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WWNDD? (What Would Nancy Drew Do?)

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Fairly Odd Mother

Frantically waving my magic wand to make wishes come true.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

WWNDD? (What Would Nancy Drew Do?)

I have a mystery.

Here's the scoop: a few months ago, I noticed, while folding my newly washed and dried clothes that I had what looked like little grease spots on the clothes.


And, then, this started to happen (see the little mark on the butterfly wing?):


Teeny tiny holes in (I think only) cotton items. But it gets worse:


Yes, those are rips.

Even rips in brand-new, washed once clothing.


Nothing is sacred---even my son's unmentionables:


I'm beside myself because there are dozens of pieces of clothing that either have grease marks on them or holes in them.

Please don't tell me these are from moths or crickets or cotton-loving alligators, because I will have to move out of the house.

And, no, I don't know if they are from the washer or dryer because I'm a terrible detective and forget to check the clothes as I am hurriedly transferring them from the washer to the dryer.

I have been online and determined that it may/may not be: the detergent, the front-load washer, the dryer, too many clothes in a wash, a zipper, a child with scissor-hands and/or a poltergeist. See, it's way narrowed down to a possible reason.

So, if you see me and I'm wearing shabby clothing, you'll know that I still haven't figured out what is going on in my laundry room. And, lend me a needle and thread.

Update! It was the dryer! And, most importantly, it was an inexpensive DIY fix (well Do-It-Yourself if you are my husband. I would've been on the phone with 1-800-handyman). If anyone is having this same trouble, please email me directly at for our fix. I'll try to get my husband to write out what he did and, if so, will post it at the bottom of this entry.



Blogger Suburb Sierra said...

We've had similar happenings, only no holes, and it was the dryer. Our clothes would get caught up near the light bulb and actually burn. Lovely thought, right? Keeps me up at night when the dryer is going afraid our house will burn down.

9:18 PM  
Anonymous mrs. q. said...

(Jeez. I came here just to look at your font choice. Neeeeeerd.)

I think it's something in your washer or dryer. Sounds like the clothes are getting caught in a gasket or drum-- either pinching and getting grease, or tearing. Remember when there was that trouble with the door not shutting? Could it be related and the clothes are getting caught in the latch that closes the door? I would call the manufacturer and talk to their customer service folks. I bet they would have an idea what could cause it. They saved me from using lethal detergent that almost gagged my brand new washer. Dreft is eeevul.

10:36 PM  
Anonymous mrs. q. said...

Weird! I read a few posts that say the new high-efficiency washing machines can cause the tears and grease because of the high spin cycle-- the clothes can actually squeeze through the small holes and hit the internal elements and cause tears, burns and grease spots. The damage usually happens to cotton items because of their light weight. Try spinning your clothes at a lower RPM (most can be adjusted), esp. when doing just cotton stuff, or putting light stuff in mesh bags.

10:45 PM  
Anonymous Obi-Mom Kenobi said...

Nancy would pull on a pair of gloves, hop in her cute little convertible, have lunch in a swanky little restaurant with her best friend before even trying to figure the mystery out. I highly recommend you do the same.

8:20 AM  
Blogger Mama Goose said...

Damn. This adds more fuel to my husband's argument against getting a new front loading washer/dryer. Sorry, but I have to vote for poltergeist.

9:16 AM  
Anonymous Julie said...

This was happening to me... only I never figured out what was causing it.... I do think its probably related to the spin cycle on your washing machine. Are you spinning on high? Try choosing a different cycle spin and see what happens.

12:02 PM  
Blogger Deb said...

We once had a washer that tore the ENTIRE waistband off a pair of my husbands JEANS. Damn it.

1:09 PM  
Blogger Antique Mommy said...

I wish I could blame the washer or even the dryer for my sad spotted clothes.

6:19 PM  
Blogger Patois42 said...

I had the same thought as Antique Mommy. How not helpful am I?

8:43 AM  
Blogger Reff said...

Did you see my four step plan for fixing it on the calendar for Sunday?
1. Take apart dryer
2. Stare
3. Put dryer back together
4. Hope


11:14 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I've no idea -- sorry. My namesake would be v. ashamed.

9:27 PM  
Blogger Jessica said...

ODD! Not just the holes in your clothing...but the fact that my son also has those Obi Won underpants.

Do said underpants belong to the same son you believe owns a "Meow" like Ben's "Meow?"

If so...ODD!

10:03 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

There's a reason us Aussies are addicted to hanging our washing to dry on a good old fashioned clothesline - it eliminates the dryer as a suspect! Bra hooks and metal zips can still wreak havoc in our washing machines however...

6:42 AM  
Blogger jenny said...

ACK. I have a frontload washing machine and have had the exact same problem. I blamed the dryer but now I'm not so sure...

7:14 AM  
Anonymous Sarah @ said...

I think Obi-Mom Kenobi is my new favorite person. She's dead on about Nancy Drew.

12:52 PM  
Blogger Kat said...

I vote poltergeist! It sounds cool and makes a great conversation starter.

But be careful! My neighbors dryer caught on fire. Luckily she was home and was able to stop it before the house burnt down :(

8:50 AM  
Blogger Sus said...

WWNDD is my new fav acronym. Thanks for that.

So did you figure it out? Inquiring minds want to know. And thanks to reading your comments I am now vaguely terrified that my dryer is going to burn my house down.

6:06 AM  
Blogger Fairly Odd Mother said...


I *think* we've figured out the problem. At first, I thought it was the high-speed spin on my front-load washer, so I've been running everything at Perma-Press. BUT, when I took out the clothes from the dryer, I noticed that some of them appeared to be "stuck" to the felt ring around the opening---when I pulled the clothes away---voila---they were brown spots and holes where they had touched this---I'm a little shocked that felt can got hot enough to burn through clothes but this is the most logical explanation. Husband went to the co's website and they even have a FAQ about what to do about brown spots on clothes! So, he's ordered a new felt ring and something else---I'll post details once we have everything and once I find the website that mentioned the problem.

6:22 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

My friend has had that very same thing happen to her. In her case, it was rats. ( first clue: solved) the grease stains are the residue of the left over food the rats eat ( second clue: solved) rats enjoy eating clothing when they have nothing else to eat. I am sorry to say that if you would rather move out it might be best, but if you would rather get an exterminator that would be a swell choice also.
Blessing to you and your son and I hope you get rid of the problem.

Love the 11 year old girl, Lauren

9:53 PM  
Blogger Fairly Odd Mother said...

OMG Lauren, if we hadn't fixed this by now, I'd be running out of the house screaming! I am SO SO happy to report that it was not rats---it was a dryer seal that had worn down, exposing a sharp piece of metal (the rips) and an extra hot spot (the burns). Since my husband fixed this, we haven't had any problems with clothes. (knock on wood).

I hope your friend is rat-free, as I hope we are forever and ever.

10:15 PM  

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