Is There Mold in Your Appliances?

mold near appliance

Mold is a fact of life. If there is moisture there is the potential for mold to develop and that includes within our homes and our appliances. In fact, over 1000 of the 100,000 known species of mold have been found in US homes.

In light of the fact that mold likes to grow in wet places home appliances that use water are more vulnerable than most to mold growth, as are fridges or ice machines where condensation occurs as the warm and cool air meet.

No one wants to have mold growing in their home, and even more so not in appliances used for washing or storing your food. Not only is mold unsightly but it can also have a number of health implications, even more so if you or anyone in your household is sensitive to mold or has pre-existing health conditions such as asthma. In this case, call on a mold removal service ASAP for testing and remediation.

Allergic responses from mold vary from person to person and on the species of mold, but include sinus irritation, irritation in the lungs, headaches, a irritated throat and dry or itchy skin. Sinus and digestive tract infections can also occur by mold spores and are most common for those who have underlying health conditions.

Making sure your appliances remain Keeping your machines mold-free should be a relatively simple process and is important for the health of your household as well as ensuring the integrity of your appliances.

Why Mold Breeds in Home Appliances

Mold is a type of fungus and breeds pretty much anywhere. The places we live offer the perfect conditions for mold growth as many molds thrive in the same temperature range that people like to inhabit. Plus our homes provide moisture and organic matter.

Moisture as well as the fact that many appliances in the home use water is a primary reasons home appliances are sensitive to mold growth, this is made worse by poor and humidity. Not letting home appliances dry properly after use can encourage mold growth, however, drying machines completely can be difficult and mold only needs a small amount of water to grow.

Mold also prefers darkness, making the inside of, or areas behind home appliances are prime spots for mold to grow.

As well as moisture and the right temperature, mold requires a source of food which can be pretty much any form of organic matter from dead skin cells that form dust around our homes and are on our clothes to scraps of food in the bottom of the dishwasher or the food and spills in the fridge.

Keeping mold at bay should be easy enough. You do however need to be aware of the conditions mold needs to grow and not forget to clean hard to reach places on a regular basis.

The Places Mold Grows in Appliances

As mold requires moisture it will grow anywhere water becomes trapped, including door gaskets, filters, drawers and in hidden areas inside your machines.

The following list details a number of machines that are most vulnerable to mold development and where on those machines mold is prone to developing.

Front Loading Washers

Front loading washing machines have an air and watertight door seal that can trap moisture and dirt from clothes and offer the perfect environment for mold to grow. Mold is also often found in detergent drawers.

You can reduce the chance of mold growing by keeping the door and detergent drawer ajar when the machine is not in use.

Top Loading Washer

Top loading machines do not have the same door seals but can develop mold between the drum and the walls of the machine. This hidden mold could go unnoticed as it is harder to spot.

Once again, leaving the washer open between uses can reduce the chances of mold. Following instructions as to the correct quantity of washing powder also makes a difference as washing powder residue provides a food source.

Refrigerators

Refrigerators are also prime spots for mold development especially in the door seals and in hidden corners and crevices. Refrigerators don’t use water in the same way as washing machines and dishwashers, but they are susceptible to condensation and thus moisture.

Regular sanitizing and wiping up any spills as soon as they occur can help to stop mold from growing.

Dishwashers

Bits of food and water left behind at the end of the cycle make dishwashers particularly prone to mold growth. Mold can grow in the filter, the door seal, the cutlery basket and cracks and crevices inside the machine.

Again keeping the door ajar to allow the machine to fully dry can help, as can regularly cleaning the filter and removing any bits of food.

How to Tell If You Have Mold in Your Appliances

In most cases mold will be visible in your home appliances. You should check the door seals routinely for any discoloration, spots or obvious mold proliferation, not forgetting other hidden spots that mold may hide.

As well as visible signs of mold you will often be able to smell it. Musty smelling clothes or a funky smelling fridge are good indicators of mold.

Getting Rid of Mold in Your Appliances

Getting rid of mold in your appliances is usually a fairly straightforward process, the process varies slightly according to the appliance you are dealing with.

When you have removed the mold keeping machines dry and well ventilated will help stop mold from returning, as will a regular cleaning regime.

Front Loading Machines

For front loading washing machines you can clean the door seal and the detergent drawer with either white vinegar or bleach to remove mold and baking soda can be used to remove the smell.

Once you have washed away any visible mold you should run the deep clean cycle on your machine. There are many different appliance cleaners available that can be used when you do this.

You may find you need to repeat this process depending on how much of a mold issue you have.

Top Loading Machines

Top loading machines tend to be less susceptible to mold, but can develop mold in the space between the drum and the inner wall of the machine. Running a deep clean cycle or a hot cycle with either bleach or several cups of white vinegar regularly should remove and prevent mold growth. Run another cycle with baking soda if there is a musty smell.

Refrigerators

Door seals and anywhere else in the fridge that is suffering with mold can be cleaned with white vinegar or a bleach solution. Just make sure you remove any food from the fridge first and sanitize all shelves and drawers at the same time.

Dishwashers

You can buy cleaning products that you can use to get rid of mold inside the machine. The door seals can be cleaned with white vinegar or bleach as above You can also run an empty cycle with a cup of vinegar on the top rack to remove mold.

You should always protect your hands when removing mold and if you are sensitive you might choose to wear extra PPE such as a mask and eye protection or calling in the professionals.

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