This is part of the storyCNET’s collection of simple tips to quickly improve your life.
You have a weekly laundry schedule to wash your clothes, towels and bedding. But is cleaning your washing machine on that weekly to-do list? If not, I have a great reason for you to start today.
Your washing machine may contain mold and mildew, making your laundry smell less than fresh. Like other appliances, your washer needs a good scrub on a regular basis — especially if your laundry smells of sulfur. The good news is that if you have mold in your washing machine, it’s not that hard to kill.
Here’s how to keep your clothes and washing machine smelling fresh and clean and keep bad odors at bay in the future. Plus, I’ll show you how to identify gross gunk, clean it up, and eliminate good bacteria. (We’ve got plenty more tips for this, too, And .)
A great way to kill mold and bacteria in your washing machine
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 for.
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 a towel in the mixture and begin scrubbing at any visible mold. Make sure the detergent is around the dispenser and gaskets.
4. Front loading machines have a gasket around the door. If you have a front loader, clean and dry it thoroughly, including all folds.
5. Run the wash cycle on the hottest setting your machine offers with a cup of bleach or vinegar. If bleach is used, pour it into the compartment designated for bleach. If vinegar is used, pour it into the detergent slot.
If your machine has a self-cleaning cycle, you can use that setting. This will kill any hidden mold you may have missed.
6. Use another old towel and wipe away all the moisture in your washing machine. This includes the drum, dispensers, seals and any other areas you can reach.
7. Open the washer door to allow airflow to dry any parts you missed.
Leave the lid open if you are not doing laundry
Mold thrives in dark, moist areas like your washer after you unload the clothes. Keeping the lid closed traps moisture, which can lead to bacteria and bad odors.
Leaving the washing machine door open will help ventilate the area and prevent mold from growing in the first place.
Need to hand wash your clothes? Here’s how to do it right
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Remove wet clothing immediately
Damp clothes are another breeding ground for mold. If you’re throwing in a load of laundry, make sure you’re at home to remove the clothes as soon as the timer goes off
Not only does it prevent mold from growing in your washer, but it also keeps mildew out of 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, make sure to wipe down any part of the washer that is wet. This includes the lid, drum, door, rubber gaskets and detergent dispenser (if your machine has that feature).
Keep an old towel handy for this purpose.
Make sure to dry the seals with the rest of your washer to prevent moisture from sticking. And in the case of mold contamination can do As happens with any washer, it is especially common in high-efficiency (HE) front-loading washers. That is why you should regularly wash the gaskets and seals around the door and dry them. Gaskets keep water from leaking around the door and do a good job of sealing in moisture that helps mold grow.
You should remove pet hair, crumpled paper or any other detritus from the machine immediately.
If you have a high capacity washing machine
Liquid detergents can leave a residue in your washing machine, providing a food source for mold. So if you have a high-efficiency washing machine, the first thing to do to check for mold is to make sure you’re using a laundry detergent made specifically for this type of washer, which produces less suds. (See letters HE on the bottle.)
Better yet, ditch liquid detergent altogether and switch to powder detergent or pods. Whatever you choose, make sure you only use as much as you need to wash your clothes. If you use too much, your clothes may smell and have 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 hackAnd .