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John, Home Appliance Technician
Category: Appliance
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Experience:  Appliance repair business owner for over 43 years.
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Our Whirlpool Cabrio washing machine is leaving soap residue

Customer Question

Our Whirlpool Cabrio washing machine is leaving soap residue on our dark clothes
Submitted: 3 years ago.
Category: Appliance
Expert:  John replied 3 years ago.

Hi I'm John I will help you with the lint on black clothes.

This often is called "lint" but is really a "whiting" left by un-dissolved soap and can be seen at it's worst on dark colored clothes. This is made worse in a colder climate where the cold water entering the washer is much colder than normal. Things that can effect the quality of the finished washed products.

Too much soap: ( we have a test for this further down the page ) If you follow the manufactures instructions on the box, then chances are you ARE using too much soap. They like to sell you their product, I find cutting usage in 1/2 of what the box says will still wash good and also cut your chances of getting "whiting" on your clothes.

Over loading the washer: Even if the agitator is suppose to go back and forth, the clothes are not. If you can hold the lid button on your washer so you can watch the clothes wash, they should 'roll" in the basket and not go back and forth like the agitator. The clothes will go down the side of the agitator, across the bottom of the basket, up the side of the basket and across the top of the water in a rolling motion. Overloading is not just too many clothes but also too little water for the size of the load is another way of having a overloaded wash load.

Water temp is important: Use a thermometer to test the temp of the incoming water in your washer. Hot water should be close to 140 degrees F. Warm water fill should be 100 degrees F. Cold water is approx 60-80 degrees F. What happens in a cold climate location is the cold water temp drops as the outside temps drops, once the water temp gets below 60 degrees F, it can no longer dissolve the soap properly and will most definitely leave "whiting" on the clothes!! Do not use a cold wash, wash your clothes in as warm as poss. water as they can take. If you have delicates you want to wash in cold, start washer out with warm water as you are putting in the soap and fabric softener and clothes, then switch to cold to let it finish filling up, this will give you a warmer wash but not as cold as straight cold water. I find most washes can be done in a warm wash / cold rinse just fine. If you need ( and probably will ) to adjust your warm water fill, turn on the hot water tap fully, turn off the cold water tap. Let the water start to fill on a warm wash setting. Then slowly turn on the cold tap adding the cold water to the hot water making a warm fill....use a thermometer to set water temp and leave the taps stay when you get about 100 degree F water fill. I adjust my own washer usually twice a year, one on summer time and once in the dead of winter.

Test for too much soap or soap retention: Put in a load of towels or dark clothing that has been bad for the "whiting" problem. These items are bad for holding soap and getting what is called -soap retention-

Wash the load in the warmest poss. water, DO NOT add any soap. Let the washer fill with water and wash for approx. 5 minutes, lift the lid and observe what is on the top of the water. If you see soap and bubbles on top of the water, your clothes have soap retention, this soap came out of your clothes. Let the load finish with out adding any soap and wash all clothes effected with this "whiting" residue. Once all the soap is washed out of the fabric and you start to add some to each load, use about 1/2 of what the box says. Liquid soap has less problems with "whiting" than the powder does, but I find powder soap is better at getting my own personal clothes cleaner

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