Knowledge Base:  
Stains in Laundry - several possible causes
Last Updated: 08/07/2011
Even though you have a working water softener ( maybe a separate Greensand Iron Filter ), there are several things that could cause you to still be getting staining.

1) It is critical that your system never run empty of salt.
2) It is important that the time of day be kept correct and that no one uses water between
    2 a.m. - 3 a.m. when the system is regenerating. While the system is in regeneration, any water
    used would be unconditioned ( coming straight from the well ).

3) In high iron situations it is usually necessary to include a cleaner with the salt. Iron Out
    ( about 1/4 cup with each 80 lbs of Salt ) is commonly used. So is Tan-X
    ( Citric Acid, also 1/4 lbs per 80 lbs. ). A cup or two of Chlorine Bleach can be used, if your
    softener DOES NOT have "white resins" installed for Tannic Acid Color removal
    ( this is a special layer of resins sometimes added to the regular resin inside your resin tank ).

4) It could be your resin tank is too small to handle all the iron.
a. What size is the resin tank?
b. What is the level of Iron and Hardness of the water?

5) It could be you are not regenerating often enough, or using enough salt per regeneration.
a. How often does your softener regenerate?
b. How many people are using the water?
c. How much salt are you using per month?

6) On rare occasions the iron could be coming from just the hot water tank. I've seen a few
    old ones ( over 20 years old ) rusting out on the inside, thus putting iron back into the water.
    This is also true in older mobile homes ( again over 20 years old ) that used galvanized plumbing
    under the trailer.

* More Staining Issues *

Dark Gray spots on our bed sheets after laundry, though not on anything else white or light. My wife thinks the cause is the Potassium Permanganate from our water system, but I canít imagine how that could get into our washer. Any thoughts?

If you have a potassium permanganate system, you should NEVER use bleach in your laundry, or you will get staining.
There is always a chance of a trace amount of the Permanganate being in the water, and it reacts with liquid bleach.

Also, when you have soft water, you should NEVER use liquid fabric softener in the wash tub.
That too is known to cause staining ( especially if you have any "Tannins" in your water ).

Okay to use dry sheets in the dryer.

Above are the common reasons a working water softener might still be allowing you to get staining.

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