Black Flakes in Washing Machine: How to Get Rid of Them

Are you frustrated with finding black flakes in your freshly washed clothes? These annoying black flakes are a common issue in washing machines and are often caused by a buildup of dirt, grease, bacteria, and mold over time. Not only can they ruin your laundry, but they can also lead to potential damage to the washing machine if not addressed promptly. In this article, we’ll explore several effective methods to get rid of those pesky black flakes and keep your washing machine running smoothly.

Black Flakes in Washing Machine

What causes black flakes in the washing machine?

Before we delve into the solutions, it’s essential to understand the root causes of black flakes in your washing machine. The primary culprits are dirt, grease, bacteria, and mold. Over time, these substances accumulate in various parts of the machine, such as the drum, detergent dispenser, and lint filter, creating the unsightly black flakes on your clothes. Black flakes in the washing machine are typically a result of the following factors:

  1. Fabric Softener: Residue from fabric softener can accumulate over time and contribute to the formation of black flakes.
  2. Rusting: If there is rust inside your washing machine, it can mix with the water and detergent, leading to the appearance of black flakes on your clothes.
  3. Lint Accumulation: Lint from clothing can build up inside the machine and create black flakes.
  4. Hard Water: Hard water contains minerals that can react with detergent, resulting in black flakes.
  5. Detergent Buildup: Using too much detergent or using the wrong type can cause a buildup that leads to black flakes.
  6. Mold and Mildew: The moist environment of the washing machine is a breeding ground for mold and mildew, which can be the source of the flakes.
  7. Heavily Soiled Clothes: Washing heavily soiled clothes can release debris into the water, causing black flakes.

How to Get Rid of Black Flakes

To tackle the problem of black flakes, follow these simple and effective methods:

1. Clean the Machine with Vinegar and Baking Soda

One of the most natural and effective ways to remove black flakes and sanitize your washing machine is by using vinegar and baking soda. Follow these steps:

  1. Fill the machine with hot water.
  2. Add four cups of white vinegar to the water.
  3. Let the machine agitate for a few minutes, then stop the cycle and let the solution sit for an hour.
  4. Add one cup of baking soda and restart the cycle.
  5. Finally, run another cycle with plain water to rinse the machine.

2. Utilize Washing Machine Cleaners

There are specialized washing machine cleaning products available in the market that can effectively remove black flakes and deodorize your machine. Brands like Affresh, Tide, and OxiClean offer such products, and you can use them once a month or as needed, following the instructions on the package.

3. Disinfect with Bleach or Clorox

Bleach or Clorox can be used to disinfect and remove black flakes from your washing machine. Here’s how:

  1. Fill the machine with water.
  2. Add one or two liters of bleach or Clorox.
  3. Leave it to soak overnight.
  4. Run a clean tub or quick wash cycle to wash away the molds.

Note: Avoid mixing bleach with other cleaners or vinegar, as this can produce toxic fumes.

4. Clean the Lint Filter

If the black flakes are caused by lint accumulation, cleaning the lint filter is crucial. Follow these steps:

  1. Locate the lint filter, typically found in the agitator or near the top of the tub.
  2. Remove the lint filter and wash it with soap and water.
  3. Place the cleaned lint filter back into its position.

5. Keep the Door Open Between Washes

A simple yet effective tip is to keep the washing machine door open between washes. By doing so, you allow air circulation and moisture evaporation, preventing mold and mildew growth inside the machine. This practice will help keep your washing machine dry and fresh.


Black flakes in your washing machine can be frustrating and unsightly, but with the right approach, you can eliminate them and prevent their recurrence. Regular maintenance and cleaning are essential to ensure your washing machine functions optimally and keeps your laundry clean and fresh. Remember to use natural cleaning agents like vinegar and baking soda, or opt for specialized washing machine cleaners for an effective solution. Additionally, keeping the lint filter clean and allowing the machine to air out by leaving the door open can go a long way in preventing black flakes.


Are black flakes harmful to my health?

Black flakes are not typically harmful to your health, but they can cause irritation and stains on your clothes.

Can I use regular household cleaners to clean my washing machine?

It’s best to avoid regular household cleaners and opt for natural solutions like vinegar and baking soda or specialized washing machine cleaners.

How often should I clean my washing machine?

Cleaning your washing machine once a month is generally sufficient, but if you notice black flakes, you may need to do it more frequently.

Can I leave the door closed when the washing machine is not in use?

It’s better to leave the door open between washes to prevent mold and mildew growth.

Can I use bleach with any type of washing machine?

While bleach is generally safe to use in washing machines, it’s essential to check the manufacturer’s guidelines and avoid mixing it with other cleaning agents.

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Camilo Kawas is a seasoned entrepreneur and expert in the field of commercial cleaning, with a specific focus on clothes, carpet cleaning and floor care. With a profound understanding of the importance of selecting the right products for effective stain removal from clothes, Camilo has established himself as a trusted authority in the industry.

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