The front load washer style accounts for around a quarter of washing machines sold in the US and it has plenty of benefits over its counterparts that has led to a rise in popularity.
The ability to see our clothes being cleaned mid-cycle and the option for more types of detergents are just some benefits, but there’s a common problem that comes with these large appliances that many of us have experienced.
Front loader washers were designed differently, and due to these differences, they can end up being a breeding ground for mold and mildew.
As one of the key cleaning apparatuses at home and the one we trust to make our clothes fresh and hygienic, we don’t really want to think about a build-up gunk and sludge leading to an outbreak of mold living inside of it.
You may have noticed your washing machine getting that familiar mold smell, or even spotted some on the device.
With our help, we’ll show you how to naturally remove the mold and other gunk build-up from your front loader washer so that it remains clean for your clothes and your family, and doesn’t impart that unpleasant mold odor on your garments.
Table of Contents
Why Does My Washing Machine Have Mold?
Front loading washing machines are known to be some of the most susceptible when it comes to mold, and it’s thanks in part to their efficient design.
These specific types of washers were designed to be high efficiency by using less water and power, but with those good points, it also means that some of the detergents and other laundry products can’t get rinsed away properly.
After repeated use and not much space in between washes, these products begin to build up either in the machine or the drainage pipe.
Although they’re tested by the manufacturers, the conditions are somewhat different from a standard home, as people rarely air them out of clean them.
The result of this repeated use is a thick sludge or coating of grime that develops thanks to all of the detergents and softeners, as well as the minor pieces of fabric and fibers that come off of the clothes during washing.
This sludge has nowhere to go, and so it builds up further in the pipes or machine if not cleaned correctly.
As the perfect environment for a mold spore to latch onto and start growing, it’s a common place for mold to begin.
Many people with front loaders notice the unpleasant but familiar smell before they even realize that the sludge and mold have started to build up, and then it requires some serious cleaning to get rid of.
Mold is commonly found in the laundry as well as other areas of the home with excess moisture, like the bathroom or kitchen.
Thanks to the moisture from the washer itself as well as condensation created from dyers, and a lack of ventilation, mold is able to thrive in these conditions and you may find it in other places than just your washer.
The Effects of Mold in Your Washing Machine
You might not realize how damaging mold can be when you spot it hanging around your washing machine, but it can have some serious effects for you and your family.
The most obvious issue with mold growth is that it poses health risks, which can range from mild sneezing attacks to serious upper respiratory issues and infections.
In addition to being a health concern, having mold growing on the front load washer where you clean your clothing is going to contradict the purpose of it.
A washing machine should be clean and hygienic to make our clothes the same, and washing your clothing in the mold will not only make them smell, but it can damage the fibers and help to spread the spores around to the rest of the house.
How to Get Rid of Mold From Your Front Load Washer
Finding mold in your front load washer is never a pleasant surprise, but thankfully it’s not that difficult to get rid of.
Follow these steps to remove the mold from the washer and clear out the sludge and gunk that builds up and leads to its growth, for a healthier and happier washing machine.
- Use a rag or towel to wipe down the rubber gasket on the door of your washing machine, as well as underneath and around it. Remove any gunk that’s built up and then fill a spray bottle with vinegar for cleaning. Spray the vinegar solution onto the rubber gasket and wipe away clean.
- Take out any detergent dispensers in the machine and wash them with warm soapy water before returning. For dispensers that can’t be removed, use a toothbrush or pipe cleaner to reach them.
- Run your machine with no clothes inside on an empty cycle, using the longest possible cycle and the hottest water temperature. Fill the detergent dispenser with a mixture of 1 cup bleach and 1 cup baking soda. Some machines come with a tub cleaning cycle which is the best setting to use, otherwise the longer and hotter the better.
- Once finished, check if signs of mold are still present. If so, run the cycle again with the bleach and baking soda solution. If the problem persists, there could be mold growth in the drain, filter, or drum, which requires professional help.
Tips For Getting Rid of the Mold Smell and Keeping It Away
Getting rid of mold is a challenge that many households have faced, and knowing how to prevent its growth is the best way to keep the smell away.
Consider these tips if your washer is still having odor problems ad you feel the unpleasant mold odor hasn’t completely disappeared.
- Choose your laundry detergent wisely and don’t overdo it. You can usually get a deep clean without about half the recommended amount of detergent and it won’t cause as much build-up.
- A HE (high efficiency) approved laundry detergent is the best choice because it creates fewer suds for a more effective clean.
- Ditch the use of fabric softeners that create a lot of the sludge and instead place some distilled vinegar in each wash to soften clothes and take care of stubborn stains.
- Look at the laundry room as a whole and see how you can improve the moisture levels. You may need to keep windows and doors open more regularly, install a fan, cut down on the use of the dryer, or place some houseplants in the area that can help reduce some of the moisture levels.
- Make an effort to clean your machine once a month with a standard cleaning cycle and the baking soda and bleach solution. This will prevent the gunk from building up before it even gets a chance.
- Whenever the washing machine is not in use, leave the door open. This will allow fresh air to get in and dry out any of the excess moisture that’s left behind.
- Clean out parts like the lint trap whenever you finish a load, as these small parts can hold a lot of moist and smelly fibers that mold loves.
- Try not to leave your washing machine for more than a few days at a time without use, and never leave clothes to sit in there once the load has finished. Regular use will keep it ventilated and cleaner, and make it less likely for mold to be able to grow.
Preventing Mold Growth in Your Washing Machine
Our washing machines have saved us countless hours of manual laundry over the years and most homes would be lost without them.
As one of the more expensive items we purchase for our homes and also one that gets the most use, taking care of these large machines and preventing the growth of mold on them should be a top priority.
In order to keep your washer free from mold, a simple cleaning and a reduced amount of detergents and softeners are all that’s required.
There’s no need to go as deep as the clean you need when mold is found, but taking some time to rinse out the drainage pipes and clear out any grime or sludge build-up will do wonders for it and ensure your washer stays in top condition for years to come.
Laundries can be particularly susceptible rooms when it comes to the growth of mold so with a few simple measures you can improve ventilation and bring moisture levels down.
Mold has the potential to cause serious health issues, not to mention the damaging effect it has on our clothing, so you want to take care of it before it takes over your washing machine and home.