How To Kill Mold In Your Washer And Prevent It From Coming Back
If your clothes don’t smell fresh after coming out of your washing machine, mold could be the cause.
Katie is a Writer at CNET, covering all things how-to. When she’s not writing, she enjoys playing in golf scrambles, practicing yoga and spending time on the lake.
You wash your clothes and towels regularly, but how often do you clean your washing machine? If the answer is never, your washer could be harboring mold and mildew, leaving your laundry smelling less than fresh. Your washer needs a good scrub on a regular basis — especially if there’s a sulfur smell in your laundry. Fortunately, if there’s already mold growing in your washing machine, you can kill it and prevent it from coming back.
I’ll explain how to get your clothes and washing machine smelling fresh and clean again, and how to keep the bad smells away in the future. Plus, I’ll show you how to spot the gross gunk, clean it out and ward off bacteria for good.
Professional Mold Remediation Services
Your washing machine isnt the only place you should be concerned about being affected by mold growth. In fact, if your washing machine suffers a malfunction such as an overflow, then it could lead to water damage to your property and mold growth in the surrounding areas.
If you have a mold problem at home, then do not hesitate to seek immediate help. The longer mold-affected areas and appliances go untreated, the worse the damage will be. With enough time, mold can cause serious damage to your home and appliances and increase the risk of related health effects.
At ServiceMaster EMT, we can help residential and commercial properties in Southern California and Nevada through our professional mold remediation services. Within these mold removal services, our professional technicians locate and address the moisture source that caused the mold growth, contain the mold, restore the damaged materials, and decontaminate the affected areas.
With mold removal help from ServiceMaster EMT, your property will be clean and safe once again.
Clean The Drum And Hoses
After treating the moldy areas, the next step is to clean the washing machine drum and its hoses. This is important because it ensures that lingering mold and its odors are eliminated entirely from the machine. To do this, add your mold cleaner to the machine and run it on the hottest water setting. Running a cycle will get the cleaning solution into the drums and hoses to wash away any residual mold.
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How To Remove Mold From Your Washing Machine
Your washing machine is a particularly helpful appliance that is used on a regular basis. It not only allows you to clean large amounts of clothing at a time, but you can also wash larger, more difficult items such as towels, bedding, and even area rugs. However, it is important to realize that because your washing machine is an appliance that can perform cleaning duties, it also accumulates dirt and other debris. This combined with the constant moisture running through your washing machine can lead to additional problems.
Clean Mold From Front Load Washer With Vinegar
Vinegar is ideal to take care of your stinky washer. Hard water leads to mineral deposits forming all through your washing machine, so to learn how to clean mold from front load washer, use something that can break down the minerals. Adding two cups of vinegar or lemon juice can help. Virtually everyone has one or the other in the pantry.
If you dont have these ingredients, you can also use regular bleach or oxygenated bleach. However, vinegar should do the trick on its own, as it is a powerful cleaning detergent. Vinegar is even suitable as an effective vinyl siding cleaner.
Put the vinegar, lemon juice, or a cup of bleach directly into the wash tub and run a wash cycle. Again, put it on the hottest, longest setting. This technique works well with front loading machines and will also work with your top loader and high efficiency washer to eliminate mold and mildew and leave your washer ready for its next load of laundry.
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How To Clean A Washing Machine Gasket And Filter
How to clean a washing machine drum inside
Both front or top loader washing machines can start to smell if the drum isnt clean. Modern machines often use only a small amount of water in the tub, so they dont automatically get cleaned when you run a load of laundry.
The best way to clean the drum is to run a hot wash using a cleaner such as bleach, vinegar, soda crystals, or one of the DIY cleaning solutions listed above. Once the wash cycle has finished, wipe down the basket with a microfiber cloth to wick up any water residue.
Front loader washing machine filters are usually located at the lower front of the machine. For top loaders, the filter is normally inside the fabric softener dispenser, on top of the agitator inside the basket.
Locate your filter and take it out. Front loaders usually require a screwdriver or coin to open the access door. With top loaders, the dispenser will usually unscrew from the top of the agitator. Bear in mind that theres usually water inside the filter, so put down an old towel to catch any drips.
Remove any debris that has collected in the filter. This could include keys, coins, and lint, as well as sharp objects such as pins, so be careful. Once emptied, run the filter under water and give it a scrub with an old toothbrush if its very dirty.
How To Remove Mold And Mildew From Front
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Ive had my front-loading washing machine for about four years, and it has some great advantages its quiet, fast, uses less water and detergent, and gently tumbles my clothes. In general, Ive been so pleased with it that I was shocked one day when I opened the door and was nearly knocked unconscious by a fetid blast of moldy-smelling air!
How could a machine thats so wonderful, suddenly turn so horribly smelly?
The answer is in the way the machine is designed. Front-loading washing machines have watertight, airtight doors that seal with a rubber gasket. That rubber seal traps moisture in the machine and also provides the perfect nooks and crannies for mold and mildew to grow.
Top-loading washing machines, on the other hand, have a rather loose fitting metal door that easily allows the tank to dry out between loads.
The problem isnt helped by our laundry preferences. High sudsing detergents and liquid fabric softeners leave behind residues and films that invite mold growth. Cold-water cycles and mild, eco-friendly detergents dont quite blast away residues like their environmentally-unfriendly counterparts.
So, to keep mold at bay, front-load washers need just a bit more maintenance than top-loading machines.
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Use Prevention Methods With Every Wash
Aside from the cleaning methods outlined in this article, there are also a few actions you can take after every load of laundry that will prevent mold from forming. The biggest tip is not to let your wet clothes sit in the machine for long periods. Set the end of cycle signal to alert you when the clothes are done to prevent this from happening.
It is also necessary to let your top loading and front load washing machine dry out after use. After you switch your clothes to the dryer and put in your dryer sheets, leave the door or lid of your machine open.
If you have a front loader, pull out the detergent drawer as well to allow it to air out. This will help prevent that musty smell from developing and will leave your laundry room fresh.
If you dont take proper care in cleaning your washing machine, it can lead to many problems. From musty smelling clothes to toxic mold in your washer, the risks of ignoring the necessity of cleaning are not harmless.
If you follow the get-rid-of-mold tips on our list, then you dont have to worry! Whether you have a HE washer, a top loader, or a front loading machine, these tips will help you get rid of mold in washing machines.
If you found these mold removal tips helpful, then share this washing machine cleaning article with your friends on Facebook!
Clean The Detergent Dispenser
Remove the soap and fabric softener dispenser and wash them in the sink. Old laundry detergent residue can cause a mold problem, so make sure you get every spot. Dry the containers thoroughly.
If you cant remove the detergent trays, clean them with a cloth or toothbrush. If you can remove the dispensers, give the interior and opening a thorough scrub before replacing them.
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Bleach To Remove Mold From Clothes
A well known way to remove mold from clothes and fabric is to wash them with bleach. Adding one cup of bleach to the washing machine when you wash a load of clothing should be effective in removing mold from clothes. Check the directions on the bleach to confirm and also check your clothes for do not bleach warnings and perhaps do a spot test for color fastness.
Dont Use Too Much Liquid/powder
Despite what the little lines on the laundry cap tell you, dont fill up the cap more than the 1 or 2 line, and less for smaller loads.
Of course, detergent companies wont give you this advice, but Ive heard this from both service technicians and local appliance companies. HE detergent is so concentrated, so you really dont need that much.
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Bleach As A Mold Killer
Although not a natural solution, bleach is the end-all when mold is involved. Only use bleach or a bleach mixture if other solutions dont work for you since it is a harsh cleaner.
- Spray bottle
Use the same ratio as in the water and vinegar recipe, one part bleach to four parts water. Spray it in the areas that have mold patches. If it is an especially damaging growth, run a bleach and hot water wash cycle.
This acts as a cleaning cycle for the entire machine if there is more than a smattering of patches.
How To Clean Mold And Mildew From Fabric
All of us at one time or another may have left a damp towel or an article of clothing too long in the clothes hamper waiting to be washed. Unfortunately, left behind too long mold and mildew will grow and can create unsightly stains and odor. Here at Clean Laundry, we would like to show you how to use these stain removal techniques to help renew your fabrics and stop mold in its tracks.
- Brush off as much mold and mildew as possible using a dry scrub brush. Do this outdoors if possible to avoid spreading mold spores.
- Fill an empty spray bottle with equal parts white vinegar and water. If there is a visible stain, spray and saturate the moldy fabric with the vinegar solution and allow to stand for five minutes.
- On the smallest load setting, fill washing machine with the hottest water allowed tor the fabric. Adding one cup of vinegar to the water, let fabric soak for no less than two hours. Add laundry detergent and wash fabric as usual.
- After washing cycle has finished, inspect for any traces of mold or mildew. Then allow fabric to dry in the sun. Heat from the clothes dryer may make spots harder to remove.
- If stain and odor persists, pour lemon juice onto stain, sprinkle with table salt and rub it in with fingers. Lay the fabric in the sun to dry.
- Rinse thoroughly with water and wash fabric as usual in the hottest water allowed for the fabric.
Spots on dry-clean materials that cannot be washed should be pointed out to your favorite cleaners.
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Why Mold Grows On Clothes
If you have clothes that are wet for more than 24 hours then mold can easily start to grow on them.
The most common reason mold grows on clothes is if you wash them and then leave them wet for a long time. After you wash your clothes you should dry them immediately. Drying clothes on the line in the sun is the best. And only put your clothes away once they are completely dry.
The same is true for clothes that are damp after you wear them. These need to be washed quickly or hung somewhere to air out. Make sure not to leave damp clothes in a wet pile or the hamper for days on end.
The other main reason that clothes grow mold on them is if the air in your home is too humid. Rooms where you store clothes need to be properly ventilated. Hanging clothes with some space between them in the closet or not packing them in too tightly together in drawers help the clothes air out when they are stored away.
Leave The Door Open Or Ajar
To prevent mold and mildew from growing and keep smells at bay, its best to leave the washer door open or ajar after each wash until the washer thoroughly dries out.
You might also consider leaving the door open all the time to prevent mold from growing. If your washer is in a high traffic area, you might consider using a laundry lasso to keep your door ajar while its not in use.
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How To Naturally Clean Any Washing Machine
If youve ever wondered why your washing machine smelled funny or if you should be cleaning it, you need to clean it. If you havent ever wondered about cleaning this hard-working appliance, you still need to clean it. Add this simple step to your laundry process and youll have fresh smelling laundry AND an odor-less washing machine.
You can clean a top loading or front loading machine with white vinegar or bleach. My preference is to use either white vinegar OR non-chlorinated bleach because they are safe, all-natural solutions, but some washing machine manufacturers recommend only using chlorinated bleach. Most importantly, follow the instructions for your specific machine or try one of these natural methods.
Run The Tub Clean Cycle
Some models have a tub clean cycle, If your front load washer has one, simply pour some vinegar into the laundry compartment, select the tub clean cycle and wait until the cycle ends.
If you dont have a tub clean cycle, simply choose the longest and hottest setting, add your vinegar and complete the wash cycle.
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Doall Front Loaders Have Mold Problems
Pretty much. In fact, ALL washing machines can have mold problems. Front loaders get a bad rep because mold tends to grow out of control in that rubber gasket area. But there are plenty of other areas in washing machines where mold can grow. There are the trays where you put detergent and bleach. There is the top area of the basin just under the washing machine housing on the top loaders that can get mold growth. There is the basin itself. The door can get moldy. But that gasket area on a front loader is definitely the biggest culprit when it comes to mold growth.
Mold In Washing Machines
One such problem is that washing machines can become breeding grounds for mold with the combination of debris and water. This is why cleaning your washing machine on a regular basis is important. Without consistent cleaning, it wont be difficult for mold colonies to grow in your washing machine which can affect your clothing.
Usually, mold in washing machines can be found in the rubber seal for front-loading washers and components of top-loading machines. So, if you do find that mold has grown in your washing machine, then do not hesitate to act right away. You dont want to ignore the problem only for it to lead to damage to your expensive washing machine or your clothing.
Make sure you check your washing machine regularly for mold growth and debris. Refer to the following tips if you need help removing mold from your washing machine.
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How To Remove And Clean Mold From The Detergent Drawer
Whileyour detergent drawer is soaking and air drying, you will want to work on theactual dispenser area on the washing machine.
Once the detergent drawer and the dispenser housing area is dry, slide the drawer back into the washer.