Effective Ways to Remove Mold from Your Washing Machine

November 30, 2019
If you don't clean and disinfect it regularly, your washing machine can become the perfect breeding ground for bacteria and mold.

Washing machines are one of the appliances people use the most, but they’re also one of the most commonly neglected ones. When you don’t clean or disinfect it, you create the perfect environment for the proliferation of bacteria and mold.

While it might be hard to notice at first, mold gradually builds up, creating unpleasant odors that you’ll eventually be able to smell on your clothes. 

Also, if you look at the rubber lining that seals the doors on your machine, you’ll find a buildup of moisture and fungi that cause this problem.

Fortunately, there’s no need to resort to aggressive chemicals or cleaning products to prevent odors in your washing machine. There are a number of effective tricks you can use to help keep your washing machine looking good as new, without breaking the bank.

How to remove mold from your washing machine

Mold is classified as a type of fungus. Because of that, we’re going to use some products that are antimicrobial and antifungal to facilitate its removal.

Ingredients

  • 3 liters of water
  • 1/4 cup of lemon juice (62 ml). According to a study carried out by the University of Benin (Nigeria), citrus juice has great antibacterial properties.
  • 1 cup of hydrogen peroxide (250 ml). Hydrogen peroxide is an antifungal, as confirmed in a study conducted by the University Hospital of Puerta del Mar in Cádiz, Spain.

How do you make it?

First, add the three liters of water to a bucket and stir in the lemon juice and hydrogen peroxide. Then, follow these steps to leave your washing machine looking flawless and free from that musty smell.

One of the first places you’ll need to clean in order to remove mold is the rubber seal around the washing machine door. Look closely so you know how it’s installed and what to do to move it.

Wherever you see moisture built up beneath the seal, spray some of the disinfectant that you just prepared and rub it vigorously with a clean cloth or sponge.

Do this all the way around the seal to make sure you don’t leave any traces of mold behind. When you’re sure it’s all gone, spray it once more with your disinfectant and wipe it with a dry cloth to remove any excess.

Next, clean the drum and the hoses. If mold is growing on the inside of the washing machine, odds are it’s also growing in other parts of the appliance.

Woman pouring detergent in a washing machine.

Now that you’ve cleaned the rubber seal, it’s time to rinse the drum and hoses to ensure that they’re 100% clean and odor-free.

To do this, you’ll need to remove any clothing you have in the machine and pour your natural disinfectant into the detergent compartment. Then, program the washing machine to run a long cycle with hot water.

Avoiding mold is essential. If the washing machine is clean, it will be easier to keep it free from mold and bad odors. If you leave the door open after every cycle, it will get enough ventilation to prevent the growth of micro-organisms.

However, even if you don’t notice a particularly strong smell, it’s best to clean your machine once a week to prevent the build-up of dirt and mold.

One more trick to remove mold and unwanted odors

In addition to this last method, there are a number of other tricks you can use that can be just as effective. We’ll show you one more in this next section:

Ingredients

  • Bleach (as needed).
  • Hot water (1 liter).
  • Apple cider vinegar (250 ml).
  • Spray bottle.
  • A soft cloth.
  • Rubber gloves.

What should you do?

First, run a wash cycle using hot water and a little bleach. The amount of bleach will depend on the size of your washing machine. In a separate container, mix one part bleach with four parts water and one part apple cider vinegar (a recommended antifungal, according to this study by the Postgraduate Program in Dentistry in Brazil).

Next, pour your cleaning product into a spray bottle and use it to spray the rubber seal around the door, and any other surfaces prone to mold. It’s very important to protect your hands with a suitable pair of rubber gloves.

Finally, remember that if you want to avoid bad odors, you’ll need to clean your washing machine regularly. It’s essential to avoid leaving your clothes in the machine after the cycle is finished. The sooner you take your clothes out, the less it will smell.

Sérgio, A., Duarte, J., Relvas, C., Moreira, R., Freire, R., Ferreira, J. L., & Simoes, J. A. (2003). The design of a washing machine prototype. Materials and Design. https://doi.org/10.1016/S0261-3069(03)00042-6

Laitala, K., Klepp, I. G., & Boks, C. (2012). Changing laundry habits in Norway. International Journal of Consumer Studies. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1470-6431.2011.01081.x

Callewaert, C., Van Nevel, S., Kerckhof, F. M., Granitsiotis, M. S., & Boon, N. (2015). Bacterial exchange in household washing machines. Frontiers in Microbiology. https://doi.org/10.3389/fmicb.2015.01381