What Red Laundry Water Really Means (And How To Fix It)

You may not initially think that the water being pumped into your home is able to affect your washing machine, but if your laundry water suddenly has a red tinge, this water could be the culprit. Not only can it turn the water red, but rusty water can leave stains on your clothes and cause issues when ironing. A sudden change in your water could be down to your pipes being rusty, or it could mean that your water supply contains a high level of iron.

Cleaning your washing machine is important, but reddish water usually signifies there's a deeper problem. This issue can be fixed, as can your stained clothing, but it will take time. Because of this, it's important to look out for signs of rusty water like the ones mentioned above so the problem doesn't get worse. Nobody wants their favorite sweater to come out with rust stains or their tap water to start tasting funky, but knowing about this issue will let you know what's happening if you notice your washing machine water has turned red.

Issues with laundry water can often show up on clothes

If you're worried that your machine is rusty, there are some main signs that will let you know for sure. A major telltale sign that there's something wrong is if your clothes emerge with yellow, brown, or red stains on them. This means that the water your clothes are being washed in is not fully clean and is transferring onto your garments. Another key way to tell is if your white clothes suddenly start to yellow drastically. Finally, when ironing, stains will appear both on the iron and the item you're getting wrinkles out of if you're working with rusty water.

This can be frustrating, but don't panic if you do spot one or more of these signs, as getting marks out of your clothes is relatively easy. The first step is to keep stained clothes you have taken from the washer out of the dryer, as heat will set the stains and make them nearly impossible to get out. Additionally, avoid bleach for the same reason. Instead, put your clothes on a wash cycle with a rust removal agent, before putting them on a second with detergent to remove any leftover rust. You can also try using salt and lemon juice — put a little of each ingredient on the stain, hang out to dry, and then gently remove the excess with water.

Rusty pipes and iron can also turn water red

Fixing rusty water itself isn't always simple, unfortunately,  as several issues could cause the redness. First, check the pipes. If you see that they are visibly corroded or damaged, that's a clear sign they need replacing. New pipes can be expensive, but it's well worth it to stop your laundry coming out of the washer with stains on. If the pipes look fine, you'll need to do a deeper water analysis. This analysis could show the iron levels in your water supply are high.

An excess of iron is another reason why your washing machine water could be red. If this is the case, you can try fixing it with items like water softeners or a filtration system. Water softeners do what their name suggests by removing the hard minerals of iron from your water, therefore leaving it less prone to rust, and a filtration system, as you may have guessed, will filter out an excess of iron. You can find these items online, but if in doubt, it's best to call out a professional so you know everything is fitted properly.