Mold is almost impossible to avoid. Any place there is moisture there is the possibility for mold to grow even inside our homes and our appliances. In fact, according to PuriCleanse in Baltimore, over 1000 of the 100,000 known types of mold are known to breed in homes in the United States.
Due to the fact that mold likes to grow in wet environments home appliances that involve the use of water are decidedly sensitive to mold infestation, as are machines where condensation occurs such as refrigerators and ice machines.
The last thing anyone wants is mold taking hold inside, and especially not in machines used for cleaning or storing your food. Mold is both unsightly and can make you unwell, particularly if you have a mold sensitivity or have underlying health conditions such as asthma.
Reactions to mold differ from person to person and on the type of mold, but can include sinus irritation, sneezing, headaches, a sore throat and skin irritations. Sinus and digestive tract infections can also be triggered by mold spores in particular for people with a compromised immune system.
Luckily there are a few simple steps you can take to keep your home free of mold and protect your health and the effectiveness of your appliances.
Mold is a type of fungus and grows just about everywhere. Our houses offer the perfect conditions for mold growth due to the fact that molds prefer the same temperatures that people do. Plus our homes provide moisture and organic matter.
Humidity plus the fact that many machines in the home use water is a key factors that make appliances sensitive to mold proliferation, this is made worse by a lack of and humidity. Not letting home appliances dry thoroughly after use will result in mold growth, but, even if you are doing everything correctly there can still be enough trapped moisture for mold proliferation to occur, often around door seals.
Mold also prefers darkness, meaning the inside of, or areas behind home appliances are perfect hiding places for mold to grow.
As well as moisture and the correct 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 that ends up in the dishwasher or the food we store in the fridge.
Keep your appliances mold free should be easy enough. You do however need to be aware of the conditions mold needs to grow and not forget to clean hidden places on a regular basis.
As mold requires moisture it will grow anywhere water becomes trapped, including door gaskets, filters, drawers and in hidden areas inside your appliances.
Below we look at a number of appliances that are most vulnerable to mold development and where on those appliances mold is most likely to breed.
In a front loading machine, mold will often breed in the door gaskets and the detergent drawer, as dampness gets trapped in these areas between uses.
Keeping the door and drawer ajar between uses will allow the appliance to dry out and help prevent mold growing.
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.
Refrigerators are also very susceptible to mold growth particularly in the door gaskets and in hidden corners and crevices. Fridges 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 is the best place to start to prevent fridge mold.
Bits of food and water left behind at the end of the cycle make dishwashers even more prone to mold growth. Mold can breed in the filter, the door gasket, the cutlery basket and cracks and crevices inside the machine.
Again keeping the door open to allow the machine to fully dry can help, as can routinely clearing out the filter and removing any bits of food.
Generally you will be able to see if you have mold in your home appliances. Regular checking of the door seals for any discoloration, spots or obvious mold proliferation, not forgetting other hidden areas that mold may hide.
You may notice mold due to the smell before you can see it. If your clothes are coming out of the machine smelling musty then it’s likely you have a mold issue.
Getting rid of mold in your appliances is usually a fairly straightforward process, the process varies slightly depending on the machine you are looking at.
When you have dealt with the mold keeping home appliances dry and well ventilated will help stop mold from reappearing, as will regular cleaning and inspection.
Moldy door seals and detergent drawers can be cleaned using either white vinegar or bleach and bicarbonate of soda can be used to get rid of the smell.
Once you have cleaned away any visible mold run the cleaning cycle on your appliance.
This process may need to be repeated depending on how much of a mold issue you have.
Top loading machines don’t have the same issue with the rubber door seal but mold can develop in the gap 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. Repeat with bicarbonate of soda if there is a musty smell.
Door gaskets and anywhere else in the fridge that is suffering with mold can be sanitized with white vinegar or a bleach solution. Ensure you remove any food from the fridge first and sanitize all shelves and drawers as well.
You can buy dishwasher cleaners that can be used to get rid of mold inside your dishwasher and any mold in the door seals can be washed using white vinegar or bleach. Alternatively run an empty cycle with a cup of vinegar on the top rack to remove mold.
You should always protect your hands when getting rid of mold and if you know you are more sensitive you may choose to wear extra PPE or calling in the professionals.
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