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What Causes Stains in a Stainless Steel Washer Tub?

Mason Howard
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Stainless steel is revered for its durability and ability to resist corrosion. Stainless steel is not, however, completely resistant to blemishes and stains. When it comes to your washing machine, there are several things that can cause staining in a stainless steel tub.

The stainless steel tub in a washer can pick up stains from several sources.

If a stain does occur, there is usually a correlating method of stain removal depending on what caused the stain.

Metal Objects

Metal objects that fall out of pockets, such as coins, paper clips and pins, left in the tub will cause rust. Rust spots are removed by scouring with a soft scrub brush and baking soda or lemon juice.

Soaps and Cleaners

Do not allow soaps and cleaners to dry on the tub’s surfaces. The chemicals in many soaps and cleaners can cause staining. Never use corrosive cleaners such as mineral spirits in your tub. Use stainless steel cleaning polish and a non-abrasive scrub pad to remove dried cleaner stains.


Do not allow bleach or bleach water to sit in your tub for long periods. Bleach can eventually cause staining and pitting. Bleach stains are removed with stainless steel cleaning polish.

Steel Wool

Do not clean the inside of the tub with steel wool. Steel wool will not only scratch the stainless steel, but microscopic bits of the wool can get left behind and eventually cause rust spots.

Wet Items

Damp clothes or linens left to sit in your tub for long periods of time can also lead to rusting.

Hard Water

Hard water can leave mineral deposits, resulting in whitish-colored spots and streaks. Remove hard water stains with vinegar or with stainless steel cleaning polish. Prevent hard water stains by towel-drying the tub after every wash.

Clothing Dyes

Always make sure that a clothing dye is safe for washing machines before using it in your machine.