Thread Number: 89534  /  Tag: Modern Automatic Washers
Scum on clothes after washing
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Post# 1141417   2/6/2022 at 17:44 (807 days old) by marksb13 (Connecticut)        

I have a top load washing machine. I will explain my problem but want to state that I'm pretty sure it is the set up or the soap and not the machine because this is the 2nd machine and the problem happened with both of them. We moved our washing machine from the basement to a dedicated laundry room on the main floor of our house. The machine hose (drain) is connected to a standpipe that's 42 inches high and close to the machine. Since we moved the machine, I have replaced the one we moved, then got a new machine that had the same issue and am now on the third machine. This has been several years of frustration.

We run a cleaning cycle with washing machine cleaner or just vinegar once a month or so but still every once in a while we find streaks of scum on the clothes when the washing machine is finished. Nobody else we know in our neighborhood has this issue. We have three kids and do a lot of laundry. We are using Tide pods but have had the same issue using a very small amount of liquid detergent. We always leave the lid open and there is plenty of air circulation in the room.

I have checked the set up several times and the heights and distances all seem good and different types of soap have resulted in the same scum eventually. I can't imagine moving the machine upstairs could cause the issue but moving it back is no longer possible. Any ideas what could be causing our problem?

Thanks for any suggestions or solutions.

Post# 1141423 , Reply# 1   2/6/2022 at 18:21 (807 days old) by DADoES (TX, U.S. of A.)        

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What is your water supply quality/hardness?

What seems to be the composition of said scum?

Does the wash water feel "slippery" between the fingers after the machine gets going and the detergent (pod) is fully dissolved?  If not then perhaps the dosage needs to be increased to properly handle water hardness and flush away lint and residue.

Post# 1141430 , Reply# 2   2/6/2022 at 18:58 (807 days old) by gizmo (Victoria, Australia)        

What water temperature are you using?

Cold water washing is possibly the cause.

Also check what rinsing is going on. If your machine is only doing spray rinses, then that may be the issue, especially if your water pressure isn't great. Was the water pressure better in the old location?


Do the pods contain fabric softener? That can lead to residue if it isn't rinsing well.


My prescription - Try washing in very warm or hot water, use a quality POWDER detergent, and check you are using a setting that does deep water rinsing, not just spray rinsing. Make sure you are using enough detergent. (not a "small amount") That is your best wash available. You should keep this up till all your clothes in the household have been washed that way. (To get rid of residue in the fabric.) This might be several weeks.

If the problem is now fixed, you can play around with going back to pods or liquid detergent, or maybe lower water temperature (but still do at least one HOT wash a week to clean out the machine). Only make one change at a time, do that change for a month or till the problem re-emerges.


It obviously isn't the washing machine as you have tried several, so this is probably "user error." My money is on cold washes and/or spray rinses.


A couple more thoughts:

Are you fitting new hoses with each new washer? If you are re-using the hoses, maybe the inlet strainer is blocked. There could be a strainer between the tap and the hose.

Is there a strainer in your tap/faucet? I'm in Australia and we don't have washing machine taps that look like yours so I'm not familiar with it. Check you have a good strong flow from your hoses. To test: - Turn off taps. Disconnect hoses from washing machine. Hold hose ends in a bucket. Turn on taps and check both hoses have a good strong flow of water.

Post# 1141490 , Reply# 3   2/7/2022 at 07:20 (807 days old) by angus (Fairfield, CT.)        

Where in CT are you located? I know here in Fairfield, we have soft city water but some of the more rural areas are on wells (even some parts of Fairfield). I won't repeat all the advice you received so far, but any of those could contribute. Water temp, amount of water used (high efficiency vs. deep fill) hardness, amount of detergent, and rinsing all have an impact. You might have to try looking at each variable.

Post# 1141523 , Reply# 4   2/7/2022 at 11:23 (807 days old) by petek (Ontari ari ari O )        

petek's profile picture
For starters I'd straighten/loosen out that big kink you have in your drain hose attached to the stand pipe and make it more of a smooth loop up top. The drain hose should not exceed 8" into the pipe.

Post# 1141588 , Reply# 5   2/7/2022 at 18:31 (806 days old) by marksb13 (Connecticut)        

Thank you for all of the responses and advice. To answer some of the questions.
We have very good water quality in my area. The water is not hard but I don't have any readings on minerals etc. to share.
Probably use cold water to wash about half the time but otherwise use warm and almost never use hot. We will change that to use hot more.
The scum consistency is hard to explain. You can pick little pieces of it off the clothes and sometimes it sticks together. Other times I think it is wet lint. When it is on clothes there might be one piece that is half to an inch long and cm or 2 wide and nothing else anywhere. Other times it is little spots everywhere.

We've never considered more soap but worth a shot. Usually the response is that we are using too much soap.
I'll try the temperature first and if we still have the issue, I'll adjust the soap.
Thank you

Post# 1141589 , Reply# 6   2/7/2022 at 19:05 (806 days old) by ea56 (Cotati, Calif.)        

ea56's profile picture

If you’ve been using mostly cold or warm water sounds to like perhaps bits of undissolved Tide Pod outer coating and body oils have been building up on the inside basket of the machine.  Then this build up has been breaking off from the inside basket during the spin on getting into the inner basket somehow and then depositing itself onto the finished loads of laundry.


I would first of all run a couple of washer cleaning cycles with hottest possible water and either a commercial washing machine cleaner like Afresh or a cup of chlorine bleach.  Then in the future wash with hot water for most loads, or at the very least warm, and stop washing with cold water altogether.  Also, make sure that you are using enough detergent.  For a top loading machine the size of yours if your using pods you should be using TWO pods for all loads except very small loads.


I bet if you took your washing machine apart the inside basket has a heavy coating the this scum that is breaking off and depositing onto your finished laundry.



Post# 1141676 , Reply# 7   2/8/2022 at 15:55 (805 days old) by lakewebsterkid (Dayton, Ohio)        

The issue is with that machine's ATC. The water temperatures are too low. The Colors temperature is more of a good cold wash. Warm is just a few degrees higher. Hot is close to a decent warm. Best bet for a good warm and hot wash is to let the machine fill with the lid up, if possible.

Post# 1141697 , Reply# 8   2/8/2022 at 17:58 (805 days old) by qsd-dan (West)        

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What was the height of the standpipe in the basement? 42" is on the high side of the scale. I prefer the low side of 30 inches especially for machines that spin drain and spray rinse. Take a look at your manual and see if it states a specific height or gives a scale and adjust the pipe to the lower end of that scale.


If your machine fills with the lid open, take a cooking thermometer like this and hold it under the fill flume while it's filling up. You want AT LEAST 80F for cold, 100F for warm, and 140F for hot. 


Pods aren't really a good choice for top loaders since they use more water and you'll have to adjust for water hardness. You should be using more than one. Under soaping will cause scum buildup, along with too cool washing temps and long term cold washing cycles.

Post# 1141724 , Reply# 9   2/9/2022 at 01:46 (805 days old) by Hippo (Oregon)        

I will second gizmo’s suggestion to use more detergent. I think that you are being too cautious and dosing as if using a front loading machine such as 1 tide pod or a small amount of liquid detergent. You say you do a lot of laundry and have kids so I’d guess you’re doing large loads at least some of which are heavily soiled. The insufficient detergent means that the soils in the laundry are not fully removed which leads to residue which can form small clumps. Hard water will exacerbate this issue because the minerals in hard water bind surfactants in detergent requiring higher doses of detergent for the same result as in softer water.

You can test your water hardness using a test strip or get your municipal information. If indeed you have fairly soft water and you prefer a liquid detergent I would recommend a top-of-the-line choice such as Persil ProClean Stain Fighter which has excellent surfactant activity. If you have harder water you will want to use a powder detergent such as Tide Powder with Bleach since powder detergents contain water softeners. I don’t think you should be using pods. Powders have the added benefit of containing color safe activated oxygen bleaching agents which work against pigmented stains and have better hygienic performance, especially at the low temperatures in a top loader. Activated oxygen bleaching is also beneficial in the shorter cycle times of top loaders as it works more quickly than the enzymatic cleaning in liquid detergents.

If you are using top-of-the-line detergent like those mentioned above you can get good results with wash temperatures in the 30C - 40C (86F - 104F) range. Measure the temperature after the machine fills, not the temperature of the incoming water since the machine and clothes absorb a lot of heat. I would never use a tap cold wash. 30C should be the coldest wash, even for wool and delicates.

Post# 1141746 , Reply# 10   2/9/2022 at 12:41 (804 days old) by GELaundry4ever (Nacogdoches, TX, USA)        

What kind of washer do you have? What cycle have you been using?

Post# 1141752 , Reply# 11   2/9/2022 at 13:38 (804 days old) by ea56 (Cotati, Calif.)        

This post has been removed by the member who posted it.

Post# 1141754 , Reply# 12   2/9/2022 at 13:43 (804 days old) by qsd-dan (West)        
Look at the OP, it has the photos of the posters GE TL.

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GELaundry4ever is blind.

Post# 1141761 , Reply# 13   2/9/2022 at 17:14 (804 days old) by ea56 (Cotati, Calif.)        

ea56's profile picture

If GELaundry4ever is blind I didn’t know and had no way of knowing this.   I’m very sorry if I offended him.  I’ve deleted my post and apologize for my ignorance of Jerome’s visual impairment.



This post was last edited 02/09/2022 at 18:04
Post# 1141768 , Reply# 14   2/9/2022 at 19:25 (804 days old) by mtn1584 (USA)        
My two cents

STOP 🛑 using pods! They suck!
Switch to Turbo Rinse Tide Liquid, fill cap to line 5!
Mild suds and clean clothes without residue
Use Warm or Hot Water.

Post# 1141807 , Reply# 15   2/10/2022 at 07:32 (804 days old) by marksb13 (Connecticut)        

Great information from all of you. Pods are out and we will use more detergent than we have in past with hotter water. I appreciate all of the great information.

Post# 1141825 , Reply# 16   2/10/2022 at 13:01 (803 days old) by ea56 (Cotati, Calif.)        

ea56's profile picture
I don’t think that the Pods are necessarily the problem.  I have been using Gain Flings since the end of August with excellent results in my Roper BOL TL.  But I always use 2 Flings for every full/large load and HOT water!  Only small loads get just one Fling Pod.  And I wash at least one load a week with 1/2 cup of LCB, the whites.  This prevents any slimy build up from forming in the inner tub.  And every 2 months I run a Clean Washer cycle with either Afresh or 1 cup of LCB, just for good measure.
Using only cold water to wash over a long period of time with any detergent, powder, liquid or pods is gonna eventually result in a build up of scum in the inner tub.  This is why almost all the manufactures recommend a once a month cleaning cycle because they know most users just don’t use hot water often enough to wash. In fact they ENCOURAGE the user to wash with only cold water, which is a recipe for laundry disaster. 

This post was last edited 02/10/2022 at 13:25
Post# 1141838 , Reply# 17   2/10/2022 at 16:48 (803 days old) by stainfighter (Columbia, SC)        

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“Hot” is safe for almost all of your laundry - with today’s machines

Post# 1141843 , Reply# 18   2/10/2022 at 17:28 (803 days old) by geoff (Cape Coral, FL)        
OK, I have owned this machine and loved it.

geoff's profile picture
Here is an important detail. What are you setting the options on? Do you have it set to no options? If you have it set to no options then you only get a spray rinse. The spray rinse only is for the most part, totally ineffective. If you set it to the fabric softener setting, then you get a deep rinse after wash. If you set it to 2nd rinse, you get a spray rinse plus a full deep rinse. I have a feeling this the problem. It took me a while to learn all the nuances but once you know them, this washer is incredibly flexible. Just a heads up, the Casuals cycle uses more water than any other cycle including bulky. On Casuals, and set to Super, the rinse water comes to the very top of the tub. Well over 30 gallons. Always set the machine on second rinse and you should have spectacular results. I hope this helps

Post# 1141844 , Reply# 19   2/10/2022 at 17:34 (803 days old) by geoff (Cape Coral, FL)        
One more thing,

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This washer uses auto temp which varies depending which cycle you use. Warm is usually warm but hot is reduced even on the whites cycle. Here's a tip, if you set the temp to warm and leave the lid open, it fills with pure warm water. If you set the temp to hot and leave the lid open, it will fill with pure hot water. As soon as it's done filling, just close the lid and it will start.

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