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Why is There Mold in My Washing Machine?

John Turpin is our resident home service repair expert here at Service Direct. He’s got the knowledge and experience to help homeowners like you make sense of most home repair issues. And with Service Direct, we connect you with top-tier service professionals to help with any repairs needed.

Learn Why There’s Mold in Your Washing Machine and How to Deal with it

One of the home appliances that take a lot of abuse is the washing machine. It has to deal with loads and loads of laundry, harsh chemicals, and hard water. It is also one of the appliances we regularly use, typically once or twice a week. This makes it important to take care of it well, which includes making sure you don’t have a moldy washing machine.

Mold in Washing Machine DIY Repair
Learn why there may be mold in your washing machine.

How Is There Mold in the Washing Machine?

First of all, how could there be mold in the washing machine? Well, it’s because of you actually.  Mold spores are everywhere. They are indoors and outdoors. But how did they get inside the washer? You brought them there through your clothes. Dirty laundry is the main source of mold found in washing machines.

It could be a day of working, doing errands, or relaxing at home, and airborne fungi would get onto your clothes. After that, once you put your dirty clothes into the washer, it goes to all the fungi as well. They thrive inside the washing machine thanks to leftover lint, residual detergent, matted hair, leftover tissues, and other organic materials that serve as a food source.

Besides already having a food source, the lingering moisture inside the washer makes it an ideal environment for mold to grow. Given all these, it’s not really surprising to find mold growing in the washing machine. This also means it’s highly important that you make the effort of looking for mold and getting rid of them.

Our resident home repair guru, John Turpin, has provided a list of common reasons why your washing machine may have mold, along with some suggested solutions and DIY tips to fix it.

How to Get Rid of Mold in Your Washing Machine

There’s no guarantee that your washing machine won’t ever have mold problems. But you can minimize the possibility with the following preventative measures. Follow the instructions below to fix your moldy washing machine and keep your family safe.

Clean and Air Dry Your Washer Regularly

It’s obvious, but yes, cleaning your washer regularly helps get rid of mold growth and prevent it from coming back. The same thing goes with air drying. It’s also not just simple cleaning. You must scrub the washer thoroughly, even the areas you don’t normally clean. You can follow the steps below to make sure you clean your washing machine properly.

1. Remove All Dispensers

It’s obvious, but yes, cleaning your washer regularly helps get rid of mold growth and prevent it from coming back. The same thing goes with air drying. It’s also not just simple cleaning. You must scrub the washer thoroughly, even the areas you don’t normally clean. You can follow the steps below to make sure you clean your washing machine properly.

2. Set the Washer Settings

Set the washer into the right settings. Put it in the normal wash cycle, so enough water flows through it. As for the temperature, you can set it to either warm or hot.

3. Add Chlorine Bleach

Add a cup or two of bleach, or you can estimate how much more based on the size of your washer. You can put it directly on the washer drum or in the bleach dispenser.

4. Start the Washing Machine

Once you’ve put enough chlorine bleach, start the washer. Let it have a full cycle. The combination of bleach and hot water is typically enough to take care of any mold growth in the washer’s drainage lines.

5. Clean the Door and Drum

The next part of the washer to clean is the drum and door. You can do this using a soft, absorbent cloth to wipe and dry the door, drum, and gaskets.

6. Clean the Dispenser System

The dispenser drawers are important parts to clean since it’s where you can have fabric softener and detergent buildup. As we mentioned, both products are food sources for mold. Clean them by soaking the drawers in hot water for about 10 minutes and washing them with soap. Rinse well then air dry. Return them to their compartments when you are done.

7. Clean the Lint Filter

Last but not least, time to clean the lint filter. This must be done routinely because trapped lint can become moldy and cause a nasty odor. Find the filter and remove it from its compartment to remove any lint using a soft-bristled brush. You should also soak it in a water and chlorine solution before rinsing and air drying it.

Avoid Using Excessive Amounts of Detergents and Fabric Softener

For your next load of laundry, try to lessen the amount of detergent and fabric softener you use. As you know by now, these two increase the chance of mold growing in your washer. You can also use laundry additives that can fight mold growth.

For instance, you can use tea tree oil, which has antimicrobial ingredients, to get rid of mold spores in the clothing and washer. While it won’t remove the mold already growing in the washer, it will limit them.

Washing Machine Mold Tips Tricks
The amount and type of detergents and fabric softeners can impact mold levels in your washing machine.

Keep Eyes Peeled on Problem Areas

Some washing machines consistently have mold problems. For example, front-load washers often have mold growing inside the washer door’s rubber seal. On the other hand, there’s also the metal lip of top-load washers that often gets mold due to being overlooked when cleaning.

Making sure to take note of these problem areas and cleaning them frequently is essential to preventing mold growth. You cannot completely prevent mold from growing there, but you can quickly deal with it through regular cleaning and air drying.

Upgrade to a Washer with Microbial Defense Features

If you keep on getting mold smells in clothes after using the washing machine no matter what you do, you may want to consider getting a new washer with microbial defense features. Today’s newer models of washers now come with these features to prevent mold growth.

Of course, you still need to clean your moldy washing machine. However, it is so much easier now to protect your clothes and yourself from fungi, bacteria, yeast, and mold. When combined with regular cleaning and air drying, you will have better protection.

Washing Machine Mold Repair
Consider upgrading to a new washing machine with mold resistant features.

Mold in Washing Machine FAQs

Why Should You Get Rid of Mold Right Away?

Many homeowners don’t think about what happens when they start their washers. However, it’s important that you know how water, dirt, and lint combine inside the washer after each cycle. Unless these things are removed from within the washing machine, the bacteria left there can lead to mold buildup. If the mold stays there too long, you could be dealing with nasty smells and bad health. Mold can make you and your whole family sick, making it essential that you get rid of it immediately.

How to Tell If There Is Mold in a Washing Machine?

Not all mold growths are found in visible places. Some of them occur in places not often frequented or hard to reach. This makes it so that you can’t simply rely on the things you see to know if there’s mold in the washing machine. You can find out if there’s mold in your washer by doing a visual test, and taking a closer look inside the machine. Another way is to perform a sniff test. If there’s an earthy, musty, damp smell inside or all over the washer, there’s a good chance you have mold growth.

Should You Hire an Expert to Clean Mold in a Washing Machine?

There are DIY tips you can try to get rid of mold in your washer. They are effective and oftentimes enough to clean the washing machine of annoying mold growth. But if you don’t have time or patience to do it yourself, some services tackle this particular problem. We also recommend hiring an expert if your washer has other issues besides mold.

Hire a Local Appliance Repair Pro

The methods above are effective DIY tips to investigate, diagnose, and fix mold issues in your washing machine. But if you need professional help, then don’t hesitate to contact a local appliance repair pro using the phone number or form on this page.

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