Status: 14.12.2022, 12:31 p.m.
By: Andrea Stettner
"Oily" stains on washed clothes – does that sound familiar to you? This could be due to fat lice. But this has little to do with vermin.
Stains that remain on clothes even after washing are really annoying. But at least you usually know where the stains come from – from tomato sauce, for example, or the delicious chocolate ice cream that sometimes ends up on children's shirts or dresses. Other stains, on the other hand, appear out of nowhere: greasy, "oily" stains or small, gray globules on the clothes. These usually do not come from an oil leak from the washing machine, but from so-called fat lice.
After washing, strange stains, such as "oil", often remain. This may be due to fat lice that come out of the washing machine. © AndreyPopov/Imago
How do fat lice develop?
According to the Washing Forum, fat lice are residues of old skin or kitchen fat, but also of ointments and creams that accumulate in the washing machine. During the wash cycle, this grease is not completely washed out and ends up back on the freshly washed clothes. This always happens when clothes that are too dirty meet a dose of detergent that is too low. The washing solution is then too weak to completely remove the grease. In this way, the fat is deposited again on the freshly washed clothes.
How do I remove fat lice from clothes?
In order to remove fat lice from clothing, it is sufficient to wash the soiled clothes again. This time, however, use a generous amount of detergent (dosage for heavily soiled clothes) and wash the clothes as hot as possible. Pay attention to the corresponding recommendation in the washing label. For pre-treatment, you can also apply a little gall soap, baking soda or dish soap to the appropriate area, leave it on for 15 minutes and then rinse.
Removing fat lice from the washing machine - this is how it works
Sometimes, however, even this is not enough and the fat lice have to be removed from the washing machine. "If the inside of the washing machine remains dirty with grease residues, an empty wash at 95 °C and a generous dosage of detergent can help," informs the Washing Forum. Another option is to start an idle without washing with vinegar water or a machine cleaner, as Haushalttipps.com recommends.
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Prevent fat lice: pay attention to the correct dosage of detergent
To prevent fat lice, it is best to always stick to the detergent manufacturer's recommended dosage for the appropriate degree of soiling. Then there will be no more greasy surprises, but only fragrant clean laundry.