How to Prevent Mold and Mildew in Your Washer

As the appliance charged with the important task of cleaning your clothing and linens, it is essential that your washer is maintained in a sanitary and properly functioning condition. However, because washers contain dark, moist, and enclosed spaces, they are natural breeding grounds for mold and mildew—which can leave bacteria and a noxious odor on clothing and in the laundry room.

By taking a few easy steps to minimize mold and mildew growth in your washer, you can help it perform optimally and prolong its life. However, many of the recommended maintenance tips depend on whether you have a front-loading or a top-loading washer. Here’s how to prevent mold and mildew in your washer:

Prevent Mold in Front-Loading Washers 

Front-loading washers have become popular in recent years because they have a modern appearance and tend to use water and energy more efficiently than their older, top-loading counterparts. Unfortunately, the main disadvantage of front-loading washers is that they are more prone to mold and mildew, which often causes them to develop odors over time.

If you have a front-loading washer, here are a few steps you can take as soon as a load finishes washing in order to prevent mold:

  • Move the clothes out of the washer immediately. The more time that wet clothing spends sitting in the damp and stuffy washer, the more likely it is to begin sprouting mildew and an unpleasant odor.
  • After using the washer, wipe the inside of the door seal with a paper towel. Otherwise, the accumulation of moisture will cause mold to grow inside the door seal.
  • Leave the washer door ajar in order to help the interior of the machine and the door seal dry more effectively.

Have you already noticed mold in your washer? One way to eliminate it is to cover all the mold with a dry paper towel and soak it with bleach. Close the washer door and allow the bleach to sit for 30 to 60 minutes. To do this safely and minimize any harmful effects of the bleach fumes, ensure that the room has plenty of ventilation by opening a window or running the exhaust fan. Keep children away from the laundry room during this process. When you open the door, do not inhale right away because strong bleach fumes will escape from the washer.

Prevent Mold in Top-Loading Washers 

Although top-loading washers are not known to be as susceptible to mold growth as front-loading washers, they may still experience this common problem when certain precautions are not taken. This is particularly true with newer high-efficiency models, in which the water typically does not submerge the entire tub—leading to a ring of residue and the growth of bacteria.

As with front-loading washers, opening the washer door and wiping down damp spots immediately after use will help promote air circulation and thus prevent mold. In addition, top-loading washers tend to perform better with small or medium-sized loads. 

If you have a high-efficiency washer—regardless of whether it has a front or top-loading design—one of the most important maintenance steps you can take is to use only high-efficiency detergent. Regular detergents produce excess suds when used in high-efficiency washers. These excess suds can permeate the washer and lead to mold growth, often in hard-to-reach spots. In addition, they can damage crucial components of the washer, causing it to wear out prematurely. Many manufacturers will even void their warranties if improper detergents have been used.

If you are having problems with mold, mildew, or unpleasant odors in your washer—or if you have noticed any other defects that could prevent your washer from functioning properly—it may be time to contact the professionals at Phoenix Appliance Services. With years of experience providing quick and reliable appliance repair services at affordable prices, we can fix a variety of issues in front and top-loading washers of several different brands. Call us today at (602) 330-6920 to request a free quote!

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