Is There Mold in Your Appliances?

refrigerator mold

Mold lives everywhere. If there is moisture mold can grow including inside our homes and our home appliances. Actually, according to PuriCleanse, over 1000 of the 100,000 known types of mold have been found in US homes.

In light of the fact that mold likes to develop in wet environments machines that involve the use of water are especially sensitive to mold growth, as are appliances where condensation occurs such as refrigerators and ice machines.

No one wants to have mold taking hold in their house, and even more so not in machines used for cleaning or storing your food. Mold is both unsightly and can have health implications, particularly if you or anyone in your household is sensitive to mold or has underlying health conditions including asthma.

Allergic responses from mold can range from mild to severe depending on the type of mold and your level of sensitivity, but can include a blocked nose, coughing, migraine, an irritated throat and dry or itchy skin. Sinus and digestive tract infections can also be caused by mold and are most common for those who have underlying health conditions.

Making sure your machines remain Keeping your home appliances mold-free should be a relatively simple process and is important for the health of your household as well as ensuring the effectiveness of your machines.

Why Mold Grows in Appliances

Mold is a type of fungus and breeds just about anywhere. The places we live provide an ideal environment for mold proliferation as many molds thrive in the same temperature range that people like to inhabit. As well as the perfect temperature, our homes provide water and organic matter.

Moisture plus the fact that many appliances in the home use water is a key factors that make home appliances susceptible to mold growth, this is made worse by inadequate and high levels of humidity. If appliances are not able to dry properly after use can lead to mold proliferation, however, even if you are doing everything right mold only needs a small amount of water to proliferate.

Mold often takes hold in dark places, making the inside of, or areas behind machines are prime spots for mold to grow.

Finally, mold requires organic matter for food which could be anything from dead skin cells that form dust around our homes and are on our clothes to leftover food in the bottom of the dishwasher or the food and spills in the fridge.

Preventing mold is a fairly simple task but requires being aware of the conditions mold requires to develop and making sure you don’t forget the hard to reach places.

Where Mold Develops in Appliances

As mentioned above mold breeds pretty much anywhere there is dampness, and in the case of machines this often means anywhere moisture becomes trapped and cannot fully dry out between uses.

The following list looks at a number of home appliances that are most susceptible to mold proliferation and where on those home appliances mold is most likely to grow.

Front Loading Washers

Front loading machines have an air and watertight door seal that can trap moisture and dirt from clothes and offer the ideal conditions for mold to grow. Mold is also often found in detergent drawers.

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

Top Loading Washer

In a top Loading washing machine, mold will often grow between the drum and the walls of the machine. This hidden mold could go unnoticed as it is harder to spot.

Again, keeping the washer ajar between uses can help the machine dry fully between uses. Making sure you use the right amount of washing powder, not too much, can also make a difference.


Refrigerators are also very susceptible to mold development especially in the door gaskets and in hidden corners and crevices. Fridges don’t use water in the same way as other home appliances, but the temperature difference between the warm outside air and the cool inside air causes condensation to form.

Keeping your fridge sanitized is the best place to start to stop mold from growing.


Dishwashers not only have a ready supply of water but also plenty of food. With dishwashers, mold can breed in the filter, the door seal, the silverware basket and the interior walls.

Again keeping the door open to allow the machine to fully dry can help, as can routinely washing the filter and removing any bits of food.

How to Tell If You Have Mold in Your Appliances

Generally mold will be visible in your home appliances. Routine checking of the door seals for any discoloration, spots or obvious mold proliferation, not forgetting other hidden areas that mold could be lurking.

As well as visible signs of mold you will often be able to smell it. If your clean clothes are smelling musty then it’s likely you have a mold issue.

How to Get Rid of Mold in Your Appliances

Removing mold in your home appliances is usually a fairly straightforward process, the process varies slightly depending on the machine you are dealing with.

When the mold has been dealt with keeping appliances dry and well ventilated will help stop mold from reappearing, as will a regular cleaning regime.

Front Loading Machines

For front loading washing machines you can clean the door seal and the detergent drawer with either white vinegar or bleach to get rid of mold and baking soda can be used to get rid of the smell.

When you have done this you should run the cleaning cycle on your appliance.

This process may need to be repeated depending on the severity of the issue.

Top Loading Machines

Top loading machines don’t have the same issue with the rubber door seal but mold can grow 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 baking soda if there is a lingering smell.


Door gaskets and anywhere else in the fridge that is suffering with mold can be sanitized with white vinegar or a bleach solution. Just make sure you remove any food from the fridge first and sanitize all shelves and drawers as well.


You can buy cleaning products that can be used to get rid of mold within your dishwasher. The door seals 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.

You should always use gloves when dealing with mold and if you are sensitive you may choose to wear additional PPE or calling in the professionals.