Author Topic: Just bought house - moldy dishwasher & washing machine  (Read 1819 times)

meadow lark

  • CM*MW 2023 Attendees
  • Walrus Stache
  • *
  • Posts: 8080
  • Location: Louisiana
Just bought house - moldy dishwasher & washing machine
« on: May 16, 2023, 08:46:54 PM »
Hello!  Just moved in and realized both the dishwasher and front loading washer smell moldy.  My wife wants new appliances, I am trying to clean them with bleach (as I write this!). The washer has obvious mold on the rubber gasket around the door opening.  Should I try to buy a new gasket for the washer and continue my assault with the toothbrush or just accept they are a loss?

nereo

  • Senior Mustachian
  • ********
  • Posts: 17782
  • Location: Just south of Canada
    • Here's how you can support science today:
Re: Just bought house - moldy dishwasher & washing machine
« Reply #1 on: May 17, 2023, 04:26:51 AM »
Clean them. Donít toss perfectly functional large appliances because they are dirty - mold can be killed and removed with a bit of effort.

Might as well light a stack of $20 dollar bills and use it to burn a small pile of coal if your decision is to toss them for something new. 

LD_TAndK

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 363
Re: Just bought house - moldy dishwasher & washing machine
« Reply #2 on: May 17, 2023, 05:37:40 AM »
New appliances will gather mold just as fast. Even the gasket is not worth replacing, unless it is degraded.

I'm in a constant battle with dishwasher & washing machine mold myself. I leave the doors ajar between cycles which does the most good. I'll also occasionally scrub the mold off, run a cycle with a cleaning product, and turn water heating as high as possible.

meadow lark

  • CM*MW 2023 Attendees
  • Walrus Stache
  • *
  • Posts: 8080
  • Location: Louisiana
Re: Just bought house - moldy dishwasher & washing machine
« Reply #3 on: May 17, 2023, 06:03:24 AM »
Okay, thank you.  Iíll try to save them.

ChickenStash

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 600
  • Location: Midwest US
Re: Just bought house - moldy dishwasher & washing machine
« Reply #4 on: May 17, 2023, 07:30:24 AM »
Also, check to make sure the drain pumps are working right and any filters aren't clogged. That would allow water to stay behind and make any mold problems worse.

lhamo

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 3293
  • Location: Seattle
Re: Just bought house - moldy dishwasher & washing machine
« Reply #5 on: May 17, 2023, 09:03:05 AM »
Not sure what the active ingredients are (probably something cheap like baking soda and some kind of acid) but there are little tablets under the brand affresh that you can throw in regularly to clean out such appliances.  I have found that we get much less mold/mildew on the gasket since I started using those a couple of times a year.  I also am doing a better job about draining/cleaning the filters regularly.

K_in_the_kitchen

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 679
Re: Just bought house - moldy dishwasher & washing machine
« Reply #6 on: May 17, 2023, 02:27:56 PM »
I find the easiest ways to banish mold/mildew from the front loading washer is to leave the door open after using it, and to occasionally run a good sized load of towels on hot with bleach.  Honestly, now that I always wash towels on hot I have far less mold/mildew, even without running bleach loads, as long as I leave the door open until the machine/door/seals are all dry.  I understand the savings of running loads on cold, but from a practical perspective, that isn't going to help the washer stay clean.

Also, some machines have a small filter that needs to be cleaned out, and if we miss getting that done regularly the machine will start to smell.  Cleaning is part of the upkeep of these machines -- just yesterday I cleaned the washer door and the seal.

I've never had mold in my dishwasher, but I do know that there are also filters and screens in them that need regular cleaning.  We aren't great about it but DH gets it done every couple of months or so.

sonofsven

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 2171
Re: Just bought house - moldy dishwasher & washing machine
« Reply #7 on: May 17, 2023, 05:12:52 PM »
I also learned to leave the door open on my front load washer . After you clean it run an empty load with bleach on hot.

Shinplaster

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1722
  • Location: up in Canada complaining about the weather
Re: Just bought house - moldy dishwasher & washing machine
« Reply #8 on: May 17, 2023, 06:58:40 PM »
Not sure what the active ingredients are (probably something cheap like baking soda and some kind of acid) but there are little tablets under the brand affresh that you can throw in regularly to clean out such appliances.  I have found that we get much less mold/mildew on the gasket since I started using those a couple of times a year.  I also am doing a better job about draining/cleaning the filters regularly.

I'll second using Affresh.   We inherited a front load washer when we moved into current house.   It smelled funky from day one, and nothing I did seemed to help much.   I tried bleach, vinegar, hand cleaning the gasket, cheap cleaning tablets from Amazon, etc.   It would be somewhat better, but always still had an odor.   I finally bought a pack of Affresh, and it's made a huge difference.   I ran a cleaning cycle weekly for 3 weeks, and now I do it every couple of months.   In the future I may just buy a package of citric acid and throw a bit in a cleaning cycle every now and then if I don't want to pay for the convenience of Affresh (I believe that is one of the ingredients in the tablets). I also keep an old tea towel handy - when the load is finished, I hang that over the door so it cannot close.   That also cuts down on the mold.

Also yes on cleaning the filter.   I found actual stones and bits of wood, etc. in there the first time I did it.  Also a lot of jellied slime, which I assume was old detergent or fabric softener.   It was gross, and smelled like sulphur.

meadow lark

  • CM*MW 2023 Attendees
  • Walrus Stache
  • *
  • Posts: 8080
  • Location: Louisiana
Re: Just bought house - moldy dishwasher & washing machine
« Reply #9 on: May 18, 2023, 05:42:52 AM »
Okay, need to clean the filter.
Everyone, thanks for your suggestions!  The Affresh is ordered.

merula

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1636
Re: Just bought house - moldy dishwasher & washing machine
« Reply #10 on: May 18, 2023, 07:39:23 AM »
This sounds weird, especially since I saw it on a cleaning instagram, but I've seen other people say it works. After you clean everything out with bleach or whatever, crumple up a bunch of newspaper and stuff it full, then close the door leave it for 12-25 hours.

They did it with a chest freezer that was turned off and closed, so it seems like it would also work on other sealed appliances. And hey, if it doesn't work, you're only out some old newspaper and a bit of time.

yachi

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1169
Re: Just bought house - moldy dishwasher & washing machine
« Reply #11 on: May 18, 2023, 08:06:37 AM »
Not sure what the active ingredients are (probably something cheap like baking soda and some kind of acid) but there are little tablets under the brand affresh that you can throw in regularly to clean out such appliances.  I have found that we get much less mold/mildew on the gasket since I started using those a couple of times a year.  I also am doing a better job about draining/cleaning the filters regularly.

In the future I may just buy a package of citric acid and throw a bit in a cleaning cycle every now and then if I don't want to pay for the convenience of Affresh (I believe that is one of the ingredients in the tablets).

I bought some of this from the canning section ages ago.  I used it to rescue a Keurig from my old job, and I add a bit to the diswasher from time to time.  For me, it removes the white mineral buildup.  My dishwasher holds a bit of water between cycles.  It's normal and used to keep seals lubricated, but in the summer will makes the dishes smell.  So part of my summer procedure is to add a quarter cup or so of bleach (chlorine) after a cycle.  I take care not to add the chlorine and the citric acid at the time since that releases the chlorine as harmful chlorine gas.  So a bit of chlorine after a cycle, and a tablespoon or so of powdered citric acid before a cycle.

FireLane

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1395
  • Age: 42
  • Location: NYC
Re: Just bought house - moldy dishwasher & washing machine
« Reply #12 on: May 20, 2023, 07:02:33 AM »
I have a front-loading washer that's started to stink of mildew. I cleaned the rubber seals around the door, and I've also started leaving the door open in between washes. That helps cut down the smell, but it's still there.

Thanks for the recommendations for Affresh. I'm going to try that.

TomTX

  • Walrus Stache
  • *******
  • Posts: 5345
  • Location: Texas
Re: Just bought house - moldy dishwasher & washing machine
« Reply #13 on: May 20, 2023, 09:42:47 AM »
I am also a recent fan of Affresh!

ohsnap

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 330
Re: Just bought house - moldy dishwasher & washing machine
« Reply #14 on: May 22, 2023, 03:04:18 PM »
Several posters recommend leaving the door to the front loader open. I have a washer that's 14 months old and have gone a couple steps farther based on research I did before purchase (and past bad experiences!): after every wash (unless I'm immediately tossing another load in) I remove the detergent drawer and shake the water off of it into the sink and put in on top of the washer to completely dry. It looks brand new - no buildup of detergent or crud or mold like I saw in a machine at a house we rented.  I also keep a clean dishtowel on top of the washer that I use to wipe off the glass part of the door and the rubber gasket. (glass doors on previous machines have gotten grungy). I know it's only 14 months old but it really does look like a new machine inside & out, and it only takes a minute to do the above.

I don't use Affresh - the manual suggest I can use bleach instead, so I do that about every 2 months.

Good luck cleaning your existing washer!

ohsnap

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 330
Re: Just bought house - moldy dishwasher & washing machine
« Reply #15 on: May 22, 2023, 03:11:01 PM »

I bought some of this from the canning section ages ago.  I used it to rescue a Keurig from my old job, and I add a bit to the diswasher from time to time.  For me, it removes the white mineral buildup.  My dishwasher holds a bit of water between cycles.  It's normal and used to keep seals lubricated, but in the summer will makes the dishes smell.  So part of my summer procedure is to add a quarter cup or so of bleach (chlorine) after a cycle.  I take care not to add the chlorine and the citric acid at the time since that releases the chlorine as harmful chlorine gas.  So a bit of chlorine after a cycle, and a tablespoon or so of powdered citric acid before a cycle.

I use citric acid, also, in my dishwasher. I bought Dezcal to clean my espresso machine but since then realized it's a much cheaper alternative to dishwasher cleaning tablets with similar active ingredients. I run an empty cycle every month or two because I'm nervous about what it might do to my dishes, though.

Dreamer40

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 360
  • Location: Portland, OR
Re: Just bought house - moldy dishwasher & washing machine
« Reply #16 on: May 22, 2023, 04:18:26 PM »
This is pretty common after buying a house. My washing machine stunk because it was closed up and unused for like 2 months while the prior owners moved out and the sale went through. But it was fine after a few loads and some cleaning. You can also replace just the smelly parts if all the cleaning tips above donít do the job.

Newday

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 50
Re: Just bought house - moldy dishwasher & washing machine
« Reply #17 on: June 06, 2023, 12:44:09 PM »
This is pretty common after buying a house. My washing machine stunk because it was closed up and unused for like 2 months while the prior owners moved out and the sale went through. But it was fine after a few loads and some cleaning. You can also replace just the smelly parts if all the cleaning tips above donít do the job.

This is what happened to us as well. The house sat for few months unused, and the first time we ran, we wondered why the clothes came out dirty until we realized it's the damn mold.. we had to run it multiple times in hot cycle with washing soda, baking soda vinegar ,.. etc and in a few runs, it was clean as new.

So yes, mold in washing machine is very common and easy to fix.

And yes, we do leave it open every single time we run it.

 

Wow, a phone plan for fifteen bucks!