How to kill mold in your washing machine

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Have you ever opened your washing machine only to find yourself smelling foul and funky? Did you shrug your shoulders and ignore it? Me too. But it got worse, didn’t it? Until finally, your freshly washed clothes smelled musty. We both had mold and bacteria growing in our washers and clogging our laundry. Luckily, it’s quite simple to clean your washing machine and avoid mold to grow back.

Why is there black mold growing in my washing machine?

Mold loves moisture, and parts of your washing machine (seals, gaskets, hoses, distributors, etc.) get wet and never completely dry. Mildew also feeds on leftover fabric softener and detergent residue left behind when you finish washing your clothes.

Although mold can grow in any washing machine, these in wet locations, front-loading and “high efficiency” washers are more prone to mold buildup than top load washers. When you close the door of an HE machine, it seals, preventing air from circulating and causing mold. But an even worse problem can be the rubber seals that keep everything in an HE washer airtight. Mildew builds up under them if you’re not careful to clean and dry them regularly.

Is washing machine mold dangerous?

In a word, yes. “Mildew that grows in washing machines can be problematic even when the machine is not in use,” said Melanie Carver, spokeswoman for the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America. consumer reports. “Mold can trigger allergic symptoms, including sneezing, itching, runny nose and congestion, and can also irritate the airways.”

Fortunately, there are simple ways to clean mold from your washing machine and prevent it from growing back.

How to clean your washing machine’s mold

To clean your washing machine of mold, first gather the following supplies:

  • Bucket
  • rubber gloves
  • An old towel or rag that you no longer need
  • A brush
  • Anti-mold solution

Prepare an anti-mold solution

There are Commercial products designed to kill mold, but you probably already have plenty of stuff you can mix with water to kill mold too—tit’s proven is bleach. To prepare a bleach-based mold and mildew solution:

  • Mix 1 part bleach with 4 parts water.

If you don’t want to use bleachyou can try these alternative recipes:

  • 2 cups water, ½ cup hydrogen peroxide and ¼ cup lemon juice
  • 2 cups water, ¼ cup lemon juice and ½ cup distilled white vinegar
  • 1 part vinegar and 4 parts water (I haven’t found any vinegar cleaning solutions particularly effective, but your mileage may vary.)

Important: Do not mix bleach with any of these other ingredients as it may create a deadly gas.

Step 1: Clear the hoses from the washing machine

Mold can build up in the tubes and hoses of your machine, so we’ll deal with it first by following these steps:

  • Empty the washing machine and make sure there are no leftover detergents or fabric softener in the dispensers.
  • Pour about a cup of pure bleach into the main washer drum, or…
  • If you have a detergent, fabric softener and/or bleach dispenser, pour a reasonable amount of bleach, depending on the size of your machine, into each one.
  • Run the empty washer on its hottest water cycle and largest load size.
  • Leave the door open to dry completely.

Step 2: Clean the inside of your machine

  • If you have a front loader, be sure to remove the seal and, using a rag or brush, carefully clean behind the rubber seal.
  • Wipe down the drum, lid, and all exposed parts with your mildew solution and towel, making sure to wear gloves.
  • Dry it with a dry cloth and leave it open.
  • If you want to get ambitious, you can remove the entire drum from inside the machine and wipe everything down. Consult the manufacturer to see if this is possible/recommended for your particular washing machine.

Step 3: Clean the lint filter and dispensers

Many washing machines have removable dispenser drawers for detergents and fabric softeners.

  • Check the manual for how to remove them.
  • Soak them for about an hour in hot tap water.
  • If you cannot remove the drawers, ctilt them by wiping them with a brush or a cloth soaked in your solution.
  • Dry everything well before put it back in place.

Most washing machines have a lint filter or trap, and this is often a huge mold attractor. Check yourselfour manual for how to remove it. Once you have:

  • Clean any gunk that has accumulated on the trap.
  • Sscrub it with your anti-mold solution or soak it in warm water.
  • Run a wash cycle without detergent or bleach to make sure everything is completely rinsed.

How can I prevent mold from forming in my washing machine?

Now that your washer is molded-free, there are steps you can take to prevent mold from forming (or at least slowing down its growth).

  • Always leave the washer open between uses.
  • Also leave the vending machines open, if you can.
  • Do not leave wet clothes in your washer.
  • If you have a high-efficiency washer, only use detergent designed for HE machines.
  • Again, for HE washers, be sure to dry the area under the door seal after each use.
  • Improve air circulation in your laundry room with a fan or an open window.
  • Run a dehumidifier to remove moisture from the air.
  • Avoid using too much detergent.
  • Some people recommend ditch the fabric softener completelyand using white vinegar instead.

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