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Mould thrives in dark, damp areas. Your washing machine, particularly its rubber seal, is thus an ideal breeding ground for all kinds of mould. If this growth gets out of hand, you can expect your washer to start smelling rather badly, and even your clothes can smell after washing.
Mould is also not good for your health. While it may not be extremely dangerous, it can still cause skin irritations and breathing issues, so the sooner you remove it, the better.
How to Get Mould Off a Washing Machine’s Rubber Seal
You can use baking soda and bleach or a mould remover to get rid of the mould on the rubber seal of your washing machine. You will need to let it work, wipe it off thoroughly, then run a regular cycle to make sure the washer is completely clean.
Cleaning the rubber seal of your washer is not at all difficult. You may need a cotton pad or a smaller rag to get into the nooks and crannies, but even then, it’s a 10-15 minute job at the most, not counting the time you let the agent do it’s work.
If you wipe this area of your washer every time you clean it (or ideally after every washing cycle), no mould will get the chance to form on it, and you will spend even less time on cleaning.
Use a Mould Remover
You can use a mould remover to get rid of it from your washer’s rubber seal. This HG one can do a very good job. Here are the steps you need to take:
1 – Wipe the Seal Clean
You will first need to ensure that the rubber seal is clean and dry. This will make the mould remover stick to it better. Use a damp cloth and some soapy water, and scrub at it gently. Make sure to get into all the crevices, and to reach both underneath and behind.
Wear gloves and keep at it until everything but the toughest stains are gone.
2 – Clean the Drawer
Your washing machine’s drawer compartments are also a good breeding ground for mould. Before you tackle the seal, make sure this part is cleaned as well. Ideally, you will remove the entire drawer from the washer, and wash it with warm soapy water, then clean it with a bit of vinegar.
If yours is not detachable, do as throughout a job as you can with a rag and a toothbrush. Make sure the drawer is completely dry before you use the washer again.
3 – Spray the Mould Remover
Spray your mould remover all over your dry rubber seal. Aim directly at the spots that have the most mould, but make sure the cleaning liquid is dispersed all over. Let the agent do its work for 15-ish minutes, then use a clean cloth to wipe it away. Make sure you are wearing gloves.
4 – Run a Wash Cycle
You now need to run a hot wash cycle with your machine empty. The hot water will ensure all the mould is effectively removed. Choose your hottest setting and your longest cycle.
You can also add a cup of bicarbonate of soda to your washer’s drawer, as it will further disinfect the rubber seal during the wash.
5 – Wipe the Seal with a Clean Cloth
After the washing cycle is over, use a new, soft clean cloth to wipe away any of the dampness from the rubber seal, and any leftover mould. Do this right after the machine stops, as the rubber seal will still be hot, and you will have the easiest time getting rid of any mould.
You can use a damp cloth, just make sure that the seal has time to dry before you close the door. Wash the cloth separately.
Use Baking Soda (and Bleach)
Baking soda and bleach are also a great way to remove mould from the rubber seal of your washing machine.
1 – Wipe the Rubber Seal
You will again need to wipe the rubber seal with a soapy rag, to remove any dirt and easily detachable mould. Make sure to wash said rag separately, as you don’t want the mould to be transferred anywhere else.
2 – Mix Baking Soda and Bleach (or Water)
Make a paste of baking soda and bleach. Don’t use baking powder, as it will be less effective. You are aiming for a toothpaste-like consistency, so add as much bleach as you need to about a cup of baking soda.
Don’t add any other ingredients to the paste, especially not ammonia, as it will cause a toxic chemical reaction. Wear gloves while handling bleach.
You can also make a paste of plain water and baking soda and use that instead of bleach, if you are afraid it might damage your washer.
Apply this paste to the rubber seal. Use a toothbrush to get into all the crevices, and cover all the heavily affected areas. Let it sit for 12 hours, ideally overnight.
3 – Wipe the Paste Off
In the morning, use a clean damp cloth to wipe the paste away. Wear gloves, and be careful not to get the mixture everywhere. If you drop some of it to the floor, make sure to wipe all of it away before you leave the room.
4 – Run a Cycle with Bleach or Baking Soda
Run your hottest and longest washing cycle, and pour either a quarter cup of bleach or a cup of baking soda into the drawer where you would place the washing detergent for a regular cycle. Don’t use a pre-wash cycle.
Don’t pour anything in the drum, as it won’t be diluted properly and it won’t get into the required crevices.
5 – Wipe the Rubber Seal
Finally, wipe the seal again and make sure all the mould is gone. Wash the cloth separately to avoid any cross contamination.
Is Black Mould in the Washing Machine Dangerous?
Yes, black mould in the washer can be dangerous, as it can cause respiratory issues and skin irritations.
If you notice mould is growing on the rubber seal of your washer, you need to remove it as soon as possible. It will get transferred to your clothes, and you will keep inhaling the mould spores all throughout the day.
If you have asthma or are susceptible to mould allergies, your health can deteriorate quite fast.
Tips To Prevent Mould in Your Washing Machine
While removing mould from a washing machine is not that difficult, it’s better to prevent it altogether. Here’s how you can do that:
- Don’t pour too much detergent and fabric softener into your washing machine. It will settle on the rubber seal and become a breeding ground for mould.
- Keep the door of your washing machine open whenever you can. The flow of air will help excess moisture to evaporate. Since mould likes damp spaces, this will prevent it from forming.
- Wipe the rubber seal after each washing cycle with a clean, dry cloth.
- Don’t leave wet items in the washer for too long. Use the delay function on your washer to time your cycles.
- Run at least one hot cycle a week, to kill any bacteria and mould that may be forming in the washer where you can’t get to it.
How Often Should I Clean the Rubber Seal of My Washing Machine?
You should clean the rubber seal of your washing machine thoroughly once a month, and wipe it after each use.
Ideally, you will run a cleaning cycle on your washer once a month. It can be no more than a hot cycle with baking soda instead of detergent on an empty machine. When you do this, also clean your rubber seal thoroughly. If there are no stains on it, soap and water will do the trick.
By regularly cleaning your washing machine, you will prevent all those bad smells, and mould will never have time to grow on your rubber seal. Plus, your clothes will come out smelling fresh every time.
Does Bleach Damage Washing Machine Rubber Seals?
Bleach can damage the rubber seal of your washing machine. While it’s a great way to clean it, you may want to use something gentler, like a paste of baking soda and water.
Does Vinegar Damage Washing Machine Rubber Seals?
No, vinegar will not damage the rubber seal of your washing machine. It’s a great natural cleaning agent that is not corrosive, so you can use it on your rubber seal without fear.
Does Baking Soda Damage Washing Machine Rubber Seals?
Baking soda is highly unlikely to damage the rubber seal of your washing machine. You can test it out on a small area before you mix a baking soda paste for disinfecting it entirely.
Wrapping It Up
Getting mould off the rubber seal of your washing machine is not too difficult, as long as you use the right cleaning agents. Baking soda, vinegar and bleach are the usual choices, but you can also use a commercial mould remover.