Picture of a Typical Apartment Size Front Loader Clothes Washer from Bosch.

How to Remove Mold from Rubber Seal on Washing Machine

In this piece, we discuss how to remove mold from the rubber seal on a washing machine.  We feel that your first, best strategy, is to keep the gasket from getting moldy in the first place.  Keep it dry when the washer is not in use.  Wipe it dry after each clothes washing session. Then, if mold does appear, it’s generally pretty easy to clean if you get to it right away.  Avoid allowing mold to accumulate.  Clean it when you see it. Use the least abrasive methods and gentlest cleaners first, and save the harsher ones for only those times when that mold just won’t come off.  We detail all of this below.

How to Remove Mold from Rubber Seal on Washing Machine

Keep the Seal Clean in the First Place 

The best way to remove mold from the rubber seal, is to prevent the mold before it starts. E.g. Act hastily if you notice any dank odors coming from your washing  machine.

How to Keep the Rubber Seal from Getting Too Dirty

Picture of a Typical Apartment Size Front Loader Clothes Washer from Bosch.
Typical Apartment Size Bosch Front Loader Clothes Washer

Keep the seals dry when you’re not using the machine, and we also suggest using only liquid laundry detergents. This helps to cut the buildup of soap residue that can happen with dry, powder laundry soaps.

Avoid using too much soap, which can increase soap residue deposits.

Also, run your washing machine through the manufacturer’s recommended cleaning procedures at least once a month, to further discourage mold growth.

Do not let wet clothes to sit in the closed washing machine for too long after the wash cycle completes, as this will create lots of warm, moist air inside; a perfect breeding ground for mildew and mold spores.

But when there’s no stench, and you’re just performing routine washing machine maintenance, wipe in and around the rubber seal with a wet dishcloth or sponge after each laundry session. This rinses off any left over soap residue. Then wipe the entire seal dry with an old but clean dishtowel.

Finally, do not close the door all the way when not using the machine. Instead, leave it open. This allows fresh air into the wash drum and seal areas.  So, you get faster drying inside as well as prevents standing moist air and the resulting condensation of water on the rubber seal. Keeping your machine as dry as possible when idle helps keeps the dirt away.

You should perform one or more of the steps below if you find any deposits or stains on the seal that damp-wiping alone does not remove.

Picture of a common washing machine, with its door slightly open, to reduce mold buildup. How to Remove Mold from Rubber Seal on Washing Machine.
A common washing machine, with its door slightly open, to minimize mold growth on the rubber seal.

How to Remove Mold from the Washing Machine Rubber Seal, Might Not be Easy

It’s hard to get all the stubborn mold off without damaging the rubber seal; particularly on older machines, which have seen many hours of use. So, we’re not after a perfectly clean seal here. We only want to clean the seal enough that it keeps working well, without leaking. We also wish to remove any mold and mildew odors from the machine, that might be coming from seal crevices, as shown in the pictures above. Further, we’ve found that when the washing machine does start stinking, cleaning the seal really does not reduce the moldy odor very much. To do that well, you need to thoroughly deodorize the inside of the washer, as described in our How to Freshen Up a Smelly Washing Machine article.

Try Wiping In and Around the Rubber Seal with Hot, Soapy Water

Warm soapy water alone yields little cleaning success in our tests. We found that It only removes the loosest mold, although it’s good at getting out the slime.  An advantage of just soap though, is that it smells nice, unlike some of the harsher rubber seal cleaners.  Plus, it’s easiest on your clothes and hands, and generally does not dry out your skin. So, we suggest trying the mildest cleaning methods like this one first.  Then, only move on to the more abrasive ones when soap alone does not remove the mold stains.

Try White Vinegar

White vinegar is more acidic than mild dish soap, and may prove more effective at removing the black mold stains from the seal. Plus, you don’t have to worry about what will happen to your clothes if you spill some on yourself.

Try Applying Mold and Mildew Cleaner 

Be sure to read its directions and warnings first, to verify it will work on your rubber seal. We used Clorox Cleanup with some success.

Bleach Cleans Some Mold

We’ve also tested straight bleach with low to medium success. Oh, the bleach indeed disinfects the rubber seal as well as removes any musty, damp smells from it.

But we’ve found, even after allowing even full-strength bleach to soak on the mold stains for ten minutes or so, the bleach only cleans so well. Thus, even the strongest cleaning solutions may not entirely remove black mold stains without wrecking the door seal.

But a bleach and water solution does disinfect, and so, it eliminates any damp mildew smell from the seal. However, we suggest allowing the bleach water to soak on the seal for a half-hour before scrubbing with a damp dish cloth or nylon pot scrubber pad. Do not use metal-based pot scrubbers on the delicate rubber seal, as they might scratch it, thereby decreasing its water-sealing effectiveness.

Picture of a bottle of Great Value brand bleach, front view. How to Remove Mold from Rubber Seal on Washing Machine.
A bottle of Great Value brand bleach, front view. How to clean mold from front load washer gasket.

Replace the Rubber Seal if All Else Fails

If none of these tips for how to remove mold from the washing machine rubber seal works, and you find the black stains unsightly, then hire an appliance repair technician to put in a new gasket. But as long as the sealing gasket is not leaking and not smelling, we suggest against replacing it, unless of course, you have extra money that you’re just itching to spend on something. Black mold is tolerable and not harmful, so long as you remove the loose spores with regular cleanings.

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References for How to Remove Mold from Rubber Seal on Washing Machine

  1. How to Remove Mold and Mildew from Front-Load Washing Machines
  2. Cleaning a Front Load Washer, 13 Steps, from WikiHow

Revision History for How to Remove Mold from Rubber Seal on Washing Machine

  • 2021-09-10: Added the Related Posts and Suggested Reading sections.
  • 2020-09-17: First published.
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