12 Common Laundry Problems and How to Fix Them

stacked up pile of clean laundry
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It's rare to find someone who's never had a laundry mishap. Disasters happen all the time, whether it's our own error, a wrong cleaning product, a method mistake, or equipment issues. Not every laundry problem has an easy fix and some actually have none. Thankfully, most laundry errors can be corrected.

Where to begin? Start by taking the time to find your washer and dryer manuals and give them a read-through. Knowing how the work and actually using all those washer cycles and water temperatures and dryer cycles may just solve lots of your issues!

And don't forget to read the care instructions on the labels in your clothes. Most of the time, they give you the fiber content and actually tell you the best way to prevent disasters. But to help you with some laundry mysteries, here are 12 of the most common laundry problems and how you can solve them.

  • 01 of 12

    Holes in Clothes After Washing

    Jeans pocket denim texture background
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    What's going on in your day or washing machine that's leaving mystery holes in your clothes? Learn how to solve that puzzle by eliminating the most probable causes and then how to resolve those snag- and hole-causing problems.

  • 02 of 12

    Shrunken Wool Sweater

    Shrunken sweater

    Susan Daniels/Getty Images

    Have you ever mistakenly thrown a wool sweater into the washer in hot water or the high heat of a dryer and pulled it out only to see that it has shrunken to nearly doll-size? Before you relegate it to Fido or the toy box, try this technique that could save your clothing investment.

  • 03 of 12

    Yellowed Clothes and Linens

    white clothing on a clothesline

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    Even if you follow all the rules on keeping white clothes white, they can still become yellowed over time. Discover the causes of that yellowing, ways to prevent it, and how to make all types of fabrics white again.

  • 04 of 12

    Ink Stains on Clothes and in Your Washer and Dryer

    ink stain on a shirt

    Aphiwat Chuangchoem / Getty Images 

    All types of pens leak, but many ink stains can be removed if treated properly. It's best to treat the stains before you toss the clothes in the washer or dryer.

    Sometimes the source of the ink is from that pen you accidentally washed or dried with a load of clothes. Now, you'll also need to know how to clean ink from the washer and dryer as well.

    Continue to 5 of 12 below.
  • 05 of 12

    Dye Bleeding Stains on Clothes

    Laundry dye stain

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    Is all of your underwear now pink due to that rogue red sock in a load of whites? Did that tie-dyed shirt turn a whole load of laundry tie-dyed? 

    The offending dye transfer and stains can almost always be removed if you have some patience and use the right laundry products.

  • 06 of 12

    Fabric Softener and Dryer Sheet Spotting on Clothes

    Fabric Softener
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    Both commercial liquid fabric softener and dryer sheets can leave what appears to be grease stains on freshly washed clothes. Learn how to remove these stains and prevent them from happening again.

  • 07 of 12

    Melted Lip Balm Stains

    girl applying lip balm

    Studio Firma / Stocksy 

    Lip balm can easily end up going through a laundry cycle when it's forgotten in a pocket. It creates a combination stain of wax, oil, and sometimes dye. The key is to successful removal is to tackle all of the components as soon as possible.

  • 08 of 12

    Melted Crayon Stains on Clothes and in the Dryer

    Close up of crayons

    Jeffrey Hamilton/Getty Images

    Most of the time, crayons don't leave significant stains or marks on fabrics unless the crayon wax melts. Unfortunately, the real damage happens in the dryer if the crayons make it through the washing cycle undetected. 

    Continue to 9 of 12 below.
  • 09 of 12

    Ironing Scorch Marks on Clothes

    scorched shirt
    Chemistry/Getty Images

    Too much heat from an iron can damage some garments permanently. However, if your shirt or pants are made from a natural fiber like cotton, linen, ramie, rayon, or wool you may be able to save it. The bad news is that the fabric will still be weakened in the scorched area, so you'll also need to learn more about proper ironing temperatures to prevent scorch marks in the first place.

  • 10 of 12

    Front Loader Washer Odors

    inside of a front-loading washer

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    Front-loading washers tend to hold odors and have mechanical problems due to improper use and cleaning. The source of the odor includes residue from detergents and fabric softeners and the bacteria that grows on the residue. You can get mold and mildew growth in warm, humid climates. Learn what you need to do to keep your washer fresh so your laundry will be fresh as well.

  • 11 of 12

    Washing Machine Problems

    a washing machine overflowing

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    Many problems with washing machines can be solved without placing an expensive service call. Follow these seven tips to help you diagnose a washer problem and you may even be able to solve it without a visit from the repairman.

  • 12 of 12

    Clothes Dryer Problems

    person repairing a dryer

    The Spruce

    Clothes dryers are actually fairly simple machines. Follow a checklist when the dryer won't work and you may be able to solve the problem. At least you can narrow it down for the repairman and save some time if you have to call for help.