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Youris a humid environment where mold, mildew and bacteria thrive. As a result, your “clean” clothes end up smelling worse than when you put them in the washer, which can ruin a new load of laundry. By giving your washer the routine cleaning it needs, you can banish those gross things and keep them from coming back.
Here’s how to get your clothes and washing machine smelling fresh and clean again, and how to keep bad odors away in the future. (For more cleaning tips, here, and .)
The Best Way to Kill Mold and Bacteria in Your Washer
If you have mold in your washer, here’s how to get rid of it. Doing this monthly will help prevent mold growth.
1. Put on gloves and grab an old towel you don’t care about.
2. Mix a solution of bleach and hot water OR vinegar and hot water. (Never mix bleach and vinegar – it creates chlorine gas, which is toxic.)
3. Dip the towel into the mixture and begin scrubbing any visible mildew. Be sure to get the detergent dispenser and around the joints.
4. Front loading machines have a seal around the door. If you have a front loader, clean and dry it thoroughly, including all wrinkles.
5. Run the wash cycle on the hottest setting your machine offers with one cup of bleach or vinegar. If you use bleach, pour it into the compartment provided for this purpose. If you are using vinegar, pour it into the detergent slot.
If your machine has a self-cleaning cycle, you can use this setting. This should kill any hidden mold you may have missed.
6. Use another old towel and wipe all the moisture out of your washing machine. This includes the drum, distributors, seals, and any other areas you can reach.
seven. Leave the washer door open to allow the air to dry any parts you missed.
Leave the lid open if you are not washing clothes
Mildew thrives in dark, damp areas, which is what your washer becomes after you unload the clothes. Keeping the lid closed traps moisture, which can lead to bacteria buildup and a bad odor.
Leaving the washing machine door open helps ventilate the area and prevents mold from growing in the first place.
Need to wash your clothes by hand? Here’s how to do it right
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Immediately remove wet clothing
Damp clothes are another breeding ground for mold. If you throw in a load of laundry, be sure to be home to remove the clothes just as the timer goes off.
Not only does this keep mold from growing in your washer, it also keeps mold from getting into your clean clothes, bedding, and towels.
Dry wet seals and other parts after each use
After you are done using your washing machine for the day, be sure to wipe down any part of the washing machine that is damp. This includes the lid, drum, door, rubber seals and detergent dispenser (if your machine has this feature).
Keep an old towel handy for this purpose.
Be sure to dry the seams with the rest of your washing machine to prevent moisture from remaining. And while mold contamination box happen in any washer, it’s especially common in high-efficiency (HE) front-loading washers. That’s why you should regularly wash the gaskets and seals around the door and keep them dry. The gaskets ensure that water does not leak around the door and also seal out moisture which can promote mold growth.
You should also immediately remove pet hair, crumpled paper or other debris from the machine.
If you have a high-efficiency washing machine
Liquid detergents can leave a residue in your washing machine, giving mold a food source. So, if you have a high-efficiency washer, the first thing to do to control mold is to make sure you’re using a laundry detergent that’s made specifically for that type of washer, which will produce less suds. (Look for the letters HE on the bottle.)
Better yet, skip liquid detergent altogether and switch to powder detergent or pods. Whichever you choose, be sure to use only the amount needed to wash your clothes. If you use too much, your clothes may have odor and residue.
Once you’ve cleaned your washer, it’s time to move on to the rest of your home. Start with the bathroom: here’s a simple one-hour trick toand .