Mystery “oily” spots on clothes after washing

I (may) have finally found a solution to the weird oily spots that will mysteriously appear on some cotton shirts at some point during the clothes washing process. Some shirts it was low enough that I could hide it by tucking in my shirt, on some shirts it was very faint on a darker color and not that noticeable. Sometimes it would be one spot, sometimes it would be five. They ranged in size from the size of a pencil eraser to slightly bigger than a quarter. A couple of weeks ago I washed one of my nicest waffle-weave shirts that I really like (because it is such a cool color, and it fits my build like shirts are supposed to), and it was covered in these spots. I mean can’t wear it in public covered.

I’ve done extensive research over the years on what could be causing these weird stains to appear after washing them and have never found a definitive answer. I heard it blamed on fabric softener, dryer sheets, too much detergent, something greasy on my shirt before washing, etc. ad nauseam, but no one had any real solution. I stopped using Downy, stopped using dryer sheets, cleaned my washer using the bleach and hot water approach (a good thing to do for regular maintenance, BTW. See below for instructions on how to do this), all to no avail. I am going camping and caving in a couple of weeks and just figured I’d use this shirt as my caving shirt since it wouldn’t matter if I got it permanently stained since it was basically trash anyway. I really struggled with this idea though.

So this past weekend as I’m mentally preparing my caving checklist and lamenting the loss of my cool shirt, I remembered something that I’d read only once, I can’t remember where, and thought I’d give it a try. Low and behold it worked! What was the solution? I took a bar of basic soap and dry rubbed it into the spots, then threw it into the wash with some other clothes. I’m still amazed at how well it worked.

Now, I have only tried it on this one particular item, but it had several spots of varying size and “intensity” (or obviousness), and this trick took them all out. I am so happy because this shirt is one that I really like, and is one of my newer shirts. The thought of relegating it to a work-in-the-yard shirt was very disheartening. Now I need to go through my closet and see if I still have any of the others that this has happened to.

Have a Great Day!

Man Vs Suburb