Joy asked: How do I remove mould from the rubber seal on a front loader washing machine door? This mould has built up over time in the fold in the rubber seal on the door. I now dry the water from the fold after each wash, but still have a build-up of black mould spots. The machine and laundry have an odor from the mould.
Any rubber seals that are exposed to constant moisture are at risk for developing mold. For obvious reasons, washing machines are a common victim. If not removed, the mold develops and odor and transfers onto clothing during the wash cycle. Removing this mold can take some work, but it can be done. Once the mold is removed, see our additional tips for ways to keep it from returning. Before using the bleach method below, check your owner’s manual to ensure the gaskets are bleach tolerable.
You Will Need:
- Bleach OR
- White vinegar
- Spray bottle
- Soft cloth
- Rubber gloves
Steps to Remove the Mold:
- Start by running a normal wash cycle with hot water and bleach. The amount of bleach will depend on the size of the washer. Use an appropriate amount for one load of laundry. If you are unable to use bleach, vinegar can be used in its place. Use one cup of vinegar for a large load size. DO NOT use both bleach and vinegar as the combination creates toxic fumes.
- To use a spray, mix one part bleach with four parts water in the spray bottle OR mix equal amounts of white vinegar and water in a spray bottle.
- Use the spray bottle to spray and wipe away any remaining mold areas from the rubber seal. Be sure to pull/push it gently to get in the grooves where moisture can grow and mold can develop. Wearing rubber gloves will protect your hands from the bleach.
- Wipe the areas clean with a soft cloth.
- If the mold is stubborn, allow the bleach/water mixture to sit on the area for a few minutes before wiping it away.
- Rinse by spraying with clean water and wiping with a clean cloth.
Additional Tips and Advice
- Complete the above cleaning method once a month.
- Overuse of bleach can cause premature wear on rubber seals. Keeping the seal dry will help prevent mold growth and prevent the need for constant cleanings.
- To keep the rubber seal dry, use one of the following methods:
- Remove wet clothes promptly
- Wipe it dry after use
- Leave the door open slightly to keep air flowing through
- If the washer is located in a humid area, set up a dehumidifier in the room
- Some detergents and fabric softeners are more prone to promote mold growth. If mold is a common problem, consider changing your detergent.
- There are commercial cleaners designed specifically for cleaning front loader washing machines. These are helpful in reducing soap residue that can feed mold growth.
- If the mold is a consistent problem, you can try treating the surface with a mold control product like Concrobium. You will need to reapply these products regularly since they will be exposed to so much water, but it may stop the growth of the mold between treatments.
- Consider switching to liquid or powder detergent if you are using pacs. Especially in HE washers, the pac wrapper may not dissolve completely and a gooey residue can be deposited onto and around the seals, which can allow mold to grow.
- If you have a front load washer, the drainage holes may be near the seal on the door. Consider prying back the seal to see if a small laundry item like a sock has gotten stuck behind the seal. If this happens, the item can mold. (This happened to a commenter on one of our other guides.)