Top Causes of Mold in Your Home Appliances

By Terry Mehilos | Jun. 08, 2018 10:35 am PST

how to get rid of mold in appliances

Where there’s moisture, there could be mold. Keep mold out of your washer, fridge and dishwasher with these tips.

Mold could be growing inside your appliances without your even knowing it. It can lurk in your washer, dishwasher or fridge — and that doesn’t mean artisanal bleu cheese. Simply put, mold grows where moisture lives, explains the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and since these appliances all work with water, they’re susceptible to mold growth.

What causes mold? Poor venting in appliances, leaks, clogged drains — and dare we say it? — user error.

Everyone knows mold is gross, but more than the yuck factor, it can do a number on your health, especially if you’re sensitive to it, according to the CDC. You can experience a variety of symptoms from exposure to mold, including a stuffy nose, coughing, throat irritation or skin irritation. If you have mold allergies, a chronic lung disease like asthma or a compromised immune system, you could experience even more severe reactions or an infection.

Health concerns aside, do you really want mold in the appliances you’re using to clean your clothes and dishes and store your food?

Fortunately, there are things you can do to help banish mold from your appliances. We’re breaking down the most common mold culprits and fixes, with help from Jeffrey McBride, an appliance expert at Sears Home Services. Remember to consult your owner’s manuals first for information on how to properly care for your specific appliances.

Mold in Your Appliances: Where It Grows and How to Get Rid Of It


Front-Load Washers

Where Mold Hides: The door seal and detergent drawer What Spawns It: Trapped moisture when the door or detergent drawer are closed

How to Kill It: Mix:

  • 2 cups white vinegar
  • 1/4 cup baking soda
  • 1/4 water

Wipe affected areas.

Life-Saving Tip: Leave the door and detergent drawer open when not in use. Also, don’t let laundry sit.

Top-Load Washers

Where Mold Hides: Between the drum and interior walls

What Spawns It: Water and humidity after a load

How to Kill It:

Run the Clean Washer cycle once a month if your washer has one. Otherwise, run a hot water cycle with 3 to 4 cups of vinegar.

Life-Saving Tip: Don’t use too much detergent. Leave the lid open after each use.


Where Mold Hides: Between the door seals (and on neglected food, of course)

What Spawns It: Warm air mixes with moisture and lack of ventilation

How to Kill It:

Spray hydrogen peroxide or vinegar and wipe clean. Use a toothbrush or cotton swab to get into crevices.

Life-Saving Tip: Clean spills immediately and wipe down with vinegar once a month.


Where Mold Hides: The filter, silverware basket, interior panels and door gasket

What Spawns It: Damp food particles left behind after a cycle

How to Kill It:

Scrub the interior and gasket with diluted bleach. Once a week, clean out the gasket and run an empty cycle. Also check the silverware basket and filter.

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