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Fire & Water - Cleanup & Restoration

Cleaning a Moldy Washing Machine

3/22/2021 (Permalink)

Image of a person looking inside a washer with clothes while plugging nose. Clean a moldy washing machine.

The front-load washer is the high-efficiency appliance of most homeowners’ dreams, except for one little nasty problem: it can stink. People want their washing machine to keep their clothes smelling fresh, but for some reason, the front-loader can lead to an unpleasant musky and musty odor, often caused by mildew and mold.
While the mold smell is unsettling, there is no reason it must persist. The primary issue is that homeowners do not use the right detergents. Front-load washers require high-efficiency detergents. When you stick with that old standby laundry soap, the machine is not capable of cleaning and washing all the detergent away, meaning the drum gets a nice layer of soap scum with bits of lint and dirt.
Unfortunately, between the scum layer and rubber door guard, the washing machine becomes a breeding ground for mold. Thankfully, there is a straightforward three-step process to clean the washer, ensuring your dirty laundry smells fresh after a cycle.

3 Steps to Clean the Washer 

1. Create a Baking Soda Mixture

While many people will head straight for the bleach – which will work – there is a gentler and more health-conscious choice: baking soda. By mixing a quarter cup of baking soda and a quarter cup of water and adding it to your machine's detergent container, you have a gentle and effective cleaning solution.

2. Add in the White Vinegar

To increase the cleaning power of the baking soda, add two cups of white vinegar directly into the washer's drum. The two products, when run through a clothes-free cycle on high-heat, should break up any residue, kill any mold, and remove foul odors.

3. Use a Little Elbow Grease

Depending on how long the mold has been in the drum, you might need to put a little physical effort into the mix. With a mixture of one part water to one part white vinegar, use a kitchen sponge – the rough side – to scrub any remaining spots away.

A front-load washing machine is excellent for home use, but it does require maintenance. Keeping up with maintenance and appliance cleanings can help limit such odor problems in the future.

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