Asked on Jan 24, 2014

Mouldy Washing Machine.

Taylor Holsten
by Taylor Holsten
My Samsung washing machine's door gasket happens to have a build up of brownish mould and I have no idea how to get rid of it! I've already tried bleach. I really hate doing the laundry while the machine's like this, nothing ever feels truly clean and I think it could be a health concern. Can somebody please help?
q mouldy washing machine, appliances, cleaning tips
  21 answers
  • Buttonjo Buttonjo on Jan 24, 2014
    Taylor, I have the same problem with my original Neptune washer. There was a recall and they replaced the door and tub rim years ago, but it returned. Definitely was never fixed properly and probably a design flaw. I've never been able to remove it. We're in the same boat. Jolene

  • B B on Jan 24, 2014
    I have that problem too with a Neptune washer. I did clean it and now leave the door open. I loosen the light, so it wouldn't burn out and can easily tighten if if I need to see it.

    • Gladys Gladys on Aug 04, 2014
      @B Instead of loosening the light all I do is unplug the washer and leave the door open. We installed our wall plug up high so it's right up by where we turn the water on also. I also have the Neptune and did not know about the recall until it was too late, so have just lived with it, but I hate using it and having to clean out all of the black "crud" it leaves down in the door area around and in the rubber part. I also get black greasy stuff in my fabric softener/bleach tray, and have to clean it out really well.

  • Shari Shari on Jan 24, 2014
    This is a subject I am passionate (and very opinionated) about. It comes up periodically here on Home Talk and I always try to chime in with my 2 cents. Rather than point you back to one of the posts where I commented and have you search through all the comments to find my response, I have copied and pasted it here for your convenience. I hope it helps you. This all-too-common complaint of front load washers developing mold, mildew and funky smells is what made me procrastinate almost 2 years before I finally broke down and bought a FL washer. In the meantime, I did a ton of research and now I am making it my mission in life to spread the word about what I believe is the major cause of all these front load washers developing mold/mildew, based on that research. Do you use liquid laundry soap and/or liquid fabric softener? It is my opinion that front load washer owners should never, EVER use liquid laundry products in their washers. From everything I have read, liquid laundry products (liquid soaps AND fabric softeners) seem to play a major role in contributing to the smelly FL washer problems. Apparently, the oils these liquid products contain are not adequately washed away because of the energy-saving low water levels. The oily film left behind on the washer's internal parts is thought to be enough to trap moisture and in turn, cause mold and mildew and unpleasant smells that can even permeate your clothes. Too much of any soap, even powder, can add to the problem. I only use 1-2 tablespoons of powdered laundry soap per load. For over a year, I have been using a homemade powdered recipe I got from this blogger ( ) She wrote an eye-opening post on how her smelly washer problem actually went away after she switched from liquid soap to a homemade powdered version. Recently, I had an appliance repairman come out about my refrigerator. He was using my laundry room door to go back and forth to his truck. When he was leaving, he stopped in the laundry room and asked me about my front load washer, what kind and how much soap I was using, and whether I had experienced any mold/mildew problems. I told him my theory about liquid soaps and fabric softeners and he confirmed I was right. (He also said he can always tell when someone uses liquid dishwasher soap in their dishwasher because it leaves a sticky film.) One other thing he said about the front load washers that I had not really thought about was using primarily cold water washes contributes to the mold/mildew problem. For years, it has been drummed into our heads that we should only use energy efficient cold water washes but the truth is, front load washers actually need at least a few warm, but preferably hot water loads every week. Quite coincidentally, ever since I got my FL washer, all my laundry has been done in warm or hot water, and I use the steam feature my washer has on all towels, bed linens and my husband's dirty work clothes. I also use bleach in at least 2 loads per week. Additionally, I never leave wet clothes in the washer. Whenever I think about it, I check the folds of the gasket for hair, threads, lint or anything that can possibly trap moisture. After I finish doing laundry, I don't generally bother to wipe the door seal/gasket dry but I do always leave the washer door wide open (not just cracked) and I open the detergent dispenser so it can dry out too. If you have mold on the gasket, you likely also have it on the internal parts of the machine that you cannot see. During my research, I came across a site that sells a little washer fan that easily installs on the back air vent of your washer. It circulates air through the interior to dry it out. Watch the videos on their site to see how the washer fan can help eliminate mold/mildew that is already in your machine. (I have no affiliation with this company--I've just read good reviews about the product.) Currently, I don't have a problem with mold/mildew but if I ever see (or smell) any indication of it, you can bet I will be purchasing one of these water fans pronto! Here's the link:

  • Colleen Colleen on Jan 24, 2014
    When I first started to smell mold, I ran the machine (empty) with bleach, when it finished its complete cycle I keep the door open. In fact with the door opening towards the wall I stuck hook and loop tapes on the wall and door (this kept the door from closing). Problem solved.

  • Jeanette S Jeanette S on Jan 25, 2014
    Folks, there is actually NO cure for this problem. You have to clean the machine every month with bleach...mine actually has a "CLEAN" cycle! And leave the door open all the time! It burns me up every time I have to use this...thank you Al Gore for your SCAM on the world! These things look so "smart" in the store and like crap at home! I absolutely hate this washer and hate my dishwasher!

    • Shari Shari on Jan 25, 2014
      @Jeanette S Never in 4 years of owning my front load washer have I "cleaned" it with bleach. A 3-pack of the washer cleaner "Affresh" came with my washer and I did use those but never bought any more, and I don't use the "clean" cycle. I think the minor changes I made from Day 1 in my washing habits (particularly no liquid soap or fabric softener and only warm or hot water washes) has been sufficient (so far) to keep my machine squeaky clean. At first, I was kind of irritated too that the front load washer was a bit persnickety and required doing laundry differently than I had for 35 years but now I look at it as being no different than maintaining my car, home or other appliances. My car requires gas way too often, oil changes, washing, waxing etc. to keep it running well and looking good. My home requires regular maintenance. My central air conditioning unit requires filter changes every month, my coffee maker requires descaling once in a while. Even the ice maker in my fridge requires some regular attention or it jams up with accumulated ice that freezes into a solid block and won't allow cubes to dispense. I could go on and on. Do I think manufacturers make quality appliances these days? No I absolutely do not but we live in a "throwaway" society where it's cheaper to buy new than repair, plus people would rather run out and buy the "next bigger, better thing" so I think manufacturers build based on that philosophy. But regarding appliances, specifically the washer, needing maintenance, I've adjusted my thinking and now instead of being irritated, I'm just really thankful for all the modern conveniences my grandmother never had. I would definitely not want to wash clothes in an old wringer washer like she did or have to hang everything on a clothesline. Wash every dish by hand? No thanks. The appliances we have may not be great but think what your life would be like without them!

  • Yes, I agree that front loaders have this design flaw but I still will not give them up. I currently have both a stacked top loader Frigidaire (10 1/2yrs old now) and a front load 2.2 cu Whirlpool (which I am not happy with only because it vibrates like no other and it cannot handle heavy clothes). Anyhow, I have had front loaders since Neptune came out back in 1997 or so and loved it! I did 20 loads of laundry before the Neptune and after I think I cut it about in half!Plus my electric bill dropped about $50! I had 4 kids, a farm, and a fetish for fresh smelling clothes & blankets. When we sold our home in 2003 to move to VA the buyers wanted the washer, ugh, and so I had to leave it. For a housewarming gift, a great uncle bought us the Frigidaire stack top loader (price factor) and it did a lot of laundry the first 4 years (probably about 20 loads a week). It still does a lot of laundry but it is towels, greasy grimy stuff, jeans, and anything that will not go in the front loader. I HAVE USED COMMERCIAL LIQUID AND POWDERED PRODUCTS FOR YEARS~and my washers usually die from use and no repair man has ever told me that my laundry products shorten the life of my machine. Now the answer is yes I have made my own laundry and dishwashing stuff to find that it did not give me the smell of clean I so love when I do laundry. I am all about smell, clean, and fresh. I use Mule Team Borax 1/4 cup & white vinegar (use the cap from liquid laundry detergent) with hot water, detergent, softener in white clothes and kitchen rags are always separate in hot water with the same recipe. On warm I use this combo for my husband's work clothes which get greasy, grimy and it gets about 95% clean. If the clothes are really bad I use as seen on tv Totally Awesome cleaner and that gets out the grease, oil, & other stubborn stains. I use commercial products because I buy most of my personal, laundry, and cleaning supplies at Walgreens so I can earn points and there sales are great and you can stack coupons and buy one get one sales so I save about 90% on my bill! I even taught the clerk there how to save money. Now to keep the smell down (because I cannot tolerate bad smells or mold) I keep the door open and wipe down if the gasket is filled with water after a load. I usually clean the gasket with bathroom cleaner once a week when I clean my son's bathroom (where this machine is located upstairs) and shut the door after the gasket dries. I rarely use bleach because it is bad for the environment and it eats away at your clothes. But ever so often I will run bleach through the machine on hot and short cycle. Now there seems to be this fear that mold grows everywhere in your washer and in front loaders it is more prevalent but your top loader can grow mold too! Water stays in pump in both front loaders and top loaders too and even in the drain pipes. Have you ever moved a top loader? They are heavy too and will spill out water from their pumps. top loaders have crevices where mold could grow too. But if you use your washer I would not worry about the mold hurting your family because if it did I would have been dead a long time ago (because I am allergic to mold and it causes me breathing problems if I walk into a room where there is mold). Every so often I run the washer on short cycle with hot water and some bleach or vinegar to give me peace of mind about smells or mold. Front loaders need some extra measures to keep clean but leaving the door open (I do this on my top loader too because I find it will smell too) Then after a couple hours or day I shut the lid if the washer is inactive. Now Jeanette S brought up dishwashers, hmmm, I definitely have an opinion on that. I am under the philosophy if that if you have to wash the dish before it goes in the dishwasher, then you just are wasting time, money, and energy! I bought (of course I got it $600+ less than sticker) a GE Profile 4 years ago which has proven to be the worst dishwasher ever! Food disposers are a must in a dishwasher and I always had Maytags with disposers and never had to rinse dishes. I gutted my kitchen when we bought this house and I thought "great a $950 dishwasher for $300!" I asked my appliance sales guy who has been selling appliances for over 20 years and said "does Lemonade Kool aid really clean a dishwasher?" After he got done looking at me puzzled and then laughed he said "I have never heard of that and why would a packet of Kool Aid clean?" I asked the repairman for my refrigerator too (20+years experience) and he said no. If you do not have a true disposer, then you have to clean out your basket or dishwasher area for food and debris once a month or more and wipe down the edges of doors. (I have always done this). So on my list, when I find an awesome deal I will be purchasing a Bosch dishwasher because you do not have to clean the dishes. I am a bargain gal so I may have to wait a while but for now my GE does it job so long as I can get my son to rinse his dishes. Ugh. So to answer your question, find out if there was a recall on your gasket on the website and if not then write to Samsung. Is the washer under warranty? If so then you probably can get a new one. After you get a new gasket, then just keep the door open and wipe down the gasket and clean once a week with whatever you use to clean your bathroom with. Sometimes mold can discolor a rubber or plastic gasket but it does not mean that it is "alive" or can cause your family harm. The gasket has nothing to do with cleaning your clothes! If you use soap then you are killing any germs. I am a freak about clean and know that it would drive me crazy too but I think you need to contact Samsung to get a new gasket and start over. It is not going to hurt your family nor is it going to affect your clean clothes. Good luck!

    • See 1 previous
    • @Change of Art Yes, that is why I am carefully checking out each dishwasher and its ratings. I do not use the dry cycle on the dishwasher! I find that this is a waste of energy because when the dishwasher is done I unlock the door and let it air dry. My go to guy at Lowes told me that Bosch is better now with its new models. but I am not in a hurry yet. I had a new 1997 Maytag that washed everything and never had any problems with food. Now Maytag is not Maytag and they do not do what they need to do. Thanks for the input on the Bosch, how old is it?

  • Change of Art Change of Art on Jan 25, 2014
    glad to hear that they've made improvements. My 'new' Bosch is about 3.5 yrs old. My '97 model was the BEST.

  • Check with the manufacture of the unit. New gaskets can be purchased. Leave door open once done using the machine so it can dry out. Also most manufactures make cleaner that can be run though the machine so it stays fresh and clean. Also depending upon the unit, there has been recalls on some brands. Do a goggle search for your machine and see what pops up.

  • Cynthia H Cynthia H on Jan 25, 2014
    I too had this problem after about a year with my Sears HE front loader. At least once a month I make sure to run a load of microfiber cloths with vinegar. After, I use the cloths to wipe out the inner part of the gasket. Keeps it much cleaner and I also leave the door open when not in use. Haven't had any problems since I started doing this. A bit more work, but, I love this washer.

  • Deborah R Deborah R on Jan 26, 2014
    An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure...Vinegar is a wonderful fabric softener plus it breaks down all the oils in detergent. Use a cup in the rinse cycle to prevent an oily, gummy buildup that occurs on the outside of the drain hole in the wash basket, esp. on the top of FLs baskets. Those oils from detergents, liquid fabric softeners and softener sheets gum up and hold the lint around the basket creating a smelly situation in the washer...they also leave an oily coating on the lint trap in the dryer which after time create another check your dryer's lint screen, clean it then run it under water in the sink. If all the water does not go straight through or holds on the screen you really need to clean the screen so air will get through, preventing a costly visit from the repairman and even fire. Soak the lint screen in the sink, hot water and a bit of vinegar. After a few minutes, use an old veggie brush and lightly scrub the screen...repeat if necessary.

  • Virginia Nelson Virginia Nelson on Jan 26, 2014
    The above tips will help with cleaning up the mess but I found that using a different detergent prevented the smell from coming back. Arm and Hammer HE worked well for me.

    • @Virginia Nelson That is a good point and it seems that many detergents are labeled HE. Another point I forgot to make is that using too much detergent can cause problems too. I do not use as much as they say to use. Since I have a smaller unit I use about 1/3 of what the bottle says.

  • Lynda Lynda on Jan 26, 2014
    Vinegar is a wonderful mold and mildew cleaner and preventor. I use it also on the gaskets on my refrigerator, dishwasher, dryer & lint screen and even on the grout in the shower stall. I let it sit for a hour or so and then put bleach to remove the discoloration in the grout, but the vinegar is what kills the mold, not the bleach.

  • Beebeelove Beebeelove on Jan 26, 2014
    I work in apartment management and we have to deal with mold in apartments. If you have permanent mold on the rubber seal that you cant' wipe off, please replace it as soon as you can, mold is a health hazard. You can't mask mold or the smell with bleach or vinegar, you must get rid of mold. At home In every load we do pour vinegar in the bleach dispenser hoping it will help with the areas in the machine we can't get to, and to break down the minerals from our hard water and we wipe the seal with vinegar about once a month, but really the only prevention is to wipe down inside the rubber seal dry with a towel after you are done with your last load for that day and keep the door open to let it dry even more. It doesn't matter whether you use cold or warm water, mold likes both. It's a pain, but we just got used to doing it. Hope this helps.

  • Patricia Folk Patricia Folk on Jan 26, 2014
    you can use this white vinegar and bleach you put the bleach in first let a cup of bleach in machine and let stand for 1 hour than put two cups of vinegar after running a cycle after bleach than put vinegar in there and let stand for hour or so then run it through two cycles it should clear up or you could let it stand open for about a day that is all I got

  • Roxanne Fischer Roxanne Fischer on Jan 26, 2014
    the instruction manual for my machine, recommended wiping the rubber dry after each use- door open until fully dry the to give a good cleaning monthly, including the drain trap. I concur with replacing it at this point, the mold has probably grown underneath as well.

  • Joan Gondeck Joan Gondeck on Jan 26, 2014
    I always run the front loader once a month with two cups white vinegar. I have a clean cycle but was told to run it through a full cycle. I always wipe the gasket and leave the door open until the next day when I know it is all dry. So far, no problems.

  • Jill Jill on Jan 26, 2014
    One thing you must remember YOU NEED TO CLEAN OUT THE DRAIN FILTER OUT!!! The drain fliter is located inside the front of the machine. Simple take a screw driver and remove the front lower panel. Inside you should see a large screw type plastic device, Simply place a bowl or bucket under it, unscrew it and remove the filter that is connected to it. Don't do it without a catch basin or you could have quite a mess with water running out everywhere. Rinse out the filter and scrub it clean with a brush removing all build up and lint and replace it (You can also soak it overnight in vinegar to remove hard water deposits). Then simply screw the front panel back on. Then clean out the drain at the bottom of the door well, and pull any lint from there. This will help to keep moisture from building up and leading to this problem. This needs to be done every two months, at least, depending on how much laundry you do. The newer machines are no longer placing the drain filter behind the front panel. They simply screw right into the front of the machine to allow for easy access. If you are looking for a new machine, I would definitely go with one on the outside. The newer model's and replacement gaskets are now imbeded with something to prevent mold from happening. If you look up your model at the manufactures website you can find replacement gaskets. They might be a bit pricy, but replacing them will get rid of the problem and prevent it from happening again. Also, many manufactures will have recommendations on their website for care of your washer and dryer. Follow them. Many newer ones come with samples of cleaners to use on you machine at least once a month. I have never had a mold problem on my new machines, like I did on the old ones. I only use liquid soap and fabric softener, so by deduction, it's not the problem.

  • Margie*Lee Margie*Lee on Jan 27, 2014
    I have had a Whirlpool Duet for about 5 years and I have never had to "clean" it by running a special load of anything thru it. I ALWAYS wipe the gasket dry after each load and leave the door ajar. I don't have mold and have never had a bad smell in my washer. I have a repair man coming tomorrow to replace the boot, as it is called, due to a minor leak. It will cost us about $200 but I love the front loader washer and wouldn't have another top loader. I do a lot of my loads in cold water and find they come out just as clean as if I use warm water. I knew nothing about a drain filter until the repairman checked it and mine was fine. Now I know where it is and how to get to it.

  • Janet O Janet O on Jan 27, 2014
    I have a Samsung as well and a couple of things the repair/inspection guy shared....ours has a sanitize cycle and he said to run about once every other month (or a cleaning cycle on other models). Use only powder detergent as the liquid causes a lot of the smells. The liquid automatically goes down the 'tube' and sometimes accumulates there and hardens, where as with the powder, the water comes up and gets all of the powder at the right time. The liquid also clogs the holes and accumulates elsewhere in the machine (the rubber seal). I have had mine for 3 years, using powder the majority of the time and never had issues or had to wipe the rubber gasket until I started using the liquid. After the repair guy shared his insight, I went back to powder and have not had any issues or bad smells. Hope this helps.

  • Kathy Kathy on Jan 28, 2014
    Leaving the door open and let the machine dry out between uses. No mold!

  • Lynn Lynn on Sep 30, 2016
    I spray Tilex with mildew root penetrator into the area but I don't know why this problem doesn't have a design solution from the washing machine company.