3 common laundry problems and their solutions

Our advice for dealing with common washing issues.

Man loading washing machine.

There’s nothing more annoying than finding problems with your freshly washed clothes. Here’s what you can do to avoid them.

White deposits on clothes

White marks on freshly washed clothes are usually caused by detergents not dissolving completely in the wash. The best combination for avoiding white marks is a front-loader washing machine using liquid detergent.

  • Use liquid detergent or pre-dissolve powders to ensure detergent particles don't deposit on to the clothes.
  • Don't use water-saving programmes for your wash if possible. Low water-use is often related to deposit problems.
  • Regularly clean your machine using a hot wash. Any solid detergent build-up in your washing machine could leave white marks on your clothes.


person using lint roller.
  • Lint often collects on washing, especially in top loaders. (Top loaders that use less water can also cause deposits of detergent, which look a lot like lint.) If you have these problems:
  • Sort the clothes, and where possible wash lint givers separately from lint collectors. Lint givers are mainly towels, chenille and nappies. Lint collectors are mainly synthetics, corduroy, poly-cotton and socks. Turn lint collectors inside out.
  • Wash smaller loads of same colour items, selecting full rinses (not spray rinses) to help remove lint and deposits in folds. On some machines you'll have to choose a cycle that has a full rinse.
  • Make sure you use enough detergent – it helps carry the lint away. But don't overdose: excess suds could stop the machine or make white deposits worse.
  • Fisher & Paykel Smart Drive owners: If you want to see the lint that comes out of the wash, F&P offer a filter option. Call the F&P Customer Call Centre on 0800 372 273, and ask them to send you a filter.

Scratchy towels

One of the downsides of front loaders (and water-efficient top loaders) is that they can produce stiff, rough or scratchy towels. That’s because the towels are generally tumbling through just a little water rather than floating through lots like in an older-style top loader. And to get the fibres nicely fluffed up, towels need to be immersed in water.

woman inspecting clean towels.

Another reason could be that your front loader is in fact too water-efficient, using too little water for the rinse and leaving detergent residues in the wash. Our test results can help you choose a washing machine that’s good at rinsing while still being water-efficient.

Short of drying your towels for hours in an energy-guzzling clothes dryer to get them soft, you can try the following to help reduce the ‘scratchy, flat’ effect:

  • Adding an extra rinse to your towels wash
  • Using a gentler wash cycle that uses more water
  • Lowering the spin speed – higher spin speeds tend to flatten the fibres and line drying doesn't fluff them back up, making them feel hard
  • Vigorously shaking out your towels, or putting them in the dryer on a ‘cool’ setting for 10 minutes, before hanging on the line. The tumbling action of the dryer will fluff the fibres back up and minimal energy is used as the heating element is not switched on
  • Taking towels off the line when still a little damp and drying them off in the dryer
  • As a last resort, you could try using a good quality fabric softener in the final rinse. However, there are a few reasons why we don’t recommend them.

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