Washing machine mold can damage clothing and front load washer mold is a common problem in front loading washing machines made prior to 2009. Later models are typically designed in such a way as to prevent or reduce the growth of mold in the machine, but mold remains a problem for people with older models. According to Today News, models that have named in lawsuits because of mold problems include:
Mold has been more of a problem in front loading washing machines than in top loading washing machines because warm, moist air, which leads to the growth of mold, rises. In a top loading machine, the warm, moist air escapes from the machine when it rises. In a front loading machine, the warm, moist air is trapped, allowing mold to grow.
When mold grows in a washing machine, it can cause clothes washed in the machine to have a musty, unclean, unpleasant odor. It may also discolor clothes in some instances. Many forms of mold spread easily to other areas of the home and may cause respiratory problems and allergic reactions. Some forms of mold produce mycotoxins, substances that may cause a variety of health problems.
You may be able to prevent mold from growing in your washing machine by leaving the door of the machine open when it’s not in use and by wiping the inside of the machine dry with a towel after doing a load of laundry. These measures don’t guarantee mold won’t develop, but they will reduce the risk. In addition, if you purchase a used washing machine, consider a top loading machine, which is less likely to develop a mold problem than a front loading machine. If you purchase a top loading machine, get a new machine or a recent model (2009 or newer), which will likely be designed to help prevent mold.
Running a few cycles with bleach may kill the mold. You can also purchase products (found in the laundry detergent aisle at the store) for this purpose. Of course, you can wipe off any mold you can see in your washing machine, but the problem is that mold often develops in crevices where you can’t see or reach it. If you cannot adequately clean your washing machine, you’ll need to buy a new one. Fortunately, new models are much less likely to harbor mold, so a new machine should solve the problem for good.
If you have a front loading washing machine and the inside smells musty or your freshly-washed clothes come out of the washing machine smelling musty, you probably have front load washer mold. The only way to know for sure, though, is to have your machine tested for mold. For a list of certified professional mold testers in your area, follow the link. You may want to have them test the rest of your home for mold while they’re at it, since most strains of mold spread easily from one area to another. Household mold is associated with numerous health problems, so it’s best to find out as soon as possible if you have a problem.