Many times it is difficult to exactly identify a stain. The stain may have occurred while the item was being worn or used. Or, the stain may have been transferred from other items in the wash load. The following patterns can offer some clues.
Location of stains. Stains appearing predominantly on the front, neckline, seat, knees, cuffs, socks, etc. usually mean they occurred while the garment was being worn or used. For example, stains around the neckline and shoulders are often due to hair care products. The pattern indicates the staining occurred prior to laundering.
Number of garments stained. If only one or two items in a load were stained, this generally means the garment was stained before laundering. In the rare event a washer or dryer was to stain garments, the stain would appear throughout the load. A washer or dryer cannot "select" one item to stain while leaving other items unaffected.
Bunched stains. These are scattered throughout a small area as if the item was wadded or bunched up when it came in contact with a staining substance. They often have a "tie-died" appearance to them. Bunched stains occur when the item is lying in a pile on the floor, in a hamber, laundry basket or in the wash tub before laundering. Avoid placing wet or stained garments in a pile or in the laundry hamper. The dye can transfer to other pieces of garment.
Pinched stains in the washer. These are often gray or black in color and appear as though the garment was caught or pinched. The garments may be getting caught between the tub and tub cover or under the base of the agitator. While it is unusual for this to happen, it is more likely to occur in older models and if the washer is being overloaded.
Pinched stains in the dryer. If these stains appear after coming out of the dryer, they may be caused by a misaligned dryer tumbler. A garment may get caught between the dryer tumbler and the front or rear bulkhead. Pinch stains can be very difficult to remove.
To remove pinch stains from the washer or dryer:
Soak stain in cold water for 20 minutes.
Pre-treat with pre-dissolved granular detergent, liquid detergent or a special pre-treat product. Let the item stand for 30 minutes.
Launder in the hottest water possible for the fabric. Use chlorine bleach, if safe for the fabric.
Do not dryer dry until the stain has been removed.
If the stain persists, repeat the procedure. In some cases, the stain may only be lightened or may be impossible to remove.