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Here’s How to Prevent a Moldy Washing Machine

Washing machine in laundry room

You should be able to toss your dirty clothes into your washing machine without having to worry about them getting, well…dirtier. Not many people think about regularly cleaning their washing machine. But, if you don’t take proper care of it, mold could start to grow on the inside barrel, which could potentially contaminate your clothes and even make you sick!

Thankfully, it’s fairly easy to prevent a moldy washing machine.

First, though, it’s important to know why your machine is getting moldy, in the first place.

Mold tends to thrive in moist, warm environments. So, no matter how clean you think your washing machine is, it’s the ideal space for harmful mold growth.

Not only that, but dirt and oil from your clothes and residue from detergent can serve as “food” for mold, mildew, and other types of bacteria. Your washing machine can quickly end up serving as a buffet for bacterial growth if you’re not regularly cleaning it.

Persil Discs Laundry Detergent Pacs, Oxi, 38 Count

Use a quality detergent---and use the right amount to avoid a build-up!

You’ll probably smell mold growth in your machine before you actually see it. When you open the lid, you’ll notice a sour or musty smell. Unfortunately, that smell is likely to linger on your clothes, so it’s pretty pointless to wash them until you’ve solved the mold problem.

All that takes is a bit of elbow grease.

Not sure how to clean a washing machine? It’s easy as long as you make sure you’re paying attention to spots where mold might commonly grow, including the washer tub, detergent dispenser, and washer seal. Scrub each of these spots thoroughly using a soft-bristled brush (or a toothbrush) and white vinegar. Then, give everything another good scrub with soap, water, and a rag. Make sure to dry everything thoroughly when you’re done!

Washing Machine Cleaner Descaler 24 Pack

A great way to deep clean your machine.

Regular maintenance is the best way to keep washing machine mold at bay.

You can prevent mold growth by taking wet clothes out of the washer as soon as possible after they’re clean, leaving the lid open to dry out the tub after each use, and avoiding using too much detergent so you don’t experience a build-up.

Additionally, give your machine a good cleaning every once in a while, even if you don’t suspect mold growth. Even if you’re not killing mold, you could be getting rid of other harmful bacteria that might otherwise make you sick.

Stacey Koziel Stacey Koziel
Stacey Koziel is a news writer at LifeSavvy. She's worked as a freelance writer for over ten years, focusing on family and lifestyle content. She also has a background in marketing and social media, and is always eager to talk (and write!) about the latest TikTok trends. Read Full Bio »
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