Whether you have a top loader, front loader, new washing machine or old washing machine, mold will inevitably find its way into your washing machine of choice. It’s seems ridiculous right? After all, the washing machine’s purpose is to clean things. But unfortunately it is an ideal environment for mold.
Before I share the best way to clean mold in a washing machine (ALL the areas of a washing machine), lets chat about some washing machine mold basics.
Why Does My Washing Machine Have Mold?
Simple. Mold loves moisture. Mold loves rubber. Mold loves debris. And mold loves laundry detergent due to its plant-based (and even animal or synthetic) components. It’s dark, damp, and full of food. A washing machine is a mold’s paradise!
Do All Front Loaders Have Mold Problems?
Pretty much. In fact, ALL washing machines can have mold problems. Front loaders get a bad rep because mold tends to grow out of control in that rubber gasket area. But there are plenty of other areas in washing machines where mold can grow. There are the trays where you put detergent and bleach. There is the top area of the basin just under the washing machine housing on the top loaders that can get mold growth. There is the basin itself. The door can get moldy. But that gasket area on a front loader is definitely the biggest culprit when it comes to mold growth.
Is Mold In Washing Machine Dangerous?
Mold in general is dangerous. You can learn more about the types of mold and hazard classes of mold here but just be aware that you really want to do everything you can to prevent mold and immediately repair any leaks.
How to Prevent Mold In A Washing Machine
Preventing mold in a front load or top load washing machine is really easy! It just takes a wee bit of time after you wash a load of laundry. But I promise you, there will be no mold in your washing machine if you follow these tips.
- Leave the top lid or front-load door open between loads to dry out the machine and prevent condensation and mold growth.
- Open the detergent drawer or remove to let it drip dry after doing a load of laundry.
- For a front load washing machine – ALWAYS wipe out the gasket (top to bottom) to remove any water and moisture. This is the main area that will get moldy first. Gently pull the gasket toward you to wipe inside and behind the gasket. Wipe especially well around the drain holes at the bottom.
- For a top load washing machine – ALWAYS wipe down that top area around the basin but below the frame of the washing machine.
- Use a laundry additive (like this one) or laundry detergent that removes mold spores on clothing and linens. It will also help keep mold from growing in your washing machine.
- Using vinegar as a fabric softener instead of the commercial fabric softeners that leave gummy build-up in your washing machine. Mold loves fabric softeners.
- Remove wet clothes immediately after a wash.
- Use a dehumidifier where you keep the washer if you don’t have a window to open or an exhaust fan. Humidity from outside the machine may contribute to the mold inside it.
- Inspect washer hoses for wear and tear, as well as firm attachment. It may be necessary to replace the hoses every 3-4 years. Failing to do so could encourage the harboring of mold growth and also damage the washing machine. Water damage and mold is a prevailing issue in laundry rooms because of poor hose maintenance.
So now that you know how to prevent mold in your washing machine, let’s talk about how to remove it.
The Best Way To Clean Mold In A Washing Machine
There are three areas that are prone to mold growth and may need mold removal in your washing machine. Let’s look at how to clean mold in your washing machine drawer, gasket, and basin.
How To Clean Mold From The Washer Basin
This part is the easiest part. It’s pretty hands off. Typically I do this before I clean the drawer and gasket and then immediately after I clean the drawer and gasket. This ensures that I have removed as many mold spores as possible.
If you have a sanitize cycle, all you need to do is run this one once with a cup of EC3 laundry additive. That will take care of any mold.
If you do not have a sanitize cycle then you need to follow the steps below.
For Top Loaders
- Fill the washing machine with warm water and open the lid before the next cycle starts.
- Add 1 cup of EC3 laundry additive.
- Allow it to sit for one hour.
- Allow the cycle to complete normally.
- Open the lid when done, spray the entire basin with EC3 mold solution and wipe out the basin. Keep the lid open to allow it to finish drying.
For Front Loaders
This takes a little more work since the soaking option isn’t the same as a top loader.
- Spray the entire washer basin with EC3 mold solution.
- Allow to air dry.
- Add 2 cups of white vinegar directly into the wash drum.
- Run a wash cycle using the hottest water setting to get rid of mold and mildew and to dissolve mineral deposits.
- Once the first wash cycle is done, add 2 cups of EC3 laundry additive to your machine’s detergent tray or pour it directly into the wash drum.
- Run another hot water wash cycle.
- After the second wash cycle is complete, run an additional rinse cycle to flush out any remaining grime or residue.
- Open the lid when done, spray the entire basin and gasket area with EC3 mold solution and wipe out the basin. Keep the lid open to allow it to finish drying.
How to remove and clean mold from the detergent drawer
- Remove the detergent drawer.
- Remove the inserts from the dispenser drawer if your washing machine has these.
- Fill your sink with hot water and 2 cups of vinegar.
- Soak the detergent drawer in the sink. Let the drawer soak for 30 minutes.
- After 30 minutes, scrub the mold off all areas.
- Remove the drawer from the hot water and dry it with a cloth.
- Spray the detergent drawer with EC3 mold solution spray to kill any remaining mold spores that might be hiding.
- Allow to air dry.
While your detergent drawer is soaking and air drying, you will want to work on the actual dispenser area on the washing machine.
- Check for mold in the dispenser housing area. If mold is found, use the EC3 mold solution and spray the dispenser housing area.
- Let the dispenser housing area soak in the spray for 10 minutes.
- Use an old toothbrush or similar and scrub the mold/mildew to remove it.
- Use a wet cloth and wipe the gunk out.
- Once the area is free of mold, wipe with a dry cloth and remove all moisture.
- Give the area another good spray with the EC3 mold solution and allow it to air dry.
Once the detergent drawer and the dispenser housing area is dry, slide the drawer back into the washer.
How To Clean Mold From Front Load Washer Gasket
This is going to take some elbow grease so be ready!
- Make sure the washer is turned OFF.
- Open your front load washing machine door.
- Be sure that the washer is completely empty.
- Check the gasket folds by turning it outward so you can see the full gasket inside and out.
- Using a damp disposable rag, remove are any foreign substances on or in the gasket such as hair, leftover detergent, hardened soap, and of course mold.
- Now, sprinkle baking soda inside that gasket.
- Pour a wee bit of vinegar inside the gasket and allow it to bubble.
- Using an old toothbrush, scrub those areas with mold growth. The baking soda acts as an abrasive helping loosen the mold.
- Once you have loosed all the mold, take another wet rag and clean out all the debris.
- Wipe the gasket area dry with a cloth.
- Spray it thoroughly with EC3 mold solution to kill any lingering mold spores.
- Allow it to air dry with the door open. Be sure to wipe the inside of the door down as well.
And there you have it! The best way to clean mold in a washing machine as well as how to prevent mold in a washing machine.
Looking to keep your washing machine smelling fresh at all times? This all-natural washing machine deodorizer is incredible!
Are you interested in learning more about HOW washing machines clean laundry as well as the science behind detergents?
All of the information and more can be found in my article on the best laundry detergent to remove mold. There is even a DIY mold removing laundry detergent recipe!
Be sure to check out all my mold prevention posts. I promise you they are chalk full of important information!
In this post I refer to EC3 products. They are one of the only two mold and mycotoxin removal products that I personally use and recommend. Please read my article outlining what makes EC3 superior when it comes to killing mold and mycotoxins. It has been independently lab tested and proven to be 99% effective when used properly. I encourage you to purchase EC3 products directly through Micro Balance. If you prefer to shop on Amazon, Micro Balance has a presence there as well.