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, Mr. Appliance® is one call away for all your washer and dryer needs. To schedule laundry appliance service and repair, please contact us today.