubbles appeared in the next wash without added detergent, and they came out smelling and appearing clean.

Fast forward to now, after much troubleshooting and other interventions, including less detergent and different detergents and installing a whole house brine backwash ion exchange resin water softening filter, I now have zero ppm of total water hardness (down from 125 ppm or 7 grains per gallon), but the problem hasn’t resolved.  So the cause doesn’t appear to have been hard water like almost every website on the internet suggests.  And it doesn’t seem to be a dirty machine given the amount of drum cleaning programs I’ve experimented with.

A current theory for a possible cause is similar to the one raised by andyr12345 - that modern machines seem to be poor at rinsing, and if so - what is the point of them?!  Particularly if that is responsible for my issue of damaged fabrics.  After a drum clean cycle I observe no bubbles - the machine is clean.  Then I’ll do one load at 30 degrees, see a sensible amount of bubbles (less than an inch on the surface of the pooled water, which is visible on small loads).  When cold rinse water comes in, almost no bubbles.  Then hang clothes.  Then test 1: Do a cold water rinse in an empty machine - no bubbles.   Then test 2: Do a 60 degree cycle in an empty machine - bubbles.  Then, wash the clothes again at 30 degrees - bubbles!   Conclusion: in a clean machine after one cycle of apparently properly rinsed clothes, some detergent (together with soil, I assume) remains in both the clothes and the machine and is only released with warm or hot water.  My theory is that detergent (and soil?) remains in the clothes making them stiff, damaging the fibres upon physical movement during wear and/or chemically from constant contact with detergent residue, and so making the fabric brittle and fray and disintegrate and shed and thin at 10-12x the normal rate.

Should we see any bubbles with modern detergents and machines?  Whether pooled water is visible during the cycle or not? (which seems to depend upon kg load size and the selected programme)

The damage progresses gradually and visibly (with a careful eye) in each successive wash and wear cycle.  First thing noticed is a slightly faded appearance on coloured and dark fabrics about 1-3 washes, then after subsequent washes fraying fibres, lots of particles shaking out after wear and before wash, and after wash and dry same on shaking out but less so, and then it continues downhill from there with excessive dust in the house/car and clothing thinning and appearing stretched and misshapen.

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  • Root Admin

Hello H. I've just edited my last reply. I posted a photo of the microfibres that I talked about in my bedroom, but it hadn't appeared. Have a look at that photo, I presume they are the same type of fibres that you are plagued with?

Regarding poor rinsing being a potential cause, I have written an article about this

https://www.whitegoodshelp.co.uk/washing-machines-poor-rinsing/

However, it should be relatively straightforward to prove or disprove this theory by spending a week or so putting all laundry through a 2nd set of rinses. Hopefully, this is possible on most washing machines. If there is a separate rinse and spin cycle then each time a washing machine has completed its wash cycle just put it onto the rinse and spin cycle, and it should do all of the rinses again. This should either match or come close to how washing machines used to rinse in the past.

It's obviously a lot of messing about, and time-consuming, but for anyone who is intent on getting to the bottom of it all has become desperate it is something they should try without 2nd thought. It has some logical sense to it if these fibres are loose on clothing when they come out of the washing machine and populate the air when shook. Therefore, doubling down on rinsing could potentially remove them.

Another thing to try is to check your instruction manual to see if there are any options that save water or time and make sure you are not using them. Any wash cycle, or option button that saves time and is a quick wash, is potentially likely to use less water and at the very least not wash as thoroughly.

These are all things that I have mentioned before but well worth restating. If your washing machines do not have a separate rinse and spin cycle then the only option would be to check the instruction manual to find a really quick wash cycle designed to just freshen laundry up or wash extremely lightly soiled loads and do not put any detergent in. This workaround would still double down on the rinses, though it may take a bit longer because it will have a low temperature wash cycle to go through first. However, this would arguably test this theory even further by giving the "washed" laundry much more exposure to rinsing in water without detergent.

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Warning:  Read this before attempting any diy repairsNo representations or warranties are made (express or implied) as to the reliability, accuracy or completeness of advice. I can't be held liable for any loss arising directly or indirectly from the use of, or any action taken in reliance on, any information on this website, which is given free of charge and in good faith.

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