It seems the rubber seal part of my washing machine is growing mold. I have noticed that often there is water still in the seal after washing. I am trying to dry it out the best I can but still the machine smells horribly. I also keep the door and the washing powder/liquid compartment open between washes, but this does not help either. The good part is that it seems the smell does not affect the clothes, but I really want to figure a way to remove the mold and also to prevent new from forming.

2 Answers 2


Removing the mold
First of all, check that you're washing machine is bleach tolerable. If it is then run an ordinary empty cycle with hot water and add around 1/2 cup of bleach, bleach is the most effective substance for removing those nasty spores. If your machine is not bleach tolerable then use a considerable amount of vinegar, just be sure to run a quick cycle afterwards to get rid of the smell. You may opt to simply scrub the seal manually with some bleach but running a cycle with some nice hot water will most definitely have a stronger chance of fighting the mold.
Next dab a diluted mixture of bleach into the remaining areas that the mold may be roaming and leave for 10 minutes before wiping down.

Don't always wash on low temperatures
Try to use detergents that contain bleach
Once you're clear of the mold, once a month put an empty boil wash on with some bleach/bleached detergent

The smell is a common result of the mold developed inside washing machines, once the spores have been eradicated then this will no longer be a problem. If there is still an odor omitting from your washing machine in the coming weeks then the spores may have spread deeper and it may be a good idea to remove the seal and scrub underneath.

Good luck!

  • Thank you for your answer. In what way can I check if the washing machine is bleach tolerable? Or is it supposed that this is mentioned in the manual? Feb 10, 2016 at 13:59
  • It should mention it in the manual, if you've lost it I'm sure there will be a digital copy floating around on the web. The key component to look for is the pipes, with some older machines the bleach can be corrosive but nowadays I'm sure this won't be as much of a problem.
    – Arazio
    Feb 10, 2016 at 14:08
  • +1: Prevention: wash hot once a week. Works for me. New machine still fresh after 6 months. Also, leave the door open/ajar for several hours to dry out after each wash. Feb 14, 2016 at 23:08
  • Vinegar is actually much better at killing mold than bleach; have you ever tried straight bleach and vinegar patch tests on the mold between your bathroom/kitchen tiles?
    – autistic
    Sep 13, 2016 at 4:31
  • One important (and easy) last prevention tip: Leave the washing machine door or lid OPEN after done washing, regardless of washer type! If there is a fan in the room it can be run as well. Stagnant air is a leading cause of mold.
    – ELinda
    Sep 20, 2023 at 14:13

Sodium bicarbonate and apple cider vinegar are excellent fabric softeners. It is not only that they break the mineral deposits on the clothes, they also have an antimicrobial effect.

It has been some seasons that I've replaced the rubber band. I make sure to collect the water that remains lodged whenever I notice it, but I can't sense any odor. It also used to be the case that loads which I've forgotten in the machine for a few hours would already have a noticeable odor as I hang the damp clothes, but I haven't noticed that either for quite some time.

  • Won't the clothes smell of vinegar after using it in the washing machine? Feb 15, 2016 at 10:43
  • Spill some vinegar over your desk and let it dry. You'll notice the smell has completely evaporated. Some staining may remain, though it's still soluble in water and it gets diluted and washed out in the machine, but it will color the feed lid of a machine unless you add it just before the water pump kicks in or you simply add it and keep pouring water until you move it into the machine. You can stick to sodium bicarbonate exclusively, but if you have none at hand, you can wash colored clothes on low temperatures and add vinegar for some instant gratification. Feb 15, 2016 at 11:53

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