Dirt flakes in the washing machine, such a problem sometimes occurs with washing machines. After washing in the washing machine brown flakes remain on the laundry, these flakes stain the clothes or you can see brown gunk in washing machine. If you take the washing machine apart, you can see that this brown substance is covering the surface of the tank and other parts of the washing machine. Various attempts to remove these flakes do not bring any results. And, as a rule, such problems occur in washing machines with a top load of laundry.

Why do brown flakes appear?

Many people think it is mold, but in fact it is not mold, but iron or manganese. The water may contain iron or manganese oxide, visually the presence of metals in the form of oxide is impossible to notice. But when washing with detergents that contain certain components, usually detergents containing chlorine or active oxygen, a chemical reaction occurs whereby the iron and manganese particles crystallize and stick together to form flakes. In turn, these flakes adhere to the parts of the washing machine and can sometimes form very interesting patterns. We used to call such deposits rust.

Why brown flakes appear in top-loading washing machines.

Iron or manganese are equally generated in a front-loading or top-loading washing machine. But thanks to the design of front-loading washing machines, they are easily washed away before they adhere to the parts of the washing machine. In a washing machine with a vertical load, especially in which the tank rotates horizontally, flakes accumulate in places where there is no strong water flow, which is at the bottom of the tank, stick, and as the weight of deposits increases, they come off and get into the laundry. There is some design flaw in this washing machine, but when using water that does not contain iron oxides, there will be no problem.

How to remove brown flakes from washing machine

There are many different recommendations for removing brown flakes from the washing machine. Let’s look at the wrong recommendations:

  • Carry out a self-cleaning cycle, but this is not effective, a self-cleaning cycle is washing at maximum temperature and without laundry, this self-cleaning removes some deposits, but it is ineffective because of the design of the top-loading washing machine. Iron particles must be dissolved, it is impossible to remove them mechanically.
  • Pour vinegar and baking soda into the washing machine and wash – this is also ineffective, acetic acid, baking soda is alkaline. If you mix vinegar and baking soda, you get a neutral solution, it’s like just doing a self-cleaning wash cycle.
  • Using chlorine-containing substances is also wrong, chlorine is a peeling reagent and won’t work either.
  • Using substances to remove rust – yes, this can work, but such substances are very aggressive to iron, you need to get the timing right, but these substances can also damage the iron parts of the washing machine and make it unusable.

The right way to clean your washing machine of brown flakes

It is best to treat scale with citric acid or vinegar, but citric acid is better. It reacts with iron oxides and acts gently without damaging metal surfaces. You can take 20 to 30 grams (1 ounce) of citric acid or the juice of two to three lemons. Fill half a bucket of water and add the juice or citric acid, stir in the washer, and leave it for 3-4 hours.
If you have an automatic machine, use instead of laundry detergent, or just add it to the tank and turn on the longest wash, or just pause the wash to let the acid dissolve the brown flakes longer.
After that, complete the wash cycle. Check to see if there are any flakes left, if there are, repeat the cycle, doubling the time, the flakes did not have time to dissolve in the first wash, you may have to repeat the wash.

You can also use special tablets for washing machine cleaning, thanks to properly selected components, they have a more pronounced effect and can show an effect even better than lemon juice or citric acid. In any case, try them, they are not expensive and can help clean the washing machine.

How to get rid of brown flakes in washing machine

This problem can occur in any washing machine. Therefore, the question of how to remove brown flakes in a Samsung washing machine or how to remove brown flakes in a LG washing machine is not quite correct. Simply removing the flakes will not solve the problem, you need to eliminate the very cause that is causing the brown flakes. Even if you clean the washing machine, after 5-10 washes of laundry, the problem of brown flakes will return, and maybe even earlier.
To solve the problem of brown flakes that can stain clothes, you need a comprehensive approach.

How to get rid of brown flakes in the washing machine – first tip

Consider whether you have started using a new detergent, in many cases this can be the cause of brown flakes. Look at the detergents you are using, if they have chlorine or active oxygen in their descriptions, then those detergents are not right for you. Try using a different kind of detergent.

How to get rid of brown flakes in your washing machine second tip

If you use fabric conditioner, clean the washing machine of brown flakes and try not using conditioner for a while. For example, LG says there can be a reaction between laundry detergent and conditioner if there is residual laundry detergent left in the washer before adding conditioner, although this recommendation is given on LG’s New Zealand website.

A third option for removing brown flakes

As an option, you could install a water de-ironing station, but that’s expensive. A cheaper solution is to install a whole-house filter. These filters have cartridges that trap manganese and iron. I would recommend trying a filter.

The fourth option is to get rid of the brown flakes.

As an option, you can change your washing machine, buy a new one that doesn’t have the elements that leave flakes on it. But honestly, this is not the best solution, it is better to find and eliminate the cause.

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  1. what are the names of the tablets I can purchase? Affresh tablets? I am 9 months pregnant and washing my newborn’s clothes. They keep coming out with brown flakes and debris on them and I am going to lose my mind. Your website is the only one that says a tablet will work but you dont give me a product name. HELP!!

    • Try for washing machine cleaning

      Change the detergent buy one without active oxygen. Try this detergent

    • I usually use 3-4 (50 grams, or 1.8 ounces) bags of citric acid. But after I switched to using liquid detergents without aggressive active ingredients, I stopped cleaning the washing machine.

  2. Does anyone know the best liquid detergent to use for this problem? I know someone mentioned the tide pods but I prefer liquid and ironically I am having this issue because of Tide Liquid.

    • It is difficult to say what influenced the formation of flakes, for this you need to know the composition of the water. But, as a rule, crystallization is strongly influenced by bleaching elements. Various sodium compounds can also affect crystallization. It is necessary to choose a detergent.

      For example, some Tide liquid detergents contain sodium alkylbenzene sulfonate – Good soluble in water, precipitates in hard water. Aqueous solutions are turbid in the presence of NaCl.

      General recommendations, do not use bleaching agents, do not use agents containing active oxygen. Laundry should be washed at low water temperatures. At high temperatures, crystallization processes increase.

    • You may have started using a new detergent or the manufacturer has changed its composition.

  3. I had a ken,ore washer for 20 years and never had this problem! Everything six now a days. Grr. Black and brown specks everywhere.

    • You must look for the cause of the problem.
      1. New or old detergent
      2. What has changed in your water, new filter, water purification system.

      Most likely the problem is in the water and in the reaction with the detergent. Do a little experiment, take the water, heat it to your normal washing temperature, add detergent, stir. Look at the result.

    • Washing machines with front-loading, due to their design, are less susceptible to such unpleasant consequences.

  4. 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 ..

  5. 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

  6. 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.

  7. 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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