©2018 Mahoning Valley Water Inc.  The Washday Blues And Red and Greens and Browns      A common complaint in the water quality improvement industry goes like this: "HELP!!!  I just finished my wash and there are stains on my clothes!"  Spectrum Labs of Minnesota has investigated dozens of complaints about clothes staining and found the problem can be categorized into four areas: Red or Orange Stains       Usually from dissolved iron in the water or from corrosion of the galvanized plumbing system, garments turn reddish brown or individual spots of red or orange appear.  This is the most common staining problem.  The red stains can be removed with a rust remover compound.  Be careful, however, these compounds can act as a bleach on certain types of fabrics.  Test the product on a portion of the stained fabric first. Blue Stains       These stains are caused when undiluted fabric softener or detergent is poured directly onto dry clothes.  The Soap and Detergent Association recommends rubbing the stains with bar soap and re-washing. Brown Stains       Caused by excessive soap or detergent use.  This can also occur when a dry powder cleaner is added to wet clothing.  The soap isn't rinsed out of the material.  The brown stains don't occur until the garments are put in a clothes dryer or ironed.  Heat causes the soap residue to scorch and turn brown.  These stains are often confused with the red or orange discoloration caused by iron in the water supply.  The difference is that the brown stains are washed out of the clothing during the next wash cycle. Dye Transfer Stains      These stains can be any color and occur when a colored piece of  clothing "bleeds" dye onto another.  Clothes should be sorted carefully.  Always soak, wash, and dry white items with other whites and colored items with like items.  Be sure to air dry damp clothing before placing in a hamper or laundry basket.  A color remover such as Rit may remove the stain from white fabrics. By Dr. Duane D. Nowlin MAHONING VALLEY WATER