How To Clean a Moldy Washing Machine

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Your washing machine is one of the most used appliances you have in your home. Every time you use it, residual water and detergent can form in the detergent drawer and the washer drum, and over time this can turn into mold. When this occurs, foul odors can start to emit from your washing machine, and your laundry can come out after a wash cycle with mold and bacteria on it.

You need to give your washing machine a regular clean to avoid mold from building up. Thankfully, this is very easy to do and only requires you to have a few common household cleaning products.

In this guide, we will start by giving you step-by-step instructions on how to clean your washing machine and conclude by giving you some simple tips for how to avoid mold from building up in your washing machine in the first place.

Let’s get started. 

How to remove mold from your washing machine

  • To help protect your hands, put on a pair of protective gloves. You should also wear a face mask if you have one to prevent yourself from breathing in dangerous chemicals.
  • Next, make a cleaning solution or use a commercial-grade cleaning spray that has bleach as the active ingredient. To make your own cleaning solution, mix 2 cups of hot water with ½ cup of bleach (hydrogen peroxide) and ¼ cup of lemon juice. For a more natural solution, mix 2 cups of water with ½ cup of white vinegar and ¼ cup of lemon juice. Once mixed, pour it into a spray bottle.
  • If you have a front-loading washer, open the door and give the door gasket/ seal a good clean–using a small brush if needed to clean inside of it. If you have a top-loading washing machine, open the door and give the inside of the door and the top of the washing machine a clean with your cleaning spray and a damp cloth.
  • Next, clean the rest of your washing machine by spraying and wiping it out. Remove any parts from your washing machine that can come out and clean them separately before putting them back into your washer. Don’t forget to clean the detergent drawer, as this is where bacteria likes to grow/develop.
  • Next, place your washing machine on a cleaning cycle or, if you don’t have a cleaning cycle, place it on the hottest setting and the longest cycle. Before pressing start, fill the detergent drawer with your cleaning solution.
  • When the cleaning cycle ends, open the door and wipe the inside of your machine out. Once dry, leave the door open to let it air out for a couple of hours.
  • Finish by giving the outside of your appliance a good clean with your cleaning spray and a damp cloth. If you can still smell or see mold after the cycling cycle, put it onto a second cleaning wash cycle.

How to stop mold in your washing machine

Hopefully, at this point, your washing machine is free from any mold build-up and smelling like new. To prevent mold and bacteria from building up in your washing machine in the first place, here are a few simple tips to follow.

  • Wipe your washing machine out regularly. One of the easiest ways to keep your washing machine from getting a build-up of mold is to give it a quick wipe after you’ve used it. This will stop any moisture from developing within your washing machine which eventually turns into mold.
  • Take laundry out of your washing machine ASAP. It’s also important to remove your load of laundry as soon as the wash cycle finishes to avoid moisture from developing inside your washing machine. For example, don’t put a load of washing on unless you’re going to be home when the cycle ends so you can take it out. Instead, use the timer function to avoid this from occurring.
  • Clean the gasket regularly. Front-loading washing machines have a large door gasket/seal that helps to prevent water from leaking out. The gasket gets a lot of moisture inside of it so it’s a good idea to give it a regular clean to avoid bacteria and mold from developing.
  • Use powder detergents. Powder detergents are less likely to leave any residual moisture inside your washing machine which can then turn into mold. 
  • Leave the lid open. Perhaps the simplest tip is to always leave the washer door open after you use it. This will help the washing machine to dry out, which stops moisture from developing inside your appliance.
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