The combination of water and detergents in your washing machine can create a breeding ground for bacteria that may develop into mold. This mold buildup leads to unpleasant odors in the machine and leaves your laundry with a foul smell after washing.
Thankfully, removing mold from your washing machine is as simple as cleaning your appliance thoroughly. To help make this process as easy as possible, we have a detailed step-by-step cleaning procedure in this guide for you to follow.
Regular cleaning and maintenance are crucial to prevent mold and ensure your laundry comes out of the washer clean and smelling fresh. To help you prevent mold from building up in the first place, we also came up with some simple tips for you to follow.
What causes mold in a washing machine?
Before we give you the detailed cleaning procedure, let’s quickly go over some of the leading causes of mold building up in your washing machine, so you can prevent it from occurring in the first place.
- Excess moisture: Moisture can remain inside the washing machine drum at the end of the wash cycle. When this happens, it can create the perfect conditions for mold to develop.
- Humidity in the drum: During the wash cycle, the inside of your washing machine gets warm. This creates humidity, which is the perfect breeding ground for mold to develop.
- No air circulation: Most people close the washing machine door after they have taken out their laundry. This traps moisture inside the washer drum, allowing mold to develop.
- Detergent residue: If you use excessive amounts of detergent or fabric softener when doing a load of laundry, residue can build up in the washer, which can help mold grow.
- Lack of cleaning: It’s essential to regularly clean your washing machine to prevent dirt and grime from building up in the machine. Over time, the debris in your machine will turn into bacteria, then mold. It’s imperative to clean the door gasket/seal if you have a front-loader washing machine.
Steps to remove mold
Thankfully, removing mold from your washing machine is super easy. Just give the door gasket/seal and the appliance’s surfaces a quick clean, then run a cleaning cycle.
Follow these steps to remove mold from your washing machine:
- To protect yourself from coming in contact with the cleaning solution, put on a pair of protective gloves and, if available, a protective mask.
- Prepare a cleaning solution by either combining 2 cups of hot water with ½ cup of bleach and ¼ cup of lemon juice, or mixing 2 cups of water with ½ cup of white vinegar and ¼ cup of lemon juice. Both solutions effectively combat mold and prevent its growth in your washing machine. Remember never to mix bleach and vinegar, as it can be toxic.
- Transfer your chosen cleaning solution into a spray bottle and grab a cloth or old towel for cleaning.
- Start by spraying the solution onto the door gaskets/seals (especially for front loader washers) and thoroughly clean the gaskets. For stubborn mold spots, you can use an old toothbrush.
- Proceed to carefully clean the rest of the washing machine’s interior, paying close attention to the area around and inside the detergent dispenser.
- Now, run a complete wash cycle. Use the hottest setting available if your washer has no dedicated cleaning cycle. Place the bleach solution in the dedicated bleach compartment or pour the vinegar into the detergent compartment. Pour the rest of the cleaning solution into the drum.
- After completing the cycle, use a towel or cloth to completely dry your washing machine, including the gaskets and rubber seals. For additional ventilation, leave the washer door open to allow thorough drying.
- If you still detect a lingering odor after cleaning, mold buildup might be in the back or sides of your washer. Although uncommon, if this occurs, you’ll need to remove the sides of your washer, carefully clean all components, let them dry, then reassemble the washing machine.
Tips to prevent mold in a washing machine
You can take a few simple steps to prevent mold from building up in your washing machine. Here are our best tips:
- Wipe your washer out after every use: At the end of each wash cycle, quickly wipe your washing machine drum out with a clean cloth. This will remove moisture from the washer so mold can’t develop.
- Leave the door open: At the end of every wash cycle, leave the washing machine door open to allow it to air out. This will prevent moisture from getting trapped in your machine, which will stop mold from developing.
- Take laundry out immediately: At the end of every wash cycle, take your laundry out immediately to reduce moisture levels in your dryer drum.
- Clean your machine often: Ensure you give your washing machine a deep clean several times a year. If you have a front-loading washer, pay special attention to the inside of the door gasket, as mold loves to grow in dark places.
- Use powder detergents: Powder detergents are less likely to leave behind residue than liquid detergents. When residue builds up in the detergent drawer, it provides the perfect environment for growing bacteria and mold.