Mold is a fact of life. Any place moisture can be found there is the potential for mold to grow and that includes inside our homes and our appliances. Actually, according to PuriCleanse, a local mold remediation company in Maryland, over 1000 of the 100,000 known species of mold have been found in US homes.
Due to the fact that mold likes to breed in moist places machines that use water are decidedly vulnerable to mold, as are home appliances where condensation occurs such as refrigerators and ice machines.
No one wants to have mold taking hold in their home, and especially not in appliances used for washing or food storage. Not only is mold unsightly but it can also make you unwell, even more so if you have a mold sensitivity or have underlying health conditions including asthma.
Mold allergies can range from mild to severe depending on the type of mold and how sensitive you are, but include a runny nose, coughing, migraine, a tickly throat and a rash. Infections can also be caused by mold in particular for people with underlying health conditions.
Luckily there are a few simple steps you can take to keep your house free of mold and protect your health and the effectiveness of your appliances.
Mold is a type of fungus and develops pretty much anywhere. Our houses provide the perfect conditions for mold proliferation due to the fact that molds prefer the same temperatures that people do. Plus our homes provide dampness and a source of food.
The fact that many home appliances use water and create moisture is a key factors that make home appliances vulnerable to mold development, made worse by a lack of and humidity. If machines are not able to completely dry out after use may result in mold proliferation, but, even if you are doing everything right mold only needs a small amount of moisture to take hold.
Mold also prefers darkness, making the inside of, or areas behind machines are ideal hiding places for mold to develop.
Finally, 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 that ends up in the dishwasher or the food and spills in the fridge.
Keeping mold at bay should be easy enough but requires being aware of the conditions mold requires to grow and making sure you clean hidden and hard to reach areas regularly.
As mentioned above mold breeds anywhere there is moisture, and in the case of home appliances this often means anywhere dampness becomes trapped and cannot fully dry out between uses.
The following list looks at a number of appliances that are most sensitive to mold growth and where mold is most likely to breed.
In a front loading machine, mold will usually breed in the door seals and the detergent drawer, as moisture gets trapped in these areas between uses.
You can limit the chance of mold taking hold by leaving the door and detergent drawer open when the machine is not in use.
In a top Loading washing machine, mold will often breed inside the machine between the drum and the inner wall. This hidden mold could go unnoticed as it is harder to spot.
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 very susceptible to mold proliferation especially in the door seals and in hidden corners and crevices. While refrigerators do not use water in the same way washing machines do the temperature difference between the warm outside air and the cool air within causes condensation to form.
Keeping your refrigerator clean can help to stop mold from growing.
Bits of food and water left behind at the end of the cycle make dishwashers particularly prone to mold development. With dishwashers, mold can develop in the filter, the door gasket, the cutlery basket and the interior walls.
Again keeping the door ajar to allow moisture to evaporate can help, as can regularly washing the filter and removing any bits of food.
In most cases you will be able to see if you have mold in your appliances. Routine checking of the door seals for any discoloration, spots or obvious mold development, as well as any other spots that mold may hide.
You may be able to detect mold by smell before it is visible. If your clothes are coming out of the machine smelling musty then there’s a good chance you have mold taking hold in your washing machine that needs sorting out.
Removing mold in your machines is usually a fairly straightforward process and will vary slightly depending on the machine you are dealing with.
When you have dealt with the mold keeping appliances dry and well ventilated will help prevent mold from returning, as will regular cleaning and inspection.
You can remove the mold from door gaskets and washing powder drawers 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.
When you have done this run the deep clean cycle on your appliance.
This process may need to be repeated depending on how much of a mold issue you have.
Top loading washing machines tend to be less susceptible to mold, but can develop mold in the gap 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. Repeat with bicarbonate of soda if there is a lingering smell.
Fridge 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 wash all shelves and drawers as well.
You can buy appliance cleaners that can be used to get rid of mold within the machine. The door gaskets can be cleaned with white vinegar or bleach as above You can also place a cup of vinegar on the top rack and run an otherwise empty cycle at the highest temperature to get rid of mold.
It is important to use gloves when dealing with mold and if you are sensitive you might wish to wear further PPE or calling in the professionals.
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