How to Remove Mold from Rubber Seals

washingmachineseal

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:

 

Steps to Remove the Mold:

  1. 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.
  2. Mix one part bleach with four parts water in the spray bottle.
  3. 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.
  4. Wipe the areas clean with a soft cloth.
  5. If the mold is stubborn, allow the bleach/water mixture to sit on the area for a few minutes before wiping it away.
  6. 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.

Comments

  1. Trish says:

    I tried to remove black mold build-up with bleach, vinegar, bi-carbonated soda, and store bought rinse aids, but I have a cold-only machine and it won’t work!
    Do I need to replace the seal?

  2. Maria says:

    This is the first time in my life that I have had this problem. My mom, in Italy, never had this problem; that’s why I chose the front loader. In my 22 years of marriage, and three kids and a dog, I have done quite a bit of washing. Lately, I am grossed out from it. I have been trying some of these methods with no result. Help, please?

  3. Theresa says:

    This works. Thank you for posting.

  4. Rose says:

    I have tried the bleach method. Why, when I open my machine and it has water in it, does it get all over the floor?

  5. Susan says:

    I have tried everything and I am ready to get rid of this washer. My friend has a WhirlPool Front Load and never has had this problem. The rubber seal on mine is full of black mold and it stinks; can not get it cleaned. I can see the water gets way down past the seal and it gets musty. It is very hard to pull the rubber back and dry it out.

  6. Rod says:

    Hi Susan. Is your machine a Bosch?

  7. Ian says:

    Mine is a Bosch Rod – does this make any difference or do you have another suggestion?

  8. Jenny says:

    I have a Bosch and have a mold problem. I have just searched, looking for an answer, so I will try your suggestions, but is there more of a problem with Bosch washing machines?

  9. Jack says:

    Mine is the Ariston machine. Same problem. One would think they would use a different compound for the seal since this appears to be a common problem.

  10. James says:

    The first front loader my parents bought for their home was an Electramatic (made in Italy). It ran fine and mold free for over 30 years (with proper maintenance, of course).
    Another front runner: Asko (made in Sweden) – did 5 to 7 loads each week for over 14 years; never had a problem. Tried top loaders too, and gave them up quickly (we like our laundry items to be washed clean, not just soaked in perfumed detergent so that they “smell fresh”).
    Enter LG – about 1 year old and beginning to smell, under the same operating and maintenance routines. When I empty the drain pump to clean the filter, the amount of water coming out of the LG is 3-4 times more than what I used to see on any washer before. That cannot be good. The door seal material (rubber) is more porous and has more grooves and plies, which makes it far more likely to trap moisture and provide a growth bed for mold and bacteria. My point: the quality of the design and materials used to make the washers are very important. On the inside, simpler and smoother is better.

  11. Robin says:

    I have a Bosch front loader. I researched before I bought it and saw reviews in front loads about molding on the gasket. I went to our friend’s appliance store and asked about that and feel I was lied to to my face. How do we get rid of this? I feel like doing a service call to have them billed. Guessing we just need to change the seals if this doesn’t work.

  12. Wishing on a Star says:

    I also have a Bosch…

    Never again… This machine is terrible… and it doesn’t have a clean-washer cycle.

    My previous machine never had a mold problem.
    This Bosch does.
    I spent last night and this morning spraying, cleaning, running the machine on a hot cycle with plenty of Clorox bleach.

    I do think that some machines have better mold resistant materials… drain better… etc.

    Right now, we are looking at the LG Steam Washer.
    It has a 15/20 minute quick cycle that is supposed to work, fast.
    It has a clean drum cycle.
    And it hopefully will not be prone to mold.

  13. Leenmeister says:

    I have the LG Steam washer and have the same black mold in the gasket.
    Did rounds of empty washing with bleach; didn’t help. Used vinegar. It didn’t help either. It’s very difficult to pull back the inner gasket, but I could see black sludge oozing out of the grooves. I’m so grossed out. I’ve been washing everything by hand.

  14. Hilly says:

    I have read through all the comments about the ‘black mold’ on rubber door seals. I had an Indeset and never had it, my daughter had another make and never had it; within the past four years, we have both purchased new machines, both different makes, and we have both got this ‘black mold’ problem. I am thinking it is something in our washing powder or softener??? Theses days we don’t know what goes into washing powder; scientists in some lab somewhere have put something in it that creates mold, but makes our clothes look cleaner when they come out. I don’t know, but it seems like it doesn’t matter what brand of machine; we all get mold. Any boffins out there that could shed some light on it???

  15. Frieda says:

    I previously had a GE front loader and per advice on forums, draped a towel over the door to keep it propped open between washings. After about four years, the GE had to be replaced (my previous top-loading Whirlpool lasted 22 years).

    We replaced the GE with a Samsung and despite all the same precautions, same detergent, etc., now have thick, foul black mold on the rubber seal. I’ll try this, but I doubt I’ll ever buy a Samsung washer again.

  16. Hilly says:

    I soaked some lengths of toilet tissue with bleach and tucked it around the door seal and left it for 24 hours. I removed the tissue and filled the liquid soap tray with bleach and put three dishwasher tablets in the powder tray and put it on the hottest wash cycle. Not a perfect result, but a lot better than it was before.

  17. Gillian says:

    Hi all,
    Yeah I have the same problem; tried almost everything. Trying the bleach test today; hope it works. My make is a UITLA wash and dryer, I don’t use the dryer as I have separate one, but still have the same problem as everyone else. It must be what they put in the washing powders. I will post a comment once I have tried this test.
    Thank you.

  18. Mia says:

    Did an empty hot cycle with bleach, a lot of cleaner just for some stubborn mold patches, but smells a lot better. I have only recently started having this problem, and have never had this problem with previous machines, but I have also recently changed from using powder detergents to liquid…I’m going back to powder!!!!

  19. Rosie says:

    I have the same black mold problem with my Fisher and Pykel front loader. I have just been tackling it this week. Despite drying out the rubber seal and leaving the door open after every use, I still have mold. Sometimes our clothes would come out of the washing machine with bits of grime on them and our machine was smelling moldy. I don’t like using harsh chemicals as I have a toddler, so I have been tackling it with vinegar, tea tree oil and bicarb. Had to give the rubber seal a good scrub and get right in next to the drum. It’s not perfect and I think the mold marks will remain (just hoping I’ve killed the mold), but it’s a lot cleaner, smells better and hoping our clothes will be cleaner!

  20. Dana says:

    Hi, I’ve done my bit of research and it doesn’t matter what make you have as long as you look after it. Washing gels aren’t ideal; they’re more likely to cause mold. Also, don’t try to be economic by always washing at 30 degrees C, that’s what’s ruining your washing machine. I do washes at 40 and 60 degrees, you need at least a 60 degree wash to kill most of the bacteria, if you want to kill all the bacteria, use a 90 degree wash every now and then.
    P.S. If there’s a few black spots, you’ll be able to clean it, but if it’s spread and the seal is turning black, you can either replace the seal (can get quite expensive) or get a new washing machine.
    Hope this helps.

  21. Judith M says:

    I have a Bosch front loader…already replaced the seal due to mold…it is worse than ever. I will NEVER buy another Bosch product. I was told to use All detergent as it is not petroleum-based, as opposed to Tide, which is petroleum-based. Regardless, the mold is so invasive!! I have tried everything to no avail…any help would be so appreciated.

  22. Aimee says:

    We have the earliest model of the Maytag Neptune front-loader. Black mold on gasket. Bleach and lots of scrubbing works for me, but it always returns. I use liquid detergent.

  23. Karen says:

    I have only noticed the mold and have had my Bosch for over 9 years. I saw on Dr. OZ that most front loaders have it. I am going to try the steam cleaner and if it works, I will do it every month.

  24. Carol says:

    So far I’m not having any luck with the bleach. I will try running a cycle with bleach tomorrow. Thanks!

  25. Koos says:

    I also have a Bosch washing machine. Have tried so many times to remove the mold from the seal, but to no avail. At this stage, I’m thinking of buying a new one.

  26. Catherine says:

    Had a Miele for years – could leave wet wash in it for days and never had a problem. The GE that came with my condo began to stink after a month. I am ready to scrap it and suffer the considerable outlay required to have a Miele again. Cleaning it now, but not hopeful.

  27. Laura says:

    I have a Bosch (front loader) with a mold problem as well; it seems to have started after about five years. I will try the bleach method this weekend. Thanks so much for the posting!

  28. Barbara Ann says:

    I bought my Frigadair HE front loading washer about 5-6 years ago, and didn’t notice the mold for a few years. Then, my husband started complaining that the towels smelling when we used them, when they got wet.
    He blamed me for not taking them out of the washer and getting musty.
    But, even after standing by the washer and placing them in the dryer ASAP, I could smell the moldy smell. I use only AMWAY soap/products.
    I saw some mold and tried to wipe it off. But when I pulled the lip back, WOW!! Gross! There was slimy mold that had to have been there for quite a while. Even if I wipe it off, the rubber is stained black. I can’t keep up with cleaning it. I leave the washer door open when not in use, hoping it would dry out. I have tried to clean with bleach, but cant get into the creases well. So there is always some mold. I asked my repair man if using bleach was ok. He said, “Yes,” so we put bleach in the washer.

    But, my feeling after reading so many posts here and elsewhere is that it is the rubber. I believe the material used is the real culprit. Why do some have it and others not so bad and still others really bad. There are may soaps out there, but it seems that any brand used still has this problem.
    Think about it, there is a lot of rubber products in our lives. Think seals on the refrig, car doors and windows. No mold there…I thing the industry has chosen an inferior material. Some of the washer brands mentioned without the mold are generally Euorpean brands. Found in USA, but more expensive.
    But they may have found the correct material to use. They had front loaders way before it was cool to do here in the US.

    Don’t know which is more cost effective, replace or buy the better machine. I will clean again today, washing towels again. Then, run vinegar and baking soda through the machine.
    Hate to think that the wash board or beating over rocks is the solution..

  29. Becky says:

    Bosch is terrible for mold on the seal. I have had seal replaced and it is impossible to keep mould free! Never ever again will I buy a Bosch. The company ignores to problem, but it is clearly a design fault.

  30. Anon says:

    I have owned several several front washing machines. All have had the same issues. It is not only the rubber seal, but also the laundry detergent tray.

    We do leave the washing door open and the laundry tray is always pulled out, but it still has led to the problem. We are a working couple with a busy life; it is not always possible to wipe away the water that has collected on the rubber seal or remove the detergent tray to wipe it dry.

    On my LG (which is about two years old), the clothes come out smelling of mold. I found ‘gunk’ between the rubber and the drum. It was disgusting.

    The use of ‘rubber’ around the home should be reviewed. Rubber is used around the seals on my dishwasher, but it may be the mold is there, but we can’t see it because it is black. Or it may be the ‘drying’ gets rid of water, so it’s not an issue.

    But on my razor handle, the rubber area, is full of mold.
    I changed my shower head, but the new heads have rubber in the shower holes. Now the rubber is turning black. So how can you shower like this?

    They use it on windows seals, but may be the mold is there, but you can’t see it because the seal is black.

    I think rubber should be banned from the home. On my razor handle, they use rubber; it now has mold. Modern shower heads use rubber in the holes. I wanted to buy a new blender; I noticed with glass blenders, they tend to have rubber. I suspect in many places, the rubber is often black.

  31. Tanya says:

    I also have the mould problem on the rubber seal. Just like all of you, I have tried everything to keep it from happening to no avail. I had the smell in the machine despite leaving the door open – couldn’t get rid of it no matter what I did. I have recently stopped using fabric softner and use vinegar in the final rinse – no smell. Haven’t had a chance to tackle the mold, but at least the smell isn’t there.

  32. Kay says:

    Have a Siemens integrated washer/dryer; can’t believe the mould on the door rubber. I have had Hoover, Hotpoint, and Artist machines and never had this problem; even the soap drawer gets it. I thought at first I’d washed some football kit and it was mud. Absolutely disgusted.

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