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My washing machine has a thick rubber gasket between the door and the cylinder, seen here:

gasket

The space in that gasket fills with water during each wash and, although we let it air dry between washes, attracts mold. Is there anything we can do, other than jamming towels in there after each wash, to keep the inside of that gasket clean and dry?

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Rather than drying the gasket out to stop mould growth you are better off killing the mould before it has a chance to grow much.

You can do this by running a cycle with nothing in the machine at the hottest temperature setting. Add a small amount of laundry bleach according to the instructions on the bottle.

If you do this once every month or so then you shouldn't see any mould growing in the machine.

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I've had the same front loading washing machine, with this type of gasket, for 16 years; I have never dried the gasket when the wash is complete, just left it as it is, and never once has mould appeared anywhere on the gasket. I've never once run a self cleaning programme, most of the wash cycles I do are unheated, meaning in cold water, with one hot wash weekly or fortnightly for certain items, always using liquid detergent followed by fabric conditioner. The dispenser drawer does get mouldy and needs cleaning, but I don't see mould anywhere else. BUT, I never close the door on the washing machine when its not in use, its always left pushed to, but slightly open, and perhaps that's why, so if you've been keeping yours closed, don't.

We have high humidity here most of the time, but not heat - if you live somewhere very hot and humid, I'm guessing that might encourage the problem.

  • Certainly, leave the door open. Also you need to ventilate the room till it's dry. – RedSonja May 28 '15 at 12:11
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I don't ever see mold in my machine, but it does stink after awhile if I leave something wet in it on a hot day, so it could be growing mold where I do not see from time to time.

What I do day to day that helps the most is take my clothes out right away, and leave the top of the machine open to dry out when I am not using it. But if it ever smells bad, I just throw a cup of vinegar in with my clothes the next time I wash. It seems to kill the smell fine. I have in the past also put a quarter cup of bleach in the machine and ran just a rinse cycle to clean it. Without any clothes of course! You could keep the lid open and let the machine fill with water, put the bleach in and let it soak until after work. Then close the lid and finish the cycle it will kill whatever is in your machine that the water can touch.

The biggest problem with mold is that once you get it somewhere, if any is left after you clean will grow back very fast once everything is wet again. I got mold in a sink once, and had to take the "P" tube out and let it dry for a whole week and put it back together because it would not ever come completely clean. It is possible you have something similar going on with your machine? Mold under it, in other areas you can't see, etc...

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For some washers, rather than drying the gasket to prevent mold, periodic use of a self-cleaning cycle is recommended.

ConsumerReports.org article How to prevent smelly mold buildup in front-loading washers recommends the following:

  • Wipe the door gasket and glass dry once you're done.
  • Clean the detergent dispenser and any attachments once or twice a month.
  • Run a dehumidifier if your laundry room is damp.
  • Keep the washer door ajar between loads to allow air to circulate. If you have small children, keep the laundry-room door locked.

It also suggests documenting any issue and contacting the manufacturer.

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