Brown flakes in washing machine how to solve the problem


There is a remark about washing machines of the following content. After washing in the washing machine, the laundry has brown flakes, these flakes dirty clothes. If you disassemble the washing machine, you can see that this brown substance covers the tank surface and other parts of the washing machine. Different attempts to remove these flakes do not bring any result. And as a rule, such problems occur in washing machines with top loading of laundry.

Why do brown flakes appear?

Many people think it’s mildew, but it’s not really mildew, it’s iron or manganese. The water may contain iron or manganese oxide, the visual presence of metals in the form of oxide is impossible to see. But when washing with detergents containing certain components, usually washing agents containing chlorine or active oxygen, a chemical reaction takes place, as a result of which iron and manganese particles crystallize and stick together to form flakes. In turn, these flakes stick to the parts of the washing machine and can sometimes form very interesting pictures. We are used to calling such deposits rust.

Why brown flakes appear in top-load washing machines.

Iron or manganese is formed equally in a washing machine with front or top load. But due to the design of the front load washing machine, they are easily washed away before they stick to the parts of the washing machine. In a washing machine with vertical loading, especially in which the tank rotates in the horizontal plane, flakes accumulate in places where there is no strong stream of water, and this is at the bottom of the tank, stick, and as the mass of deposits increases, they tear off and get into the laundry. There is some constructive shortcoming of the washing machine, but when using water that does not contain iron oxides, there will be no problem.

How to remove brown flakes in the washing machine

There are many different recommendations for removing flakes from the washing machine. Let us consider the wrong recommendations:

  • To carry out a self-cleaning cycle, but it is not effective, the self-cleaning cycle is washing at maximum temperature and without clothing, with such self-cleaning is removing some deposits, but it is ineffective because of the design of the washing machine with top loading. Iron particles need to be dissolved, it is impossible to remove them mechanically.
  • Pour vinegar and soda into the washing machine and wash – it is also ineffective, acetic acid, soda alkali. When you mix the vinegar and soda, you get a neutral solution; it is like simply doing the washing cycle in self-cleaning mode.
  • Using chlorine containing substances is also wrong, chlorine is a reagent for flaking and will not work either.
  • Use substances to remove rust – yes, it can work, but such substances are very aggressive to iron, it is necessary to correctly calculate the time of exposure, but these substances can also damage the iron parts of the washing machine and make it unusable.

Correct cleaning of the washing machine from brown flakes

The most correct way to influence flakes with citric acid or vinegar, but better with citric acid. It reacts with iron oxides, and in a gentle reaction without damaging metal surfaces. For this purpose, you can take a gram of 20-30 citric acid or the juice of two or three lemons. Dial half a bucket of water and add the juice or citric acid to the water, mix it in the washing machine and leave for 3-4 hours. After that, complete the washing cycle. Check if there are any flakes left, if there are any, repeat the cycle by doubling the time, the flakes have not had time to dissolve at the first cleaning, it may still be necessary to repeat the cleaning.

Solve the problem of brown flakes formation in the washing machine.

Simply removing the flakes will not solve the problem, it is necessary to remove the very reason causing the formation of brown flakes. Even if you clean the washing machine, after 5-10 washings of clothes, the problem of brown flakes will return.
To solve the problem, look at the detergents you use, if there is chlorine or active oxygen in the description, such detergents are not suitable for you. Try another detergent. You can optionally install a water de-ironing station, but it is expensive. And you can change the washing machine, buy a new one that has no elements on which flakes can stay.

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  1. I’ve had issues with my Toploader for the past six days I have tried everything to clean out those disgusting brown flakes I’ve tried CLR baking soda and vinegar I’ve put it on hot wash 25 loads now the brown flakes are disappearing but now I have black chunks of hard pieces of God knows what, I will try this lemon method today , cross fingers , I’ve owned washers but have never seen anything like this in my life ..

  2. I have a top loader Samsung washer and it does this as well. I just ran the self cleaning cycle a couple times or so with bleach and it seems to do the trick.
    we also have super limestone water

  3. We replaced our top loader machine on moving into our new place with another top loader because of this issue and of course it is still a problem even with the new machine… I never realized this was the case for top loader machines. Unless we’re willing to replace with a front loader, am I stuck with regular citric acid washes? I use tide liquid detergent, original scent, sometimes the HE version, which doesn’t advertise containing chlorine or active oxygen, so I don’t think its the detergent. I do want to clarify the lemon juice method, after I mix lemon juice and water I just pour that into the bottom of the machine and let it sit there for the 3-4 hours, followed by a wash cycle? Thank you.

    • You can try to determine why you are getting flakes. Take the same water that you use for the washing machine. Heat the water on the stove or bring it to a boil. See if any sediment appears. Add detergent to the water and repeat. See if there is any sediment in the water. As for cleaning, if you do not fix the problem, as a rule, cleaning should be done regularly after 4-5 washes of laundry.

  4. I had this problem, and I read a comment somewhere that said you shouldn’t put the waste pipe from your washing machine too far down the standpipe. This solved my problem believe it or not

    • I live in an apartment complex, I’ll have to explain your approach to them. Thanks for the tip!

      • I’ve never experienced this until I moved into my current apartment that is an older top loader with an agitator. Can this issue also happen with top loaders that are full-size with no agitator and newer model?
        Your suggestion also says that if we buy a new machine, to buy one that has no elements that the flakes will not stick to. What are the elements to avoid?

        • Avoid washing machines that structurally have elements in which the water flow is weak. Some washing machine models have suffered from this because of the activator design.
          It is best to read the feedback of real users.

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