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How to prevent mold from growing in your washing machine and how to kill it if you have it


Make sure you keep your tray clean to prevent mold and mold growth.

Chris Monroe / CNET

While a mixture of water, liquid detergent and plasticizer can clean your clothes, it can also make your high-efficiency washing machine a breeding ground for bacteria. And if you only use the cold water setting, your front or top loading tray is even more likely to grow mold.

It's not just the laundry room that can start to smell like rotten eggs: If you don't deal with the chronic problem, your recently washed clothes can also have a sulfur smell.

Fortunately, you don't have to live with that smell. By regularly following a few steps you can ensure that your washing machine never grows mold. Read on for tips on how to keep mold out of your washing machine and what to do if it's already there.

Wiping it off [19659010] When you are done using your washing machine for the day, make sure you wipe away any part of it the tray is damp. This includes covers, drum, door, rubber gaskets and cleaning agents (if your machine has that feature). Keep an old towel handy just for this purpose.

Leave the lid open

Mold grows in dark, humid areas, which is what your washing machine becomes after removing the clothes. Leaving the door open helps to ventilate the tray and prevent mold from growing in the first place.

Remove wet clothes quickly

When planning to throw a lot of laundry in, make sure you come home to remove the clothes when the timer goes off. This means that you do not start the washing machine before going to work or bed. This not only prevents mold from growing in your washing machine but also keeps your clean clothes from being softened.

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The seals in your washing machine hold moisture that can help mold to grow. 19659003] Ry Crist / CNET

Regular cleaning of seals

While mold contamination can occur in any washer, it is especially common in high-efficiency (aka HE) front load washers. That's why you should regularly wash the gaskets and seals around the door. The gaskets ensure that water does not leak out around the door and also does a good job of sealing the moisture than can help mold to grow. Make sure you dry the seals along with the rest of your washing machine to prevent moisture from sticking around.

Use powder detergent

Liquid detergent can leave a residue in your washing machine, giving mold a source of food. So the first thing to keep mold in check is to make sure that you use a detergent specially made for your HE washer, which will produce fewer lather. (Look for the letters HE on the soap container.) The next step is to steer away the liquid and change to powder detergent or skis. And no matter what you choose, make sure you only use as much as you need to wash your clothes.

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Use vinegar bleach to kill mold in your washing machine.

Taylor Martin / CNET

Dead mold that is already in your washing machine

If you have got mold, then here you can get rid of it.

1. Start by wearing gloves and take an old towel that you don't care about.

2. Mix a solution of either bleach and hot water or vinegar and hot water. Never mix bleach and vinegar together, as it creates a chlorine gas that can be harmful to you.

3. Dip the towel in the mixture and start scrubbing away any visible mold. Make sure you hit the detergent container and around the gaskets.

4. If there is a gasket around the door (front load washers have them), clean and gently and dry it, including all creases.

5. Run a laundry cycle at the hottest setting your machine offers with a cup of bleach or vinegar. Pour it into the bleach compartment if you are using bleach. Pour it into the detergent compartment if you are using vinegar. If your machine has a clean bike, you can use that setting. This should kill any hidden mold that you may have missed.

6. Then use another old towel and wipe away any moisture in your washing machine. This includes the drum, vending machines, seals and all other areas you can reach.

7. Finally, leave the door of your washing machine open so that air circulation can dry out any parts you missed. Doing this every month will help prevent mold growth.

Once you have cleaned your washing machine, it's time to move on to the rest of your house. Start with the bathroom – here is how to clean the shower head simple one-hour science hack for degunking, and how to clean a toilet without the flask .

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