Oil Spots on Clothing From the Washing Machine

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    Drum Ball Bearing

    • A ball bearing supports the washing machine drum. The bearing is a ball-and-socket joint that moves along with the drum, ensuring that the drum moves smoothly and evenly. The component contains a fair amount of lubrication to aid the bearing's fluid movement. However, if the bearing begins to deteriorate, the oil-based lubrication can leak into the drum and stain clothing inside.


    • A washer's motor permits the drum's belt to agitate and spin the drum. The motor depends on oil to keep it operating properly and ensures that components don't freeze up, causing the motor to prematurely burn out. As the motor starts to fail, a small quantity of oil may seep into the drum and mark clothing.


    • The washing machine's transmission transitions the appliance from cycle to cycle. It relies on oil to help it initiate the actions of various components to change movements rapidly. Although modifications have been made to transmissions over the years to prevent them from leaking oil, these upgrades aren't always effective. If a transmission drips oil, you may find oil in the drum where it can stain clothes, as well as underneath the washer.


    • Believe it or not, the rubber hose that delivers hot water to the washer can sometimes cause dark, oil-like stains on clothing, particularly if the water is too hot. A washing machine should not use water that's above 150 degrees Fahrenheit because it can wear down the hose prematurely. If the hose breaks down, it releases an oily film that's dispersed into the drum, along with the water. Clothing stains when it contacts this film. Check the water temperature on the hot water heater and adjust it if necessary.


    • A screen on each water supply hose sifts out mineral deposits, debris and rust in the water. If a screen becomes blocked, impurities enter the drum as it fills up. Depending on how badly the screen is clogged, the water used to wash clothing may contain rust particles that produce spots on clothing that can look similar to oil.

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