Mold growth in your home is more than merely an unpleasant sight, and it is a health hazard to your family, especially to those who are sensitive to it. Learning how to prevent moldy appliances can prevent mold exposure symptoms from mild irritations to severe respiratory and other health problems.
Mold thrives in damp conditions and can grow in the tiniest places within the recesses of the major appliances in your home. It is attracted to moisture and can grow inside your refrigerator, dishwasher, or washing machine without realizing it.
While it may seem counterintuitive to clean the machines that clean other items in your home, regular inspection and thorough cleaning of those appliances can prevent the spread of dangerous mold spores.
Your laundry room presents ideal conditions for mold growth if it is not adequately ventilated or left unattended. Moisture and dirt create breeding grounds for mold. Dirty piles of laundry in a warm, damp environment are the perfect home for mold to grow and prosper.
Mold growth on washing machines is easy to identify. Front-loading washers may see mold forming in the door creases or the detergent dispenser, while top-loading washing machines are more likely to grow mold in the drum or interior walls.
Some common-sense ways to prevent mold from forming in your washing machine include:
Run Loads Regularly
Dirty, damp clothes left in the laundry room, in hampers, or strewn across a teenager’s bedroom floor will provide the perfect conditions for mold to grow and give residual moisture in the washing machine a chance to create mold growth.
Dry Clothes After Washing
Wet clothes left in the washing machine can grow mold in no time. If you cannot get back to the washer for an extended period, it is better to wait until you return to run the load rather than let the clean clothes sit wet in the washer.
Leave Lid Open After Use
Closing the washing machine lid after running a load will slow down the drying process and increase the chances of mold growth appearing before subsequent use.
Perform monthly inspections on the door creases, drum, and detergent dispensers, and clean out the grime build-up that can be attractive to mold growth. Check the manufacturer’s manual for tips on keeping your washing machine clean.
Your dishwasher is another appliance that can become a natural breeding ground for mold. Food particles left behind in warm, damp conditions will attract mildew and mold, and left unattended, can create significant problems for the dishwasher and your family.
Dishwashers have many folds, creases, compartments, and corners where moisture and food gather to form ideal moldy areas. Some ways to prevent mold growth in your dishwasher include:
Rinse Dishes Before Loading Dishwasher
It may be tempting to place dirty dishes in the dishwasher and let the appliance do all the work. The problem comes when food chunks get lodged in hidden areas throughout the dishwasher. Food particles will remain in the machine and lead to mold growth over time.
Open the Door
When the cycle is complete and after you put the dishes away, leaving the door open for a while will help dry out problem areas quicker. This eliminates excess moisture that can result in mold growth.
Heat Dry Run
Running your dishwasher on the heat-dry cycle will serve to kill bacteria growth on the inside. Leave the door open to dry out all interior areas.
Dry Removable Baskets
Take out, clean, and dry the silverware baskets and other removable compartments with creases and folds that hide food particles.
Refrigerators generate a lot of heat to keep your food and beverages cold. The inside of your refrigerator may be the most dangerous and pervasive area for mold growth in your home. Leftover food and the moisture that gathers in your fridge present ideal conditions for mold to grow and prosper.
Keeping your refrigerator clean and clearing out old food before it has a chance to become moldy are the best ways to prevent mold growth. Still, it takes more than wiping down the shelves periodically to keep your refrigerator healthy and mold-free.
Clean Up Spills Thoroughly
You should not cry over spilled milk, but you should clean it up quickly and thoroughly if spilled in your fridge. Allowing spilled liquids to become stiff and crusty will invite moldy conditions.
Clean Trays, Drawers
The most effective way to prevent mold growth in your fridge is to periodically remove all trays, drawers, and compartments and give them all a thorough cleaning and scrubbing. Use hydrogen peroxide or vinegar to ward off future mold growth.
Keep It Dry
Make sure trays and shelves are kept as dry as possible. Wipe down areas of moisture before closing the fridge door.
Move Fridge Yearly
Condensation build-up underneath your refrigerator can lead to mold problems you cannot see. Moving out your refrigerator and cleaning underneath and behind it will work to prevent mold growth over time.
Mold Removal Professionals
Mold growth in your home is inevitable on some level. While it is impossible to completely eliminate mold in your home, following these simple, common-sense tips will work to prevent mold from growing in the major appliances throughout your home.
Sometimes, mold can get out of hand despite your best efforts to contain and prevent it. Leaky pipes and moldy water lines can lead to significant mold growth that can only be remediated by professional mold removal experts.
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