Five Tips for Preventing Mold and Mildew in Your Front Loader
By Marilee Nelson |
- Chronic upper respiratory disease
- Emotional disorders
- Hormonal imbalance
- And hyperactivity in children (to name but a few)
Tip #1: Leave your washing machine door open to eliminate one of mold/mildews favorite food sourcesMold and mildew cannot grow in your front loader (or anywhere for that matter) without a food and water source. So, your first step is to remove the moisture from your washer by leaving the door open between washes. This will help your washer dry out and prevent mold from growing in the gasket around the seal of the machine. Easy enough, right?
Tip #2: Let your laundry detergent do double-duty by cleaning your clothes and preventing moldTo accomplish this, we recommend using Branch Basics Concentrate with Oxygen Boost in every wash. Check out the guide to Branch Basics Laundry Instructions to get started. The natural cleaning, disinfecting, and anti-fungal properties of these two cleaners, coupled with leaving that washer door open between washes, will usually prevent mold and mildew from forming. To use:
- Pour 1 scoop of Oxygen Boost directly into the washer drum before adding your clothes
- Add clothes
- Pour 1 capful of Branch Basics Laundry Solution into the dispenser drawer
- Run desired cycle
- Leave the washer door open
Related Reading: How to Toss Your Toxic Laundry Detergent
Tip #3: Outsmart hidden mold by cleaning your washing machine seal and gasketSince front loader washer seals and gasket are particularly prone to mold and mildew, it’s a good idea to clean them once per month. This is especially true for those of us who live in hot, humid climates, or if your washer and dryer are located in a basement. Here’s how to clean your front loader washer seal and gasket:
- Pull back the gasket
- Spray with Branch Basics Bathroom Cleaner liberally
- Let sit a couple of minutes
- Then dip a microfiber or scrubbing brush in hot water and clean the sprayed area under the gasket
- Wipe area and gasket with 3% hydrogen peroxide
- Use a microfiber cloth for the final wipe
Tip #4: Remove scale and detergent residue from your front loader or top loaderDetergent and scale residue are a prime food source for mold, and also put wear and tear on your washer. To prevent mold and extend the life of your front loading or top loading washer, I recommend descaling your washer periodically. And all it takes is a gallon of plain distilled white vinegar and a hot water wash cycle. Here’s how to descale and clean your front loading washer with vinegar in one easy step:
- Run a gallon of white distilled vinegar through a full hot water washing cycle in any empty washer without detergent.
- Fill with hot water, add a gallon of vinegar, and run for 10 minutes
- Turn off the washer and let the solution stand overnight
- In the morning, run your washer through a complete cycle
- This will also help remove any mold that has infiltrated the drum
Tip #5: clean established or stubborn mold/mildew from your front loaderFollow tip 4 (above). Next, spray drum and seal with distilled white vinegar*, wait 5 minutes, scrub, and wipe with a damp microfiber cloth. Follow the same procedure with 3% hydrogen peroxide. If necessary, repeat entire process until no mold issue remains. Going forward, if you leave your washer door open and follow the tips above, you should not need to repeat this step again. Why use vinegar and hydrogen peroxide together? Because they’re the most effective, least-toxic disinfectants available. In fact, studies have shown that vinegar and 3% hydrogen peroxide used one after the other (in separate bottles) are more effective at killing germs than chlorine bleach or any commercially available kitchen cleaner,,,. We use them together because vinegar is good at killing some germs and hydrogen peroxide is better at killing others. Again, be sure to store them in separate bottles, as combining them into one solution creates harmful fumes. *NOTE: Vinegar contains acetic acid which is a known lung irritant. Hold your breath when spraying vinegar and walk away during the five minute waiting time to let the fumes from the vinegar dissipate. If you have a window in your laundry room open it.
Bonus Tip: Washing Machine Mold can be prevented by Ditching conventional fabric softener
The ingredients in conventional fabric softeners are not only toxic to your health, but their sticky, slippery residue is like an all-you-can-eat buffet for mold and mildew. As a non-toxic, mold-free alternative we recommend 100% wool dryer balls which naturally soften all types of clothing without leaving any toxic residue. To recap how to clean and prevent mold and mildew in your front loader:
- Leave your washer door open between cycles
- Use Branch Basics Concentrate and Oxygen Boost with every load
- Clean your seal and gasket once per month
- Remove scale and detergent residues using distilled white vinegar
- For really dirty washers, do the added step of spraying distilled white vinegar and peroxide until all the mold is gone
- Opt for natural wool dryer balls instead of conventional fabric softener.
- Follow these tips, and you’ll enjoy squeaky clean, mold-free, toxin-free laundry (and longer lasting appliances) from now on. Happy front-loader cleansing!
Marilee Nelson is an Environmental Toxins expert who has spent nearly 30 years advocating for the chemically-sensitive and chronically-ill. She is a Board Certified Nutritionist, Certified Bau-Biologist and Bau-Biology Inspector and specializes in Food As Medicine. She has helped thousands of families and individuals identify, heal and recover from toxic exposures and is on a mission to revolutionize the way American families view their health.