Downy Unstopables Caused Stains On My Washables

by SR101 Reader

Many people love Downy Unstopables, but as much as some people love the scent I've gotten quite a number of complaints from readers about staining caused by this laundry scent booster.


What follows are quite a number of experiences from readers about this problem.

SR101 Reader says:

Twice now I've had stains left by these scent beads.

I put them in the washing machine first, but I'm not sure they are always totally dissolved before my clothes go in, especially when using cold water.

I've rewashed and rewashed and the stains are still there.

I have a washable winter coat and it now looks terrible.

I also feel that this product is expensive and you shouldn't have to worry about destroying your good clothing.

I won't buy again.

Audra says:

I recently bought three new shirts, one from Victoria's Secret and the two others are Juicy Couture. It stained only those three shirts.

It worked well on everything else.

I'm very dissaponted because it ruined the most expensive clothes that I had. Any ideas on how to get the stains out?

Taylor says:

I'm sorry both of you are having this trouble with this product.

I've collected several additional reader complaints similar to this below, along with some suggestions of what to do about it, so keep scrolling down for more information.



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Lush Scent Left Dots On Clothes

by Sammantha Wilhite
(Monroe LA)

Sammantha shared her experience with this product, which unfortunately was not very good.

Sammantha says:

I have used the Downy Unstopables several times. They left dots on our clothes and ruined several garments.

I now use what I have left in the bottom of my trash cans as a deodorizer.

I do not like this product and was very unpleased with the results.

The types of clothing were cotton fabrics, our towels and shirts.

I love for my clothes to smell clean so I always use dryer sheets. I even put them in our suitcases when we go on a trip.

Taylor says:

Sammantha, thanks for sharing your experience with this product with me.

You aren't the first person to mention that this product caused staining and spotting to your clothing, for this brand. I've actually discussed a similar issue more, though, with another laundry scent booster. I've gotten similar complains along these lines with Gain Fireworks as well.

The consensus over on that page from other readers who've also used the product is that you've got to add the water, then the scent booster crystals or beads (and detergent), let it dissolve a bit, and then add the clothes.

When this product was first advertised there was even some confusion about what order you should add them in, since that wasn't very clear on the packaging or anywhere else. I have noticed, however, that recently even in their commercials for them they now explicitly say to add the beads before you add the clothes, so my guess is that they got a lot of complaints about this issue!

As mentioned above, making sure they are added first, and are dissolved before the addition of clothes doesn't always seem to prevent the problem though.

In addition, using a different method for adding them to the wash doesn't help you with the clothes that are already stained or ruined.

If they've been run through the dryer it may be to late to salvage them, but if you caught it after the wash, but before you dried them with heat you may still have a chance to remove the stains. I would suggest a long presoak in a color safe bleach solution, such as Oxiclean. Tell me if that helps if you try it!

In addition, another reader from the Gain Fireworks review page suggested using ammonia to try to remove the stains. If you do this, check out the tip on the page first, and follow all precautions necessary to make sure you don't ruin the garment!

***Update #1: Another reader, Kelli, commented sharing that she also had some problems with staining from this product. She stated:
I have had several garments stained by the purple unstoppables, too. It smells great, but I have had way too many things ruined already. :(
***End Update

***Update #2: Here's another similar comment I received:
I recently used this product and it left stains on two of my work shirts and a hoodie. I rewashed them to no avail. Stay away from this product. I contacted the company and they stated they would reimburse me for my clothes and I haven't received anything yet.
***End Update

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Love The Scent But It Has Stained My Dark Clothes

by Sandra

Sandra shared her experience with this product too.

Sandra says:

I absolutely love the smell of the Blue Downy Unstoppables.

However the only complaint I have is that they have ruined several pieces of my dark clothing by leaving a round stain, like a slight purple color.

It will not come off.

I have a front loading washer, so there is no way I can add water first and then the clothes.

Taylor says:

Sorry to hear about the staining problems this product has been causing you.

I've provided some suggestions above, from myself and linked to pages with suggestions from other readers, of how to remove these stains from similar products.

However, I'd love to hear from even more readers with ideas and tips you've used to get rid of spots from these types of laundry products.

If you've either experienced this problem or have a way to fix it, I'd love to hear from you. You can share your tips here.

Further, I've got lots of other reviews of this product that have nothing to do with this staining issue that has been raised. You can read more about these products and additional reviews here.

***Update: CParker wrote in a comment, sharing her trouble with this product. She says:
I've noticed stains on our towels and light colored cotton shirts and tan pants. Love the scent that it leaves on clothing & towels but not worth the stains it leaves behind. Disappointed.
***End Update

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Comments for Love The Scent But It Has Stained My Dark Clothes

Click here to add your own comments

unfortunately it didn't work
by: Audra

I read your suggestions on how to get rid of the stains from Downy Unstopables. I soaked one of my shirts in ammonia and it did not work. I also tried using Oxiclean spot remover and that did not work, as well. Please let me know if you have any other suggestions.

stains and spots
by: Elizabeth

I used a free sample of this product and it ruined the whole load of clothes... left pink dots on my husband's work clothes that now I am going to have to pay to have them replaced.... not real happy.. and have stopped buying Downy products all together...

Left oil stains
by: Anonymous

I always liked Downy products. It's the only softener I ever used and still use. But I don't like Unstopables. Yes they smell great but it left an oil like stain on some of our clothes. I won't use this product again.

me too, especially with black colored clothes
by: Anonymous

I too have problems with these scented beads leaving stains on my clothes, especially black colored clothes and sometimes not even dissolving. I thought the problem was maybe because I was using cold water and it didn't melt well, so I tried washing my clothes with hot water and it still left stains. I am going to try it one more time before I give up. Since my washer locks I cannot add water and then throw in the clothes. I will try melting this in a cup full of water in the microwave, pouring it over my clothes and then starting my laundry. Has anyone tried something like this? And if so did it work?

two things to try for removing the stains
by: Anonymous

Try Fels Naptha soap and/or rubbing alcohol.

stained my new capris
by: Nancy Peak

I have been using the purple Downy Unstopables for a while now without any problem, but today my new yellow capris and a pink pair of shorts came out of the washer with many spots on them. I am going to try soaking them in Oxiclean so am hoping for the best. I think I shall be very careful using these in the future.

beads melted in the dryer and on clothes
by: Liz

The beads didn't "melt" in the wash like they are supposed to (I tossed my clothes in the dryer without knowing this). When the dryer was finished the beads melted and stained my clothes and the dryer! Please help!!!!

Bleach spots on black clothes
by: Anonymous

When I used the product it left bleach spots on all my dark clothes and the only way to remedy is to add black RID to a slop sink with my clothes- not to the washing machine of course or everything in the future will be black.

little dark blue stains on clothes?
by: JG

So are those dark little blue stains or lines where the little beads stained the clothing?

I have a couple of things damaged already, it's adding up.

I thought it was me.

Did anyone Find the Solution?

Not Downy but the washers
by: Anonymous

I have never had a problem with Downy. I think it's the new washers, water savers, they don't cover the clothes. Ruined two brand new white shirts. I hope this washer is under warranty. I hate it. You can't soak anything. It was $800.00 dollars worth of crap. Sears Whirlpool with a giant tub, which you can't use either, because of the water saver. It uses very little water. It's a mess!

Ruined whole load
by: Tonia

I also am very angry that the Downy Unstoppable ruined 3 pieces of clothing. I've used it for a while and have never had an issue. Then I used it on a pair of white jeans and 2 white shirts and all three are ruined.

Confusion about when to add
by: Anonymous

I got a sample of the Unstoppable and read the packet and couldn't determine whether to add it to the washer or dryer. I made the mistake of adding to the dryer and now I need help on how to get the melted remnants out of the dryer. Any suggestions?

Ruined expensive clothes
by: Gabrielle Hart

The stains are on random pieces in the same load. I can not get them out. So, so upset over what this has cot me in clothing.

Ruined!
by: Anonymous

PLEASE be warned that this product can leave purple and brown spots on clothing that cannot be removed with repeated washings. I am furious! I followed the directions to the tee and STILL had this problem. I will NEVER buy this product again. My friends, do NOT use this!

Unstoppables has ruined nice, new clothes with spots
by: Anonymous

I laundered 7 items of new clothing: a pair of Dockers khakis, 4 pairs of Nike basketball shorts in various lighter shades of gray, and 2 Nike t shirts. All of them developed oil-spot stains on them, either dark blue or brown. I always fill the washer with water and laundry products, then agitate to mix before adding clothes. This load was a medium warm temperature.

So far I've tried Fels Naptha (which is normally a God-send) and Shout, as well as spot-treating with just detergent and water. No success.

P&G had absolutely the worst customer service approach. At first, they told me they'd never heard of the problem before. When I pointed out that it was all over the internet and that I didn't believe I was the first caller, the customer service rep. "Travis", and later his manager, "Natasha", insisted they'd never personally encountered complaints of this sort. Not credible.

However, they somehow were very familiar with the causes of the problem. They first told me that it was a problem with incorrect product use -- not adding the pellets first, but I had done that. They then told me to relaunder, but I'd done that, too, with no success.

Their final solution was for me to send in the damaged goods and wait 6-8 weeks for them to determine if the stains were caused by Unstoppables (as if I trust them) and to try to remove them. In the end, they would either 1} send them back with the spots removed; 2) send them back and disavow responsibility for the spots; 3) not send them back and send me a debit card for "what the clothes are worth", which is NOT the same thing as my replacement cost.

In order to participate in this process, I'd have to sign away my rights/ownership to the clothes and consent to take whatever dollar amount they felt the clothes were worth. To me, this is not acceptable.

I'm NOT a litigious person. I hate all the lawsuits people file for exorbitant sums over whiny matters, but someone should start a class action against P&G for not disclosing this problem and for requiring those harmed to relinquish their property rights if they want P&G to look at the damaged articles. I'm mad about being deprived of my property and not being compensated for its replacement beyond whatever P&G unilaterally determines that it's worth, regardless of what I actually paid for it. Having to sign away my rights to participate in their damage reimbursement process is a real affront.

Awesome stain remover removed the stains
by: Anonymous

The Unstoppable's stained my white comforter. So I used this product from the dollar store it only cost a dollar. It is called Awesome. I used it. Rinse and re-wash my quilt and the stains came out. I had a big pink one with little green dots that turned lime neon yellow everything came out when I sprayed it.

I'm going to stop using because of this problem
by: Anonymous

We have noticed staining (almost like bleach) on tan colored towels and wash cloths. We did not know what caused it. Then I noticed a pair of khaki shorts that had this same staining. It is a random streaking. The only difference is that this has happened since we started using the Downy Unstopables. I am going to stop using them.

ruined several outfits
by: Anonymous

Downy Unstoppable's very disappointing product ruined several good outfits. The pellets caused a bleaching effect and stain, all for the sake of an extra product for better smelling clothing. It cost me money. Solution hot water dissolve the pallets into a container and use as a liquid. Shortcuts never work, pellets do not dissolve.

very disappointed
by: Anonymous

I loved the scent these beads leave on my clothes. But noticed several stains on our clothing, which won't come out. Very disappointed!!!

Mysterious Stains
by: Dawn

I agree with previous complaints. I couldn't understand where these spots on my clothing was suddenly coming from! My husband's khakis were all ruined and some recently bought garments as well. I also made sure that I put the crystals in before the clothes and I only use cold water so it seemed with every wash more clothes were being ruined. My husband actually figured out what was happening and I haven't put this item on our grocery list since.

Looks like grease stains
by: Dina

Love the smell! Hate the spots they leave on some clothes!!

adding with water before clothes
by: Anonymous

This is a fine resolution if you are using a top loader but using a front loader that isn't possible. This is very disappointing.

melted spots
by: Anonymous

Leaving melted spots on clothes.

Love the smell, don't like the spots!
by: Anonymous

It altered the color and left what appears like bleach spots, except I don't use bleach.

Might want to try Avon bubble bath as stain remover
by: Sandra M

My brother just recently bought some of the scent beads for me to try because he was impressed by how long the smell lasted in his towels. I have only used it in two loads of my front load washer with my curtains and so far so good no stains yet and I love the smell but I'm kinda nervous to use it in my clothing. However those who are experiencing stains might want to try using Avon Bubble Bath as a stain remover. I'm not trying to talk up another product and I'm not an Avon representative but that's all I use on all of my laundry.I used it on a shirt I wear when I'm cooking food that pops grease on my clothes such as hamburger and it removed all of the stains. It's even safe for me to use on my infant grand babies clothes. Just thought a few people might be interested in knowing that they may not have to throw their clothes out and be faced with buying replacements. Like I said no stains for me yet so I don't know if it will remove the unstoppable stains but it would be worth trying before throwing them out. Hope this is helpful!

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