Front-load washing machines are famous for being quiet, efficient, and gentle on clothes, but they’re infamous for accruing nasty mold and mildew. Here’s how to clean front-load washer mold, along with tips to limit the machine’s susceptibility to future growth.
What Causes Front-Load Washing Machines to Mold?
Front-load washers are all the rage, but their design makes them more prone to mold. After all, water and detergent slosh up against the door, so it must feature a watertight seal to prevent leaks. The rubber gasket used to achieve this seal also provides the perfect hiding place for mold and mildew.
Then, picture top-load washers. These appliances feature a loose-fitting metal door that doesn’t seal tightly when you close it. As a result, the drum can dry out quickly between loads, which is the primary reason why mold isn’t prevalent in top-load washing machines.
Common laundry preferences don’t help, either. Soapy suds and liquid fabric softener leave film and residue behind that invite mold colonies to form. Once established, energy-saving cold water cycles and eco-friendly detergent isn’t enough to blast through and remove the mold.
How to Clean Front-Load Washer Mold
Try these solutions for ridding your front-load washing machine of mold and mildew, along with the associated smells and health risks:
- Clean the gasket: Spray a rag with mildew cleaner and wipe the gasket, being sure to reach down behind it as well.
- Clean the dispensers: Remove the slide-out detergent dispensers and scrub them with soap and water. If they don’t slide out completely, wipe them as thorough as possible.
- Run a “sanitize” cycle: Check the settings on the machine and look for a “sanitize” cycle. This is an empty wash designed to clean the drum. Add one of the following to boost the cycle: a cup of bleach, a cup of baking soda, one-half cup enzymatic dishwasher detergent, or one residue-busting washer pellet.
- Have a professional clean your washer: If you try all of these tips and the washer still smells, hire an appliance repair technician to disassemble the machine and clean behind the drum.
Ways to Prevent Front-Load Washer Mold
Front-load washers require a bit more upkeep than top-load machines. Fortunately, a bit of prevention is usually enough to keep mold growth at bay. Here’s what to do:
- Dry out the drum after each use: The front-load door should have the option to sit ajar without hanging open. Keep your washer in this position at all times except when a batch is running. To help the drum dry out, remove clothing promptly and wipe down the gasket after each cycle.
- Select a different detergent: Front-load washers are considered high-efficiency (HE) machines, so choose detergent with this designation to keep the suds down. Also, experiment with using less soap to get your clothes clean while reducing residue buildup.
- Avoid liquid fabric softener: To keep mold-attracting residue down, ditch the fabric softener. Instead, keep your clothes soft with dryer sheets or dryer balls when you run them through the dryer.
- Wash with bleach occasionally: Once a month, run a hot water cycle with bleach. This can be an empty load, or you can throw in sturdy work towels, outdoor fabrics, or muddy gardening clothes.
Schedule Washer & Dryer Repair
It may be unpleasant to wash your clothes in a moldy washer, but you could be experiencing a problem that prevents you from washing your clothes at all! Just remember, All Austin Repairs is one call away for all your washer and dryer needs. To schedule laundry appliance service and repair, please contact us today.