Mold in Washing Machine

The “mold in washing machine blues” strikes almost everyone with a front-loading clothes washer.1

Fortunately, there are many helpful “get the mold out” guides online.

This is my front-loading washer, even after two cleanings with affresh, which eliminated about 33% of the mold.

Mold in dishwasher
Mold loves a dark, moist environment—that’s why you’ll almost always find mold in a front-loading dishwasher.

CAUTION: Do not combine bleach and vinegar because it will create chlorine gas, a poison.

How to clean mold in washing machine

Run washer (empty – no laundry) with cleaning solution

Add a disinfectant cleaning solution to a warm or hot cycle (without any clothes in the washing machine).

Various cleaning solutions are recommended:

  • 1/2 cup liquid chlorine bleach – add to the detergent compartment of the dispenser drawer, and fill the bleach dispenser compartment with chlorine bleach to the highest level.
    • Run the washing machine, normal, warm water.
    • When done, dry the washer door opening, flexible rubber door gasket, and door glass with a soft, absorbent cloth.
    • Source: The Spruce, How to Clean a Clothes Washer » How to Clean a Front-Load Washer.
  • Run your washing machine with distilled white vinegar, then run the washer a second time with baking soda.
    • First wipe down the drum and rubber gasket with vinegar.
    • Pour 2 cups vinegar into the washer’s detergent dispenser, run a long wash cycle using hot water.
    • Repeat, but this time with 1/2 cup baking soda added directly inside the washer (in the drum). Run a long, hot cycle.
    • Note: You will see some articles indicating that you should combine the vinegar and baking soda and run the washer once. But Architectural Digest has it right because, as a Good Housekeeping article points out:
      • “Baking soda is basic2 and vinegar is acidic … when you put them together you get mostly water and sodium acetate. But really, mostly water.”

Clean the rubber door gasket

Clean the rubber door gasket with a clean cloth, towel, or rag.

Various cleaning solutions are recommended:

hydrogen peroxide + water in a 1:4 ratio;


distilled white vinegar + water, in a 1:4 ratio.

And here’s a twist on that theme:


  1. For more information about front-loading washers’ mold problem, see Janeway, Kimberly. “Mold in Your Washing Machine: The Mystery & the Menace.” Consumer Reports (3 April 2020).

  2. base, n. … 16. Chemistry a. Any of a class of compounds whose aqueous solutions are characterized by a bitter taste, a slippery feel, the ability to turn litmus blue, and the ability to react with acids to form salts. … [American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language, 5th ed. (Boston: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2018)].