Is There Mold in Your Appliances?

appliance mold

Mold is a fact of life. If moisture can be found there is the possibility for mold to breed and that includes within our houses and our home appliances. In fact, according to PuriCleanse in Gaithersburg, of the over 100,000 known species of mold over 1000 of them have been found in US homes.

Due to the fact that mold likes to develop in moist places home appliances that use water are especially sensitive to mold, as are machines where condensation occurs such as refrigerators and ice machines.

The last thing anyone wants is mold developing inside, and particularly not in machines that you are using to wash your clothes or dishes or store your food. Mold is both unattractive and can make you unwell, especially if you or anyone in your household is sensitive to mold or has pre-existing health conditions such as asthma.

Health implications vary depending on the individual and on the species of mold, but include a runny nose, coughing, headaches, a sore throat and dry or itchy skin. Sinus and digestive tract infections can also be triggered by mold especially for people with underlying health conditions.

Making sure your machines remain Keeping your home appliances mold-free should be a relatively simple process and is important for the health of your household as well as maintaining the effectiveness of your machines.

Why Mold Breeds in Appliances

Mold is naturally occurring and breeds just about everywhere. Our houses provide the perfect conditions for mold proliferation due to the fact that molds prefer the same temperatures that people do. As well as the perfect temperature, our houses provide dampness and organic matter.

Dampness and the fact that many machines in the home use water is a key factors that make home appliances susceptible to mold proliferation, this is made worse by a lack of and humidity. Not letting appliances completely dry out after use will encourage mold proliferation, but, even if you are doing everything right there can still be enough trapped moisture for mold development to occur, especially around door seals.

Mold often takes hold in dark places, making the the areas inside or behind appliances are perfect hiding places for mold to breed.

As well as moisture and the correct temperature, mold needs organic matter for food which could be anything from dead skin cells that form dust around our homes and are on our clothes to scraps of food that ends up in the dishwasher or the food and spills in the fridge.

Keep your appliances mold free is a fairly simple task. You do however need to be aware of the conditions mold needs to take hold and not forget to clean hard to reach spots regularly.

Where Mold Develops in Appliances

As mentioned above mold breeds pretty much anywhere there is water, and in the case of machines this often means anywhere dampness becomes trapped and cannot fully dry out between uses.

The following list details some of the machines that are most sensitive to mold proliferation and where on those home appliances mold is prone to developing.

Front Loading Washers

In a front loading washing machine, mold will usually grow in the door seals and the detergent drawer, as moisture gets trapped in these areas between uses.

Keeping the door and drawer open between uses will allow the machine to dry out and help stop mold growing.

Top Loading Washing Machine

In a top Loading washing machine, mold will often breed inside the machine between the drum and the inner wall. This hidden mold could go unnoticed as it is harder to spot.

Again, keeping the washer open after use can reduce the chances of mold. Making sure you use the correct quantity of washing powder, not too much, can also make a difference.


Refrigerators are also very susceptible to mold proliferation particularly in the door gaskets and in hidden corners and crevices. While refrigerators do not use water in the same way washing machines do the temperature difference between the warm outside air and the cool inside air causes condensation to form.

Regular sanitizing and wiping up any spills as soon as they occur can help to stop mold from growing.


Dishwashers not only have a ready supply of water but also a ready supply of food. With dishwashers, mold can develop in the filter, the door gasket, the silverware basket and the interior walls.

Again keeping the door open to allow the machine to fully dry can help, as can regularly clearing out the filter and removing any bits of food.

How to Tell If You Have Mold in Your Appliances

Generally mold will be visible in your home appliances. You should check the door seals regularly for any discoloration, spots or obvious mold proliferation, as well as any other spots that mold could be lurking.

As well as visible signs of mold you will often be able to smell it. If your clean clothes are smelling musty then it’s likely you have a mold issue.

How to Get Rid of Mold in Your Appliances

Removing mold in your machines is usually simple enough, the process varies slightly depending on the appliance you are looking at.

When the mold has been dealt with keeping appliances dry and well ventilated will help stop mold from returning, as will regular cleaning and inspection.

Front Loading Washing Machines

For front loading machines you can clean the door seal and the detergent drawer with either white vinegar or bleach to remove mold and bicarbonate of soda can be used to remove any lingering musty smells.

When you have done this run the deep clean cycle on your machine.

You may find you need to repeat this process depending on the severity of the issue.

Top Loading Machines

Top loading washing machines don’t have the same issue with the rubber door seal but mold can grow in the area between the drum and the inner wall of the machine. Running a cleaning cycle or a hot cycle with either bleach or several cups of white vinegar regularly should remove and prevent mold growth. Repeat with baking soda if there is a musty smell.


Door seals and anywhere else in the fridge that is suffering with mold can be sanitized with white vinegar or a bleach solution. Ensure you empty the fridge first and clean all shelves and drawers at the same time.


There are lots of appliance cleaners available that you can use to remove mold within the machine. The door gaskets can be cleaned with white vinegar or bleach as above Alternatively run an empty cycle with a cup of vinegar on the top rack to get rid of mold.

It is important to use gloves when removing mold and if you are sensitive you might wish to wear additional PPE such as a mask and eye protection or calling in the professionals.