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Do You Use Bleach In Your Washer At Least Sometimes?

Bleach indeed has properties that can help keep washers clean by killing mold, mildew, and bacteria. When bleach isn't used regularly, these issues can develop, particularly in high-efficiency (HE) front-loading washers, which are more prone to mold and mildew due to their design and airtight seals.

Causes of Mold and Mildew in Washers

  1. Moisture: Front-load washers are more susceptible to mold and mildew because the door seal is airtight, trapping moisture inside the drum.

  2. Detergent Residue: Excess detergent and fabric softener can build up in the washer, creating a breeding ground for mold and mildew.

  3. Low Water Usage: HE washers use less water, which can sometimes leave behind more residue compared to traditional washers.

  4. Infrequent Cleaning: Without regular cleaning, the washer’s damp environment can lead to mold and mildew growth.

Benefits of Using Bleach

  1. Disinfection: Bleach kills mold, mildew, and bacteria, helping to keep the washer clean.

  2. Residue Removal: It can help break down and remove detergent and fabric softener residues.

  3. Odor Elimination: Bleach can neutralize odors caused by mold and mildew.

Alternatives and Maintenance Tips

If you prefer not to use bleach, there are alternative methods to keep your washer clean:

  1. Washer Cleaner Tablets: Products like Affresh or Tide Washing Machine Cleaner can effectively clean the drum and other parts of the washer.

  2. White Vinegar and Baking Soda: Running a hot wash cycle with white vinegar or a combination of vinegar and baking soda can help remove mold and mildew.

  3. Leave the Door Open: After using the washer, open the door to allow air circulation and drying.

  4. Clean the Gasket: Regularly wipe down the door gasket (bellows) to remove moisture and detergent buildup.

  5. Use HE Detergent: Use a high-efficiency detergent designed for HE washers to reduce residue.

  6. Monthly Maintenance: Run an empty hot water cycle with either bleach or a washer cleaner at least once a month.

Preventive Measures

  1. Proper Detergent Use: Use the correct amount of detergent and fabric softener to avoid excess buildup.

  2. Dry Out the Washer: After each wash, dry out the drum, door, and gasket with a towel.

  3. Clean the Dispensers: Regularly clean the detergent and fabric softener dispensers to prevent buildup.

  4. Inspect and Clean Filters: Check and clean any filters or drain pumps as per the manufacturer’s instructions.

Regular maintenance and cleaning are essential to prevent mold and mildew in washing machines, whether you use bleach or not. Adopting these practices can help keep your washer in good condition and ensure your laundry comes out fresh and clean.


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