If not properly maintained, your washing machine is the perfect environment for mold and mildew to grow, especially a front load washer. In this post you will find tips that worked for us to effectively clean mold out of a front load washer naturally without using bleach. Then learn how to maintain your washing machine using natural products to avoid any future mold or mildew growth.
What conditions does mold like to grow in?
Washing machines are the perfect environment for mold and mildew growth. For mold loves to grow in damp, dark, warm places.
So pull back your washing machine drum rubber seal and see if you have anything growing growing, we did and were surprised to find black nasty mold!
You may have other areas in your home where mold may like to grow, basements, under kitchen sinks, etc.. Take a peek to make sure you don’t have mold growing in these places, as it poses a health risk.
The Dangers of Mold
Mold isn’t something to take lightly, as it can pose some serious health risks. There’s a lot of toxic build up occurring in your body as mold penetrates your skin and is taking in by your lungs.
According to the CDC mold can cause a whole host of issues, depending on the age or a person (Younger children and infants are more susceptible to mold.), the amount and length of exposure and the individuals own sensitivities.
To name a few: stuffy nose, wheezing, red or itchy eyes or skin, asthma or allergies or the symptoms thereof, upper respiratory tract symptoms (coughing, wheezing), fever, memory loss, lethargy, hypersensitivity pneumonitis, acute idiopathic hemorrhage and other adverse health effects.
Recently, a friend shared how up until he was 5 they lived in a moldy home, as it was all his family could afford. He was always sick, had asthma and was allergic to everything imaginable! Then they moved out and in a few months most of his symptoms cleared up, asthma taking the longest. Imagine if his family hadn’t moved? He’s not the only one. I personally know a few individuals who spent their entire childhood in a home with a mildewy basement, through now grown they all suffer from various health issues still today.
Why Bleach shouldn’t be used to Get Rid of mold or mildew.
There are many dangers of bleach. In his post Dr. Axe explains how bleach is quite toxic in and of itself and can harm the respiratory tract.
Even worse, when mixed with other chemicals it can be extremely toxic and dangerous. Just mixing bleach with vinegar can be very hazardous!
Furthermore, bleach doesn’t actually kill the roots of mold, only the surface mold. Instead, the water content in the bleach can even provide the mold spore “roots” what they need to grow more. Not what we want!
5 Natural products to use to clean and keep mold out of your washing machine.
- white vinegar, natural disinfectant and can effectively kill mold and mildew
- baking soda, natural ingredient that can help eliminate mold and odors
- tea tree essential oil, anti-fungal and anti-bacterial
- hydrogen peroxide
Wear PPE when cleaning mold out of your washer!
When cleaning mold out of your front load washing machine make sure you’re wearing rubber gloves, a full face respirator mask, long sleeves and pants.
Keep the room well ventilated, windows open. Once you have the washing machine seal off, take it outside to clean. The best ventilation is outside.
Once you’re done cleaning the mold, make sure to take a shower yourself, throw out the rubber gloves and respirator cartilages, and wash the clothes you were wearing in your now mold free washer.
14 Tips to Get Rid of Mold in a Front Load Washer with natural products – bleach free.
- Put on your PPE and open the window, turn on the bathroom ventilation fan.
- Spray the washing machine rubber seal and drum down with vinegar. Let it set for a few minutes.
- Make a baking soda paste with a little bit of water. Add a few drops of tea tree oil.
- Using a cloth with the baking soda paste, wipe out as much of the mold as you can visibly see in the rubber seal and drum.
- Next, carefully remove the rubber seal and take it outside. (Research how to properly remove it for your particular washer’s brand.)
- Spray more vinegar all over the seal and wait.
- Then with a wire brush or scratch pad, take the baking soda – tee tree oil paste and scrub, scrub, scrub. (Careful not to wreck the rubber.)
- Repeat steps 6 & 7 a number of time until the seal comes clean.
- If the mold is holding on try using hydrogen peroxide in place of vinegar, and borax in place of baking soda if needed.
- Again wipe down the washer drum again with baking soda – tea tree oil paste.
- Carefully put the mold free seal back on the washer drum.
- Run a sanitize cycle with natural mold killing products:
- put about 1/2 cup of borax in the drum
- fill the “bleach” tray with vinegar and a few drops of tea tree oil
- Run another sanitize cycle, doing the same thing, except this time use baking soda in place of vinegar.
- Repeat until there is no more mold or mildew smell in your washing machine.
How do I know when I’ve gotten rid of all the mold / mildew?
You won’t be able to visibly see any signs of mold on the rubber. When you smell inside the washer you won’t be able to smell any mold or mildew anymore.
If later you find more mold growing back, and you’ve been doing proper maintenance, I’d highly encourage you to just replace the rubber seal. If mold/mildew comes back again then I’d personally just replace the entire washing machine. Think of it like a health investment to have a mold free washer.
What if I can’t get all the mold out of my washing machine?
If the washer’s rubber seal is really bad (you’ve probably spend a lot of time cleaning already) you may need to just replace the seal. It’s not as expensive as replacing an entire washing machine. But if you can’t get the drum mold free, then you may need to replace your entire washer. Your health is worth this investment!
Remember you and your family is wearing clothes that have mold residue on them, sleeping on the sheets washed in it. All of which is absorbing into your skin, not to mention what your breathing in. Personally, I think it’s worth sacrificing somewhere else to have a clean mold free washing machine.
5 Maintenance Tips – Keep Mold out of your Washer with Natural Products!
- Always leave the washer’s door and soap tray open when not in use!
- Wash every load with vinegar and a few drops of tea tree essential oil.
- After every load, wipe dry inside the washer’s rubber seal, make sure to also pull back next to the drum to wipe dry as well. Remove any nasties build up in there.
- After every load, dump out any water from the soap tray, leave it open.
- Do the regular sanitize cycles using natural products:
- put 1/2-1 cup of borax in the drum,
- put the vinegar and tea tree oil in the bleach/fabric softener tray,
- run a hot wash cycle.
Shop the natural products mentioned to keep mold out of your washing machine:
This post contains affiliate links, which means I make a small commission at no extra cost to you. See my full disclosure here.
- white vinegar
- baking soda
- tea tree essential oil
- hydrogen peroxide
- cleaning brush
- rubber gloves
- respirator mask
Have you had mold in your washing machine?
Were you able to get the mold out using natural products? Let me know in the comments below what worked and what didn’t for you?
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