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A towel that has turned grey after being washed in a washing machine



The wash load appears dingy or dirty as the cleaning in the wash has been poor from your washing machine. There may be oily spots on dark fabrics.

In virtually all instances this "fault" will not be caused by your washing machine if the cycle completes correctly, especially so on modern electronically controlled washing machines. The reason is that, if there were a faulty component, the washing machine would ordinarily halt when it encountered an error such as a motor fault, including carbon brush faults, a heater or thermistor fault and so on. All these components are checked by the electronic controller as, where an error is detected the machine will either halt as we said or, it will report a failure usually by way of a fault code being displayed which can be as simple as flashing lights.

The first place to look is in the reasons listed below as, in virtually 100% of cases one of these causes will be the reason for the greying that you see. For the small percentage that remians it will alwasy be due to some external influence as, a washing machine can't make your clothes grey, only what you put in it can.


Re-wash any affected items of laundry using a quality heavy duty detergent such as Ariel, Persil or another quality brand detergent powder.

For whites ensure that this is a bleach containing detergent.

For coloured items, ensure that it is a detergent for colours that does not contain bleach or you will fade the coloured items.

Cause & Prevention


A quality detergent has not been used in sufficient quantity.


Use the correct dosage of a quality detergent, such as Ariel, Persil or another quality detergent.

The use of cheap detergents, especially when used in limited or incorrect dosages will cause this issue.


The water temperature is too cool.


Wash heavily soiled garments at the highest wash temperature recommended on the fabric care label. However, for a mixed load the temperature needs to be the lowest recommended for any of the garments.

  Using the wrong wash cycle will damage your laundry!


The washing machine is overloaded preventing the washing from getting the necessary mechanical action.


For best results, don't overload the machine as this reduces the cleaning ability of your washing machine massively and can cause damage to both your washing machine and your laundry.

For more on overloading and correct guidance on how to properly load laundry into a washing machine please click this link



  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.

Kenneth Watt
Persil is also good. Not as good as Ariel in my own personal opinion but not far away from it.
Samantha Knell
HelloI've just read your article on correct washing cycles etc. however I note this was written some years ago. In your opinion do you still recommend Ariel as Persil seems to get some very good reviews these days. Many thanks

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