Black flakes in washing machine? Remove weird flakes

Black flakes in the washing machine can be a real annoyance.

Not only are they unsightly, but they can also clog up the washing machine and cause it to malfunction.

It’s frustrating when you try to remove the black or brown flakes from the washing machine, only to have them reappear moments later.

If you’ve been experiencing this problem, don’t worry, there are ways to remove the flakes and get your washing machine back to normal.

So what are these mysterious black flakes, and where do they come from?

What Are the Black flakes in Washing Machines?

In most cases, the black flakes are residues from washing powder, detergent, grease, and sometimes a combination of bacteria and mold.

The washing powder can leave a greasy residue that accumulates over time, while mold and bacteria can accumulate in tiny crevices and washing machine parts.

If a washing machine is not cleaned regularly, over time it will become clogged with leftover detergent and debris.

This provides the perfect environment for bacteria and mold to not only survive but thrive.

What causes black flakes in washing machine?

The black stuff in a washing machine is caused mainly by the washing powder and detergent that accumulate in the machine over time.

Here are some of the most common things that cause black flakes to build up in washing machines:

Fabric Softener

Fabric softeners can leave behind residue, which eventually accumulates in washing machines.

This residue then sticks to the inside of the washing machine, causing black flakes to form.


If washing machines are not serviced regularly, rust can quickly start to form on the internal parts.

This rust can then break off in chunks, which often tend to mix with the washing powder and detergent, resulting in black or brown flakes.

With that said, rusting can also happen due to aging.

Lint Accumulation

Lint is a result of washing fabrics with natural fibers like cotton and linen.

Over time, lint can accumulate in the washing machine’s filter, hoses, and pipes.

This lint can mix with washing powder and detergent residue to create black flakes in the washing machine.

Hard water

Hard water is also a common cause of black flakes in washing machines.

Minerals from hard water can build up on the inside and outside of the washing machine and form deposits.

These deposits can mix with washing powder residue to create black flakes.

Detergent Buildup

Another common cause of brown or black flakes is detergent buildup.

There are many chemicals and scents in detergents that can leave a residue on fabrics when they are washed.

This residue from the detergent can build up on parts of the washing machine and mix with other things to make the black flakes.

Using too much detergent

An excessive dosage of detergent can cause the detergent residue to remain in the washing machine after washing.

This can also contribute to black flakes forming in the washing machine.

Mold & Mildew

Mold and mildew can also be the cause of brown or black flakes.

The warm and moist environment in washing machines creates optimal conditions for mold and mildew to breed, which then causes blackened flakes.

Heavily Soiled Clothes

Heavily soiled clothes can also cause black flakes.

When washing heavily soiled clothes in the washing machine, detergent residue and lint can stick to the machine, creating black flakes.

So, there are many factors that could cause black or brown flakes in the washing machine.

The idea should be to prevent it in the first place, and if it has already occurred, to try and get rid of it.

How to Get Rid of Black Flakes in Washing Machines?

There are many ways to get rid of black flakes from washing machines and keep them clean.

Here are some of the proven and effective ways to remove black flakes from your washer:

Regular maintenance

It is important to keep washing machines in good shape by cleaning them regularly and getting rid of any residue that builds up.

This should prevent the buildup of debris, washing powder, and detergents, which can cause black flakes.

Use Vinegar Solution

A solution of vinegar and water can be used to clean washing machines and ward off the mold and bacteria that cause black flakes.

Simply pour some vinegar into the washer’s drum or detergent tray, depending on the washer type.

Then, set the washer to the highest washing temperature and let it run for a few minutes.

Lastly, dip the cloth in a solution of vinegar and wipe down the inside and outside of the washing machine.

Clean the Lint Filter

If the black flakes are caused by lint accumulation, then it is important to clean the washing machine’s lint filter.

Also, make sure to clean the hoses and pipes of washing machines as well.

Use Baking Soda

Baking soda is a powerful cleaner that can be used to dissolve detergent buildup and other residues.

Simply mix baking soda and warm water together, then use a cloth to clean the washing machine’s interior.

Finally, run a washing cycle with hot water to get rid of the baking soda residue.

Lemon Juice

Lemon juice can also be used to clean washing machines and get rid of black flakes.

Simply pour some lemon juice into the washing machine’s drum and let it run for a few minutes.

This will help dissolve any residue left behind by washing powder or detergent.

Note: You can even use a combination of vinegar and lemon juice or baking soda with lemon juice.

Use Clorox

Using Clorox to clean washing machines is also a great way to get rid of black flakes.

Simply fill the washing machine with water (up to half the drum) and then add the recommended amount of Clorox depending on the dosage prescribed on the instruction label.

Let the solution settle for a couple of hours, then run the washing machine on a hot cycle.

Preventive measures to keep black flakes away

Taking steps to stop black flakes from happening is just as important as getting rid of the ones that are already there.

Here are some tips on how to keep your washing machine clean and free of black flakes.

Rinsing out the washing powder properly

If you don’t rinse it out completely, the washing powder can leave a residue in the machine that will eventually accumulate and form black flakes.

Be sure to use only the recommended amount of washing powder and thoroughly rinse it out after washing.

Regular Cleaning

It’s important to regularly clean your washing machine, especially the filter and other parts of the machine.

This will help to remove any residue and prevent black flakes from forming.

Use suitable detergent in the right quantities

Using too much washing powder or detergent can result in residue buildup, which will eventually lead to black flakes.

It is important to use the right type of washing powder or detergent and use it in the right amount.

Also, check if your washing machine needs special detergents for washing.

Avoid keeping the clothes in the washer post washing

Once the wash cycle is complete, it is important to take the clothes out immediately.

This is because if the laundry items are left in the drum, not only will they start to smell, but the damp environment will create the ideal conditions for mold to grow, resulting in black flakes.

Bottom Line

In conclusion, washing machines and other home appliances need to be taken care of regularly so they can work at their best.

Regular maintenance keeps dirt, washing powder, and other things that can cause black flakes from building up.

In general, black flakes form on washing machines when residue from washing powder, detergent, water, mold, and rust builds up.

Therefore, it is important to use the right washing powder or detergent in the right quantities, as well as regularly clean and perform timely maintenance.

Frequently Asked Questions

What causes brown flakes in the washing machine?

In most cases, brown flakes are caused by rust and corrosion in washing machines. However, there can be other factors, such as washing powder residue, moisture buildup, and mold, that can also cause brown flakes.

What causes orange flakes in washing machines?

Orange flakes in washing machines are usually caused by rust or the build-up of detergent residue. Most of the time, the orange color comes from iron and other minerals that have built up over time in the washing machine.

How can I remove weird flakes from my washing machine?

The best way to remove the weird flakes from the washing machine is to use a cleaning solution specifically designed for washing machine maintenance. These solutions are available at most hardware stores and laundry centers.

Where does the black stuff come from in my washer drawer?

The hardened black deposits often seen in washing machine drawers are a tell-tale sign of mold formation, which is usually caused by detergent residues.

Is black mold in washing machines harmful?

Yes, black mold in washing machines can be harmful, as it can spread to other items of clothing and cause irritation or an allergic reaction.

What is the best frequency for cleaning your washing machine drawer?

It is recommended to clean the washing machine drawer every three to four uses in order to prevent the buildup of washing powder residue and mold. Using a washing machine cleaner can help to effectively remove any residues and keep the washing machine clean.

Hemant Sarkar is a seasoned techie with a diploma in computer science and an impressive track record of over 15 years in dealing with speakers, kitchen appliances, and various home appliance-related issues. He is widely recognized for his exceptional expertise in repairing dryers and washing machines from all major brands. In addition to his appliance repair prowess, Hemant maintains engaging blogs on topics related to music and speakers. For any inquiries or assistance regarding appliances or tech-related matters, you can reach out to him at: hemant (at)