How to Minimize Mold in Your Washing Machine
8 tips that you can try to fight the funk in your front-load washer
In the course of a year, the average American family does 300 loads of laundry, according to Energy Star. And if you happen to own a front-loader, your work doesn’t end there. According to our surveys of tens of thousands of CR members, 17 percent of those who own a front-load washing machine report problems with mold.
The truth is, there’s no guarantee that you can prevent mold from developing in a front-load washer. That said, doing nothing certainly won’t help. Your best bet? Follow the instructions in the owner’s manual. Here’s a cheat sheet to what various manufacturers, as well as repair technicians, recommend doing.
1. Combat Residue
It feeds mold. Skip fabric softener—which may produce residue—and use only high-efficiency (HE) detergents. (Regular detergent is too sudsy for water-efficient washers and will leave behind soap scum.) According to Samsung, HE powder detergent is less likely to build up than liquid detergent. “And don’t use too much detergent,” says Shawn Beguesse, a technician for Appliance Doctor in New York City. “The excess builds up, and eventually you’ll see a film” in the dispenser drawer. (See CR’s review of the best and worst laundry detergents.)
2. Remove Your Clean Laundry ASAP
Transfer wet clothes to the dryer as soon as the cycle ends to keep moisture from lingering.
3. Wipe the Door and Gasket
Use a rag to dry the inside of the door. Gently pull back the gasket, wipe it clean, then dry. And be on the lookout for socks and such that get stuck here, because they can become moldy.
Editor’s Note: A version of this article also appeared in the May 2020 issue of Consumer Reports magazine.