The washing machine just finished the cycle, and the clothes got dirty instead of clean and scented.

Why is washing machine leaving black marks on clothes? If this happened to you recently, I would try to help you with the cause and solution to the problem.

Your washing machine is an appliance that uses water to perform its function, which makes it a perfect place for mold and mildew appearance.

So, why am I mentioning this? In most cases, the thing that makes your clothes dirty is not the bad-quality detergent but something more.

Let me explain the possible causes and how they leave black marks on the laundry.

why is washing machine leaving black marks on clothes

Why Is Washing Machine Leaving Black Marks on Clothes?

There might be numerous culprits charged for the black marks on your clothes. Some of the main ones can be dirt, color run, leftover items in pockets, oil, mildew, or internal machine issues that let dirt inside the tub. Try to determine the stain cause to find out what to fix.

Start searching for leftover items in the pockets. It may happen to everyone, so try to remember what was the thing you forgot inside your pockets to find a solution on how to clean the marks from the clothes.

If the cause is not a leftover item, it might be the mildew from the rubber seal. The gap between the machine door and the rubber seal is the most moisture area, with perfect conditions for mold and mildew formation.

When clothes move inside the tub during the cycle, they might easily “wipe off” the door glass or rubber gap and catch some mold.

What Causes the Black Marks on Clothes?

Color run

Everyone might mess up their clothes and accidentally put black clothing with whites. These stains are fabric color transfers and usually appear in lines.

If a color run causes the black marks, the best way to remove them is to use color run remover or distilled vinegar. Soak the cloth with black marks and rewash it in a machine as usual.

Read more: Why Do Clothes Turn Inside Out In The Washing Machine?


Another reason for the black or brownish marks on your clothes might be stuck dirt or rust stains. This might happen if you put a pair of non-pre-cleaned shoes together with laundry.

The loose dirt and metal parts of the shoes might cause black marks on your clothes. Try rewashing the clothes to remove the dirt. Also, if you have dirt on your clothes may lead to black marks.


The mildew in the washing machine door and rubber seal might be the most common causes of black marks on the laundry. Even if you have cleaned the mildew from the door, there might be other affected parts between the rubber gap.

To clean up these stains, it might be best to soak the stained clothes in soda and white vinegar or lemon juice solution, then rewash them.

Plumbing issues

In rare cases, the dirt and black marks on your laundry might be caused by plumbing issues. If your water pipes are older, they might break or rust, so the water getting inside your washing machine gets dirty and stains the clothes.

Sometimes, the problem might be in the standpipe. If the standpipe is not properly adjusted, it might cause the water to flow inside the appliance instead of getting out. This may lead to backflow inside the tub, staining the clothes and causing black marks.

Preventive Measures

Making controls once a month might be excellent. If you face some mildew issues, it is good to run your machine at the hottest temperature by pouring bleach or white vinegar on the affected parts.

Also, check the pipes and carefully load the laundry. Remove all new and dark pieces of clothing and wash them separately. You can also add some color catcher sheets into the washer when washing colored clothes.

If washing shoes, always pre-clean them. Remove the loose dirt and wash them in a bag to prevent them from touching another laundry if you opt for loading the machine with other clothes.

Also read: Can You Wash Converse In The Washing Machine?


Finding black marks on freshly washed clothes can be frustrating, but understanding the potential causes can help resolve the issue. So, Why is washing machine leaving black marks on clothes?

The most common culprits are dirt, color run, mildew, and plumbing issues. Leftover items in pockets can also leave marks on clothes.

To prevent black marks, it is essential to check and clean the pockets before doing laundry. Cleaning the rubber seal and door area of the washing machine regularly can prevent mildew buildup.

Separating dark and new clothes from lighter ones and using color catcher sheets can help prevent color runs. Additionally, pre-cleaning shoes and washing them separately can avoid dirt transfer.

Regular maintenance, careful loading, and proper machine settings can ensure clean and fresh-smelling laundry every time.