It'll all come out in the wash: Your washing problems

Do you have problems with your clothes after they've been washed? Do they smell funny? Or get damaged? Or maybe your clothes are still dirty... We troubleshoot you washing problems.


Q: My Clothes Come Out Dirty

A: Clean the detergent tray

If your machine consistently fails to get your clothes clean, first check that you are not overloading the drum. Don't exceed the maximum weight of washing recommended by the machine's manufacturer because this will affect its ability to wash and may strain the motor.

Try cleaning the detergent tray. Congealed powder or washing liquid can build up in the reservoir, choking the supply of detergent to your wash. Pull the tray out completely and scrub it in hot water, paying attention to the channel that passes from the tray into the drum.

While the tray is out, use a long-handled washing-up brush to scrub the water outlets above the tray. Push the bristles of the brush into the water jets to clear any blockages.


Q: My Clothes Smell Swampy

A: Run a maintenance wash

Today's liquid detergents are formulated to work well at low temperatures. However, low-temperature washes don't kill the bacteria that thrive in the drum of your machine. This can lead to a smelly machine and clothing, and even to black marks on your laundry when lumps of microbial growth wash out of the drum.

• Run an empty wash cycle at the highest possible temperature (usually 90C) using a bleach-containing washing powder, not liquid soap. Carry out such a maintenance wash at least once a month.


Q: My Clothes Come out of the Dryer Wrinkled

A: Smooth them out with a damp towel

Clothes should be removed from a dryer as soon as it has finished its cycle or they will crease. If you've left them for too long, simply moisten a small towel, put it in with the load and run the dryer again for a few minutes.


Q: My Clothes Get Damaged in the machine

A: Prepare your garments for the machine

Delicate or expensive clothes need a little attention before you put them in the washing machine. First close any zips and do up any clasps or hooks before cleaning – there's less chance of fine fabrics catching and being torn on their own fastenings. Examine the garment before washing; if you see any wear or tension in the fabric near the fastenings, consider handwashing – the agitation in a machine is likely to result in a tear.