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Home / Tips and Tricks / Here's how to prevent mold from growing in your washing machine and how to kill it if you have it

Here's how to prevent mold from growing in your washing machine and how to kill it if you have it



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Make sure to keep your washing machine clean to prevent mold and mildew growth.


Chris Monroe / CNET

While a mixture of water, liquid detergent and fabric softeners can clean your clothes, it can also make your highly efficient washing machine a breeding ground for bacteria. And if you only use the cold water setting, the chances of your front or top washing machine getting bigger are even greater.

It's not just your laundry room that can smell like rotten eggs: if you don't deal with the chronic problem, your freshly washed clothes can also take on a sulfur odor.

Fortunately, you don't have to live with that smell. By following a few steps periodically, you ensure that your washing machine does not get mold. Read on for tips on how to keep mold out of your washing machine and what to do if it's already there.

Wipe It Clean [19659010] When you have finished using your washing machine for the day, make sure before wiping damp parts of the washing machine. This includes the lid, drum, door, rubber gaskets and detergent dispenser (if your machine has that function). Keep an old towel on hand for this purpose.

Leave the lid open

Mold grows in dark, damp areas, which becomes your washing machine after you unload the clothes. If you leave the door open, you can ventilate the washing machine and prevent mold from growing.

Remove wet clothes immediately

If you plan to throw a load of laundry into the washing machine, make sure you are at home remove the clothes when the timer goes off. That means you don't start the washing machine before you go to work or bed. This not only prevents mold growth in your washing machine, but also prevents your clean clothes from mildew.

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The seals in your washing machine contain moisture that can help mold grow. [19659003] Ry Crist / CNET

Clean the seals regularly

While mold contamination can occur in any washing machine, it is especially common with high efficiency (also known as HE) front loaders. Therefore, you should regularly wash the gaskets and seals around the door. The gaskets ensure that water does not leak around the door and also provide a good seal of the moisture that can help grow. Be sure to dry the seals along with the rest of your washing machine to prevent moisture from sticking.

Use Washing Powder

Liquid detergents can leave a residue in your washing machine, making mold a food source. So the first thing to keep mold under control is to make sure that you use a detergent specially made for your HE washing machine, which will produce less foam. (Look for the letters HE on the soap container.) The next step is to keep the liquid away and switch to washing powder or pods. And whatever you choose, make sure you only use as much as you need to wash your clothes.

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Use bleach vinegar to kill mold in your washing machine.


Taylor Martin / CNET

Kill mold that is already in your washing machine

If you have mold, you can remove it as follows.

1. Start by putting on gloves and get an old towel you don't care about.

2. Mix a solution of bleach and hot water or vinegar and hot water. Never mix bleach and vinegar, as it creates a chlorine gas that can be harmful to you.

3. Dip the towel into the mixture and start scrubbing away any visible mold. Be careful not to touch the detergent dispenser and around the gaskets.

4. If there is a gasket around the door (the front loaders have it), clean and dry it carefully and thoroughly, including all folds.

5. Run a washing program on the hottest setting that your machine offers with a cup of bleach or vinegar. If using bleach, pour it into the designated compartment. If using vinegar, pour it into the detergent slot. If your machine has a clean cycle, you can use that setting. This should kill any hidden fungus you may have missed.

6. Then use an old towel and wipe all the moisture out of your washing machine. This includes the drum, dispensers, seals and all other areas you can reach.

7. Finally, leave the door of your washing machine open so that the air circulation can dry out all missed parts. Doing this monthly will prevent mold growth.

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 how to clean your shower head a simple one hour scientific hack to mine and how to unclog a toilet without a plunger .

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