Why Does Mold and Odor Problems Develop Inside Clothes Washers?

Posted by AU Publisher on 14th Feb 2014

Mold and odor problems develop inside clothes washers and dryers when a lot of detergent and/or fabric softener is used. That makes sense. The thick material in the detergent / fabric softener sticks to the walls of the plumbing. These are organic, soapy/oily materials. The film coating they deposit provides a base for the mold, mildew, and bacteria. Use the recommended amount of laundry detergent for the size of the load, to reduce soap scum buildup in the machine. Soap is made from tallow-animal fats, which is slimy and sticky, and can become an environment for growing mold.

Beyond that, tiny bits of fibers from linen, wool, cotton, and flax are also embedded in the film. Also, any other particles from “barnyard” materials to spaghetti sauce can contribute to the items that naturally decay, and feed the things that cause the smell. The decay is also boosted by damp conditions.


When cloth diapers are used, and washed without rinsing first, guess what is left in the bottom of the washer? FIY-washers have an outer tub and inner tub; the inner tub is what you see, and put your clothing in, the outer tub is what the inner tub sits inside. That's right, the outer tub becomes the outhouse. Thank God for disposable diapers! 

The decay causes the odors.

The film on the damp surfaces of the machine provides a giant "Petri Dish" to grow things! Odor can come from mold, mildew and other fungus, or bacterial slime growth, depending on what is trapped in the film.

There are cases where a machine was used for years without problems. Then, it was moved to a new house with heated flooring and the odor bloomed. The "Petri dish" was put into an incubator!

OK, .....Let’s think about this. There will always be detergent and organic residue food for the nasties.

      Also, ...... there will always be mold and mildew spores in the air. You can’t fight Mother Nature..

That means ...... the growth cannot be kept out of the machine ...

      So, ...... it must be controlled in some way.

       TechnoFresh® ... it works so good that damp laundry can sit for 48 hours without smell problems!

There are two means of controlling the growth.

1. Periodically, shock the machine to destroy the cells of the mold and bacteria slime organisms by using harsh chemicals and flush them out of the machine.  TechnoFresh® gets results!


A. Use white vinegar to kill the mold and mildew, dissolve detergent buildup, and freshen your washing machine. Be aware that the smell of vinegar can stay in clothing. Other different cleaning solutions are: hydrogen peroxide, bleach or WD-40.

B. Fill a spray bottle with  hydrogen perxide, and spray it on the moldy gasket. Leave the spray on for five minutes. Wipe off the mold with a dry cloth. Wipe the gasket with a damp cloth to remove the hydrogen perxide.

C. Pour one part  bleach and two parts water into a spray bottle. Spray the solution on the moldy gasket, and allow it to set for five minutes. Wipe away the mold with a dry cloth. Wipe the gasket with a wet cloth to remove the bleach. Run a bleach cycle through the machine now that the door and soap dispenser are clean. Pour bleach in all parts of the dispenser and pour 1 to 2 cups in the machine itself. Set the water temperature to ho,t and use the longest cycle you have. This kills the mold and mildew that is in your dispenser, and in the basket of the machine.

D. Wipe down the inside of the washing machine with straight ammmonia , and the machine door with a cloth dipped in ammonia, which kills mold on contact. Leave the door open, allowing the inside of the machine to air-dry quickly. If mold does not have moisture, it can't grow. You can also keep moisture down if you run a dehumidifier in damp basements.

E. Spray WD-40 on the mold, and let it sit for five minutes. Wipe off the mold with a dry cloth. Clean off the WD-40 with a damp cloth.

F. Maintain your machine by using a specially formulated washing machine cleaner from the manufactorers every month or every other month. Some machines have a clean or sanitary cycle that should be used with bleach for maintenance. Whirlpool sells Affresh tablets as a way to clean washer residue and mold. Sears warns against using non-HE detergents, cleaners that could create conditions for mold growth. And LG recommends that once or twice a month you run a special hot cycle to which you add bleach to clean the washer.

G. When the door is left closed after use, the moisture stays even longer, creating an environment where mold can thrive. If you can't remember to simply leave the washer door open between uses, there are several products you can use periodically as suggested above to kill mold and prevent it from coming back.

H. Deodorize the machine from vinegar and chemical vapors by running a third cycle of water to flush the machine before use.

All these methods are basic shock treatment methods. Try TechnoFresh® ... it works.


Since the growth will always come back, you need to time the period between shocks correctly.

2. Kill existing growth and then week-after-week control smells by contaminating the residue film so it will be difficult if not impossible for the nasties to grow on it.

  • If the problem of mildew on the door's rubber gasket is not addressed early on, mildew will continue to form on the gasket, and on other unseen parts, eventually moving into door parts, and requiring expensive replacements.

The above Method #1 is burdensome, and does not always work.

Above all, use a mild cleaning solution that will work with method #2 without damaging clothes, washers, plumbing or the environment.

TechnoFresh® formula is safe enough to be used regularly, but effective enough to control the odor. 

Mildew Smell in your Dryer?

Most likely, the mildew causing materials must be carrying over from the washer. That means the problem in the washer is much worse than assumed. The dryer vent or house ducting line,alternatively, could be partially plugged and needs to be cleaned out to allow the machine to work correctly. Try cleaning it out with a leaf blower, first from inside of the house, placing a bag over the vent, then proceed to blow it out from the outside.

The washer might need multiple shock treatments to clear it out. The same with the dryer, large loads of drying towels or rags, run for as long as the timer allows, and as hot as the settings allow, to raise the machine's temperature as high as possible. This will dry out any nooks or crannies where the stuff could be caught. By now, most of the mildew material will loosen, and blow out of the machine. Anything not knocked loose will most likely stick to the surface, and not cause as much of a problem.

The above example seems to indicate that the number of loads per week decreased dramatically, and caused the problem to surface in the washer. Apparently it carried over to the dryer.

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