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Rust marks or spots on clothes washed in a washing machine



Spots or patches of brown rust colour. Please note that many of the causes described which cause rust marks on items of clothing may not be covered by a manufacturer warranty.

Generally speaking there are no components or items in a washing machine that will rust, they are designed so as not to have that issue. Due to that in all cases that we have ever come across there has been an external cause for any rust marks on laundry, the various causes are listed below.

The exception to that rule is when bearings literally collapse in the washing machine but, should that have happened, the machine will be tremendously noisy and the drum will be stiff to turn by hand or will make a "grinding" noise indicating that the bearings have failed.

Foreign objects in the tank is the number one cause of this type of problem and most manufacturers and insurers do not cover this under their warranty so you may be charged if this is found to be the cause


For mild stains, cover with salt, squeeze lemon juice over the salt and leave overnight. Then rinse thoroughly and wash as normal. For more serious stains, use a specialist rust remover product, taking care to follow manufacturer's instructions.

Cause & Prevention


Metal objects in the washing machine e.g. bra wires, safety pins, paper clips, coins (which can produce rust like marks) and so on.


Check for metal objects in the drain pump filter if your washing machine has one fitted, in or on your clothes and drum prior to starting the wash.

The top cause we see in the field is bra wires and suchlike trapped at the water heating element and coins in the pump filter. If your washing machine has removable drum paddles you can relatively easily check around the inside the drum for any stray items that may be trapped in between the inner drum and outer tank of the washing machine.


Rust/iron coming through the water supply. To check this let water from taps run through white cloth for five minutes which should produce brown stain.


If there is rust in the water run water supply through other taps before starting the washing machine.

Check washing machine inlet valve filters and make sure they are clear and free of any detrious.

This is often seen after there has been waterworks in the area around your home as old pipework in the ground is disturbed and rust and other particulates are introduced into the water supply. Although generally harmless it can take a few weeks to clear and settle back down to normal levels. Before calling a washing machine technician check to see if there has been work carried out in your locality.


Rust marks can also occur on garments which have been dried on a radiator as these can sometimes have smaller rust spots.


If you dry garments on a radiator please check the radiator first for rust marks. Alternatively you could put a sheet or towel on the raditor first to prevent the garment being directly in contact with the radiator.

NOTE: Full prevention may not be possible.


  How You Can Get Help With Laundry Problems

To offer support in helping people to determine the cause of laundry problems please use the washing machine support forum.

It’s fast, free, easy and normally someone will pick up on the post that can assist you often with a few experts chipping in if needed. Just register if you don’t have an account, we don’t mail you, send you spam or any of that stuff.

Post up your question and give images if you possibly can and the guys in the forums will do the rest for you and try to identify the problem you have.

Cost you nothing, might save you some embarrassment or worse, a charge for a service visit that wasn’t needed.

  Photographs Of Damage

If you can post photographs of the damage or problem you are having this can be really helpful in allowing the technicians to see what the problem is.

XPauline Edwards
Rust stains
I have a brilliant 5 year old Bosch Classixx 6 Vario Perfect-until approx. 1month ago when it started to leave iron stains on light clothing, Have checked all the things you said could cause this problem & none seem to apply .I have photographed the latest stained item but cannot see where I can attach this image.Your help woild be much appreciated.


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