Tar stains can be a nuisance, especially if they find their way into your washing machine. This problem can occur from accidentally washing clothes stained with tar or due to technical issues like drum bearing seal failure or transmission seal failure. Regardless of how the tar got into your washing machine, it’s essential to remove it promptly to prevent potential damage to your machine and clothes.
To get tar out of a washing machine, start by scraping off any visible tar gently with a plastic scraper. Then, apply a solvent like paint thinner or WD-40 to the stains, making sure to test it on a small area first. After removing the tar, run a hot water cycle with detergent or baking soda to clean the washing machine and remove any remaining solvent residue. Wipe down the drum, agitator, and other areas with a microfiber cloth and vinegar. Check for any remaining tar stains and repeat the process if necessary.
Recognizing the Signs of Tar in Your Washing Machine
Before you can tackle the problem, you need to recognize the signs that your washing machine may have residual tar. These signs include:
- Small spots of brownish tar on clothes after washing.
- Streaks of tar visible on the washing machine drum or plastic bars inside the drum.
- Persistent tar smell in the washing machine even after running multiple cleaning cycles.
If you notice any of these signs, it is time to take action.
Steps to Remove Tar from Your Washing Machine
Step 1: Scrape Off Visible Tar
Start by scraping off any visible tar using a plastic scraper or an old credit card. Be gentle to avoid scratching the surface of the tub.
Step 2: Apply a Solvent
Next, apply a solvent to the tar stains. You can use a solvent like paint thinner, WD-40, or even mayonnaise. Make sure to test it on a small, inconspicuous area first to ensure it won’t damage the washing machine.
Step 3: Clean the Washing Machine
After removing the tar, run a hot water cycle with detergent or baking soda to clean the washing machine and remove any remaining solvent residue. You can also add two cups of white vinegar to the cycle to help remove any lingering odors.
Step 4: Wipe Down the Washing Machine
Once the cleaning cycle is complete, use a microfiber cloth and vinegar to wipe down the drum, agitator, and any other areas that may have been affected by the tar.
Step 5: Inspect and Repeat If Necessary
Finally, check the washing machine for any remaining tar stains and repeat the cleaning process if needed.
Preventing Tar from Getting into Your Washing Machine
The best way to deal with tar in your washing machine is to prevent it from getting there in the first place. Here are some preventive measures:
- Wear old clothes or protective clothing when working with tar.
- Pre-treat tar-stained clothes with a prewash stain remover or a liquid enzyme laundry detergent before washing.
- Avoid putting clothes with tar stains in the dryer, as the heat can cause the tar to melt and spread.
By following these steps, you can effectively remove tar from your washing machine and prevent it from causing further issues. Remember, regular maintenance and cleaning of your washing machine can help prevent the buildup of residue, including tar, and extend the lifespan of your machine.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can I use any other household items to remove tar from my washing machine?
Yes, other than the solvents mentioned in the article, you can also use peanut butter or olive oil. These substances contain oils that can help break down the tar. Apply it onto the tar stain, let it sit for a while, and then scrape it off.
How long should I let the solvent sit on the tar before scrubbing it off?
You should let the solvent sit on the tar for about 10-15 minutes before attempting to scrub it off. This gives the solvent time to penetrate and break down the tar.
What should I do if the tar has already spread to my clothes in the dryer?
If tar has spread to your clothes in the dryer, you can try applying a solvent (like WD-40) to the tar stains, then wash the clothes again. Remember to air dry them this time to prevent further spreading of the tar.
How often should I clean my washing machine to prevent tar buildup?
It’s recommended to clean your washing machine once a month to prevent buildup of any residue, including tar. However, if you frequently wash clothes that could have tar stains, you may want to clean it more often.
What should I do if the tar stains persist after several cleaning attempts?
If tar stains persist after several cleaning attempts, it might be time to call a professional. Persistent tar stains may indicate a more serious issue with your washing machine, such as a failing drum bearing seal or transmission seal.