Is There Mold in Your Appliances?

Mold is almost impossible to avoid. If there is moisture mold can grow and that includes inside our houses and our home appliances. All in all, of the over 100,000 known species of mold over 1000 of them have been found in homes in the United States.

Because mold likes to breed in damp places machines that involve the use of water are more susceptible than most to mold, as are fridges or ice machines where condensation occurs as the warm and cool air meet.

No one wants to have mold taking hold in their house, and especially not in appliances used for washing or food storage. Not only is mold unattractive but it can also make you unwell, especially if you or anyone in your household is sensitive to mold or has pre-existing health conditions such as asthma.

Allergic responses can range from mild to severe depending on the type of mold and how sensitive you are, but can include a runny nose, sneezing, migraine, a tickly throat and skin irritations. Infections can also be triggered by mold especially for people with underlying health conditions.

Keeping your home appliances mold-free is fairly straightforward and is important for the health of your household as well as ensuring the integrity of your home appliances. Below, the experts from Pure Maintenance of Central Illinois share some information on why mold grows in appliances and how to prevent it. We recommend their mold remediation and mold removal services for all customers in Champaign, IL and around the area.

Why Mold Breeds in Home Appliances

Mold is naturally occurring and grows pretty much everywhere. Our homes provide an ideal environment for mold proliferation due to the fact that molds prefer the same temperatures that people do. As well as the perfect temperature, our houses provide moisture and a source of food.

Humidity and the fact that many machines in the home use water is a key reasons home appliances are sensitive to mold proliferation, this is made worse by inadequate and high levels of humidity. If home appliances are not able to completely dry out after use will result in mold growth, but, drying machines completely can be difficult and mold only needs a small amount of water to proliferate.

Mold often grows in dark places, meaning the the areas inside or behind machines are ideal hiding places for mold to breed.

As well as moisture and the right temperature, mold needs organic matter for food which could be anything 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.

Keep your appliances mold free should be easy enough but requires being aware of the conditions mold requires to develop and making sure you clean hidden and hard to reach areas regularly.

Where Mold Develops in Appliances

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

Below we look at some of the home appliances that are most susceptible to mold proliferation and where on those home appliances mold is most likely to develop.

Front Loading Washers

In a front loading washing machine, mold will usually breed in the door seals and the detergent drawer, as moisture gets trapped in these areas between uses.

You can reduce the risk of mold taking hold by keeping the door and detergent drawer ajar when the appliance is not being used.

Top Loading Washer

Top loading washers 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 see.

Once again, keeping the washer open between uses can reduce the chances of mold. Ensuring you use the correct quantity of washing powder, not too much, can also make a difference.


Fridges are also prime spots for mold growth especially in the door seals and in hidden corners and crevices. While refrigerators do not use water in the same way washing machines do they are susceptible to condensation and thus moisture.

Keeping your refrigerator sanitized can help to prevent fridge mold.


Bits of food and water left behind at the end of the cycle make dishwashers especially prone to mold development. Mold can grow in the filter, the door seal, the silverware basket and the interior walls.

Ensuring any remaining water can evaporate by leaving the door ajar and clearing out the filter can help discourage mold.

How to Tell If You Have Mold in Your Appliances

In most cases mold will be visible in your home appliances. Regular checking of the door seals for any discoloration, spots or obvious mold proliferation is good practice, as well as any other 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 Home Appliances

If you notice mold in your home appliances don’t worry, removing mold is simple enough and will vary slightly depending on the appliance you are dealing with.

Once you have dealt with the mold keeping appliances dry and well ventilated will help prevent mold from reappearing, as will a regular cleaning regime.

Front Loading Machines

Moldy door gaskets and detergent drawers can be cleaned using either white vinegar or bleach and use bicarbonate of soda mixed to a paste with water to get rid of any lingering musty smells.

Once you have washed away any visible mold run the cleaning cycle on your appliance. There are plenty of appliance cleaners available that can be used when you do this.

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

Top Loading Machines

Top loading washing machines tend to be less prone to mold, but can develop mold in the area between the drum and the inner wall of the machine. To remove the mold you can run the deep clean cycle or a hot wash with either bleach or several cups of white vinegar. Run another cycle with baking soda if there is a musty smell.


Door gaskets and other moldy places can be cleaned with white vinegar or a bleach solution. Ensure you remove any food from the fridge first and clean all shelves and drawers as well.


You can buy dishwasher cleaners that can be used to get rid of mold within the machine and any mold in the door seals can be scrubbed using white vinegar or bleach. You can also place a cup of vinegar on the top rack and run an otherwise empty cycle at the highest temperature to remove mold.

It is important to protect your hands when dealing with mold and if you know you are more sensitive you might wish to consider additional PPE such as a mask and eye protection or calling in the professionals.