Yeah, There’s Probably Mold Growing in Your Washer. Here’s How to Kill It
This story is part of try thisCNET’s collection of simple tips to improve your life fast.
Have you noticed that your clothes don’t smell as clean when they come out of yours Washing machine? Mold or bacteria could be the reason as they all thrive in humid environments. That means it’s time to routinely clean your washing machine to get rid of the smelly source and prevent it from coming back.
In the following, we explain how you can make your laundry and washing machine smell fresh again and keep unpleasant odors away in the future. (You can find more cleaning tips here How do I get pet stains out of carpets?, How to remove makeup stains from your beddingand How to clean your mattress.)
The best way to kill mold and bacteria in your washing machine
If you have mold in your washing machine, here’s how to get rid of it. Doing this monthly will prevent mold growth.
1. Put on gloves and grab an old towel that you don’t care about.
2. Mix a solution of bleach and hot water or vinegar and hot water. (Never mix bleach and vinegar — toxic chlorine gas is produced.)
3. Dip the towel in the mixture and begin scrubbing away any visible mold. Be careful to get the detergent dispenser and around the seals.
4. Front loading machines have a seal around the door. If you have a front loader, clean and dry it thoroughly, including all creases.
5. Run the wash on the hottest setting on your machine with a cup of bleach or vinegar. If you use bleach, pour it into the bleach compartment. If using vinegar, pour it into the detergent slot.
If your machine has a self-clean cycle, you can use this setting. This should kill any hidden mold that you may have overlooked.
6. Use another old towel and wipe away all the moisture in your washing machine. This includes the keg, dispenser, seals and any other area you can reach.
7. Leave the washing machine door open to allow the airflow to dry any items you forgot.
Leave the lid open when not doing laundry
Mold grows in dark, damp areas, which is what your washing machine will do after you unload clothes. Leaving the lid closed traps moisture, which can lead to a build-up of bacteria and a bad smell.
Leaving the washing machine door open will help ventilate the area and prevent mold growth in the first place.
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Take off wet clothing immediately
Damp clothing is another breeding ground for mold. If you throw in a load of laundry, make sure you’re home to remove the clothes as soon as the timer goes off
Not only does this prevent mold from forming in your washing machine, but it also keeps mold away from your clean clothes, linens and towels.
Dry wet seals and other parts after each use
Wipe down all damp parts of the washing machine after using your washing machine all day. This includes the lid, drum, door, rubber seals and detergent container (if your machine has this feature).
Keep an old towel handy for this purpose.
Be sure to dry the gaskets along with the rest of your washing machine to prevent moisture from sticking to them. And during mold growth can can happen in any washing machine, especially common in high-efficiency (HE) front-loading washing machines. Therefore, you should wash the seals around the door regularly and keep them dry. The seals keep water from leaking around the door and also seal in moisture well, which can contribute to mold growth.
Animal hair, crumpled paper or other residues should also be removed from the machine immediately.
Continue reading: How to buy a washing machine
If you have a high-efficiency washing machine
Liquid detergents can leave residue in your washing machine and provide a source of food for mold. So if you have a high-efficiency washing machine, the first thing you need to make sure is that you’re using a detergent made specifically for that type of washing machine, which produces less suds to keep mold at bay. (Look for the letters HE on the bottle.)
Better yet, ditch liquid detergent altogether and switch to powder or capsules. Whatever you choose, make sure you only use what you need to wash your clothes. If you use too much, your clothes may have an odor and residue.
Once you’ve cleaned your washing machine, it’s time to move on to the rest of your home. Start with the bathroom: Here’s a simple hour-long hack for Detox your shower head and how to unclog a toilet without a plunger.