Thread Number: 16772
Washing Whites in a Front Loading Machine
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Post# 276880   4/26/2008 at 10:21 (3,804 days old) by timborow (Georgia)        

What is the secret of getting whites really clean and bright in a FL machine? I have a new GE set. They work great, but lack the heater to boost the temperature. I am now using liquid Tide HE and 1/3 cup of Clorox bleach, the longest wash time and the hottest water possible. The whites are just way too dingy and grey looking. Is there a better detergent or method? (Have tried Sears HE powder, Tide HE powder and liquid, Gain HE, and Cheer HE.) Is this something I have to deal with in a FL machine?

Post# 276882 , Reply# 1   4/26/2008 at 10:34 (3,804 days old) by laundromat (Hilo, Hawaii)        

laundromat's profile picture
Set your water heater to 150-160 and watch how much whiter they get using clorox bleach(splashless).Bleed the line before turning the washer on to be sure the incoming water is truly hot.I have to do that with my dishwasher.I just run the tap warter in my kitchen till I can't touch it anymore then turn my dishwasher on(my LG washer has the heater)

Post# 276897 , Reply# 2   4/26/2008 at 10:51 (3,804 days old) by redcarpetdrew (Concord, CA (But my heart will always be in sweet Nevada!))        
OxiClean is a must!

redcarpetdrew's profile picture
My MAH4000AWW does well but OxiClean really works well with my unit.


Post# 276913 , Reply# 3   4/26/2008 at 11:21 (3,804 days old) by passatdoc (Orange County, California)        

I have a Frigidaire 2140 without a heater. Water heater is set to the standard 140 F. I prime the line with hot water by starting a hot cycle and watching until the drum fills with steam. Then I hit cancel and drain/spin. When the machine has emptied but before it spins, I hit cancel again, add the clothes, and run a Heavy Duty hot cycle, using the Heavy Stain option (it only prolongs the main wash cycle on this machine). I add OxyClean, NEVER chlorine bleach, and a few tablespoons of 20 Mule Team Borax because the water is very hard where I live. The clothes come out very white.

Post# 276932 , Reply# 4   4/26/2008 at 12:31 (3,804 days old) by timborow (Georgia)        
oxi clean

We were told never to use oxiclean because it will corrode the stainless steel drum liner. What part of the dispenser do you put it in? How much do you use? Does it produce lots of suds?

Post# 276940 , Reply# 5   4/26/2008 at 13:34 (3,804 days old) by soapnsuds ()        

A bottle of Mrs. Stewarts Bluing is a must for whites (even colored clothes) in the rinse cycle. I put about a tablespoon of fabric softener in the dispenser and I have a small bottle of water that I have added several eyedroppers full of MSB, (water should be med-deep blue) and I fill the dispenser the rest of the way with that. Whites are brilliant! You could also try letting the load wash a few minutes, then stop the machine and let it soak over night. Then in the morning, either drain and restart the cycle, or just let it continue on. I had the Frigidaire with no water heater as well for about 15 years and I had the whitest whites!


Post# 276964 , Reply# 6   4/26/2008 at 18:56 (3,804 days old) by ~sudsshane ()        
What is the secret of getting whites really clean and bright

The answer is easy....STPP or Phosphates. Do yourself a favor and buy yourself a big bag of Foca Mexican detergent. Most mexican detergents contain phosphates which I believe is the best way to get your laundry whites "gleaming white".
Be careful not to use too much detergent or your machine will sudslock. I set my LG on the sanitary cycle for whites, I add about a 1/4 cup of Foca,4 scoops of oxy clean on the pretreat cycle,and I fill the fabric softener dispenser with Final Touch.

You will really notice a big difference in your white wash, even after the first time using Foca.

Post# 276982 , Reply# 7   4/26/2008 at 20:53 (3,804 days old) by re563 (Fort Worth, Texas)        

re563's profile picture
Your water must be on the hard side. When I moved into this house it was on a well. It also had a water softner. But the water still contained a high amount of iron. Now that I'm on city water I use just detergent (right now sears ultra plus) and store brand lcb. Whites are now really white. It took a couple of washings to get rid off all the dullness, but that's all I use, oh yeah, also publix fabric softer in the rinse.

Post# 276993 , Reply# 8   4/26/2008 at 22:30 (3,804 days old) by pulsator (Saint Joseph, MI)        
Oxiclean and stainless steel drum liner...

pulsator's profile picture
It's actually the other way around, liquid chlorine bleach will corrode the stainless liner on the tubs and cause rusting which will form pinholes that leak, not Oxiclean. Depending on the washer, this could be more or less serious, if the washer has a stainless outer tub, this could cause some bad leakage problems, my Miele washer(stainless outer tub machine)'s manual says to never ever use liquid chlorine bleach as it will cause these pinhole leaks. If the machine has a plastic outer tub like the Whirlpool Duets, then it is less of an issue, those machines include liquid chlorine bleach dispensers so obviously they think it won't affect the machine for some time. Personally, I find Oxiclean to work better than LCB, LCB seems to leave things dingier and with that awful chlorine stink on them not to mention the wear on the fabric it causes no matter how little I use. However, some may find it the other way around, I guess it all has to do with our washing habits! :)

Post# 276994 , Reply# 9   4/26/2008 at 22:38 (3,804 days old) by jeffg ()        

Shane has the secret, or at least one secret. When phosphates were removed from laundry detergent manufacturers replaced it with enzymes and chemicals which simply cannot be rinsed completely from clothing fibers. Over time these residues build up and whites eventually become gray and dingy.

A good laundry detergent (6% or more phosphates), the hottest water you can find, a water softener if necessary, and some chlorine or oxygen bleach is the best one can do with whites (especially cottons). As for bluing, it doesn't accomplish anything except to stain your clothing with copper and add another layer of crud to those that already exist.

Post# 277001 , Reply# 10   4/27/2008 at 00:05 (3,804 days old) by toggleswitch (New York City, NY)        

toggleswitch's profile picture
Of course hanging whites out on the line will also bleach them just by being in the sun. This is why dark colors are dried in open airy caports and sheltered from the sun as one gets nearer the equator.

Before I had was aware of easy access to phosphates I bought myself a huge pot and would do boil washes on the stove. The clothes would get a boil "cook" wash RIGHT AFTER COMING OUT OF THE WASHER. THE WATER WAS BROWN!!!!!!! But I do suppose the phosphates in the dishwasher detergent I used as an additive helped as well!

Post# 277002 , Reply# 11   4/27/2008 at 00:18 (3,804 days old) by jeffg ()        

Now that I look it up, Mrs. Stewart's bluing uses ferric hexacyanoferrate, not copper sulfate. Still, it's not a chemical I'd want saturating my clothes.

Post# 277018 , Reply# 12   4/27/2008 at 06:47 (3,803 days old) by timborow (Georgia)        

Thanks to all of you for your input. I think I will try the oxyclean. Where do you add it to the wash? Through the detergent dispenser and not use detergent? Sprinkle it onto the clothes in the drum and use detergent from the dispenser? Is one of the little scoops too much?

BTW where do you buy 6% phosphate detergent?

Pulsator- My machine has a SS inner tub and a plastic outer tub.

Post# 277038 , Reply# 13   4/27/2008 at 08:50 (3,803 days old) by gizmo (Great Ocean Road, Victoria, Au)        

I am no expert with bleaches and detergents, but could you be overdosing on chlorine bleach?

I remember a few years ago I asked here for advice, my whites were getting a yellow/brown tinge. I was using chlorine bleach. I was advised then that the bleach was causing the problem, too strong chlorine bleach can cause discolouration of whites. Remember if you are new to front loaders, there is much less water so you must use much less "product." I now don't use any bleach at all, separate whites from colours, use a good detergent and dial up extra rinse. Whites are fine.


Post# 277044 , Reply# 14   4/27/2008 at 09:33 (3,803 days old) by passatdoc (Orange County, California)        
where/when to add OxyClean

You can add OxyClean either to the dispenser or right into the drum, before you start the machine. Anything that is placed in the detergent portion of the dispenser drains directly to the tub anyway, it isn't released later in the cycle at a special time (unlike say the fabric softener section of the dispenser). If you place liquid detergent in the dispenser (which I would not recommend, as eventually it gums up the dispenser), it drains as soon as you close the dispenser door, even before the machine is turned on. Powder detergent will partly drain to the tub, and when the machine is turned on, a water flow through the dispenser begins to wash remaining powder or liquid into the tub before the main wash cycle begins (i.e as the machine is filling with water for the first wash cycle).

So you can add the OxyClean and detergent right into the tub, put one ingredient in the dispenser and the other in the tub, or put both in the dispenser....however if you use liquid HE detergent, avoid the dispenser to keep it clean, just put it right into the drum.

I use a small plastic measuring cup that comes with the large "spigot" bottles of detergent, fill that about 1/4 full with liquid or powder HE detergent) and just place it in the drum with the the end of the wash, the cup is rinsed clean and ready for next use. In Europe people often use dispenser balls, basically a small plastic ball that's hollow with a hole into which you pour the detergent, then place it with the wash, the advantage over the cup being there are no plastic edges to snap and possible damage clothing, though it's never happened to me in two years of FL use. I don't have a laundry sink, so if I poured the liquid from the cup into the drum, I would have to walk the cup into the kitchen to rinse it out. Also, because I place the cup upright within or on top of the clothes pile, the detergent doesn't touch the clothes until the washer has already filled with water and begins to agitate.

If you have hard water, consider a few tbsp of borax along with the detergent and OxyClean. I have hard water where I live and Borax produces cleaner rinses (no soap suds left on window at end of final spin) and whiter whites.

Post# 277062 , Reply# 15   4/27/2008 at 10:35 (3,803 days old) by ~sudsshane ()        
BTW where do you buy 6% phosphate detergent?

you can find detergents containing phosphates at any Mexican/Spanish grocery store. I have also seen bags of Foca,Roma and Blanca Nieves at K-Mart and Big Lots.
If you can't find any there in GA, email me and I will send you a bag to try.

Good Luck!


Post# 277067 , Reply# 16   4/27/2008 at 11:30 (3,803 days old) by cvillewasherbo ()        
La France

Years ago, when it was available, I used to use La France and powdered ALL in all of my washes and also Final Touch softener. I have never yet to discover a better formula for all laundry. My whites were always very white, I used hot water and a warm rinse, in a Maytag ca. 1980. Oh those were the days.

Can't find La France or Final Touch anymore and powdered All is hard to find and not as good as it used to be. Now I'm settled to use GAIN Original Fragrance and CLOROX bleach with Purex MOUNTAIN softener, whatever. It works about as well.

Courtney in Virginia.

Post# 277080 , Reply# 17   4/27/2008 at 12:49 (3,803 days old) by maytagbear (N.E. Ohio)        
La France

is out of production, and has been for over 10 years. I miss it.

Another thing to try is the Amway/Quixtar line, SA8, Tri-Zyme, and the All Fabric Bleach. I have had this lineup for about a month, and I am IMPRESSED.

I moved my chlorine bleach to the bathroom.


Post# 277094 , Reply# 18   4/27/2008 at 14:11 (3,803 days old) by golittlesport (California)        

Your problem could be the regular use of chlorine bleach. Switch to an oxygen based bleach. I very seldom use chlorine hard on the fabrics and the machine...and I've read that constant use can actually discolor whites.

Using the hottest water available for whites will also help. Bleeding the hotwater line is a good idea with front loaders without a heater, using Laundromat's or PassatDoc's methods. I do that everytime for white loads and just use powdered Tide HE for my whites and they are dazzling, if I do say so myself.

Post# 277137 , Reply# 19   4/27/2008 at 19:07 (3,803 days old) by passatdoc (Orange County, California)        

Actually "my" technique for bleeding the line with hot water was taught to me by golittlesport via e-mail, he deserves the credit!

Post# 277190 , Reply# 20   4/27/2008 at 21:55 (3,803 days old) by toggleswitch (New York City, NY)        

toggleswitch's profile picture
~I remember a few years ago I asked here for advice, my whites were getting a yellow/brown tinge. I was using chlorine bleach.

Certain detergents do react with LCB to make the water a reddish brown color. (which stians the clothing. Methinks the offender was certian types of TIDE brand detergent.

Post# 277255 , Reply# 21   4/28/2008 at 09:52 (3,802 days old) by peterh770 (Marietta, GA)        

peterh770's profile picture
Be sure to add the extra rinse. Half the time dingyness is cause by poor rinsing...

Post# 277374 , Reply# 22   4/28/2008 at 22:05 (3,802 days old) by re563 (Fort Worth, Texas)        

re563's profile picture

What frontloader do you have and how much gain are you using on a normal soil load?

Post# 277379 , Reply# 23   4/28/2008 at 22:39 (3,802 days old) by johnb300m (Chicago)        

johnb300m's profile picture
I've been using Method concentrated detergent in the Neptunes at the laundromat for 2 years now. All my whites are fine. The bottoms of socks are suspect at times, but if you wear one pair of socks once, then wash them in hot water with Method, they're not an issue.

Post# 277575 , Reply# 24   4/29/2008 at 21:22 (3,801 days old) by toggleswitch (New York City, NY)        

toggleswitch's profile picture
~What is the secret of getting whites really clean and bright in a FL machine?

Well here is mine. The Miss Mona Magic Machine Moments.

I am able to use odd temeperatures in that the machine is hooked up to the slop-sink (laundry tub) faucet with a "Y" hose water inlet connector feeding both the hot and cold water inlet solenoids.

In my fridigaire front-loader. Short cycle as pre-wash sequence. (W-R-R).


End of pre-wash sequence

using "free and clear" liquid detergent.
COLD water rinses.

Put through short cycle again for an additional three rinses.

Absolutely fabuous!

CLICK HERE TO GO TO toggleswitch's LINK

Post# 277576 , Reply# 25   4/29/2008 at 21:24 (3,801 days old) by gadgetgary (Bristol,CT)        
Oh yeah

gadgetgary's profile picture
Toggles does this for me in my Maytag FL Neptune.

My whites have never been 'whiter'.

Toggles would win any contest for whites hands down!

Post# 277586 , Reply# 26   4/29/2008 at 22:13 (3,801 days old) by toggleswitch (New York City, NY)        

toggleswitch's profile picture
oh and I do use a bit of cheap watery softener in the bleach dispenser, (to help control sudsing and assist with clear rinsing) in that in my Fridigaire it is released into the first rinse.

Post# 277599 , Reply# 27   4/29/2008 at 23:51 (3,801 days old) by dirtybuck (Springfield, MO)        
Powdered All

C'ville...try Walgreens. Every so often they have it on sale.

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