Could your washing machine be holding mold?
Mobile, Al (WPMI) —
You put dirty clothes, towels, and other things into the washing machine to make them cleaner and fresher, but, your washing machine could be the source of a stinky smell.
Julie Kim, a front loading washer owner said, "It kind of smells like a turtle pond."
It doesn't happen with all types of washing machines, but it has become a familiar problem for owners of front loading washers, according to Environmental Expert, James Kaster.
It's become a nuisance for owners like Julie Kim.
"When you have a perception of doing laundry you think of snuggles and good, baking-soda smells and things like that, so when it starts smelling mildewy it's almost like you're going in reverse," said Kim.
The rubber gasket that seals the door shut is where many owners find an unsightly growth. If you pull the rubber back, you'll find a dried up, black build-up that looks like mold.
Environmental Inspector James Kaster tested the residue in a washing machine for toxic mold, sent it back and I came out negative, but he says there could still be bacteria.
"We swabbed this one. we sent it to the lab and it came back negative," said Kaster
But it the washer doesn't ventilate then,
"You have a greater chance of mold growing in there," Kaster said.
"Anytime you have water sitting around it's going to grow mold. That's just the way it works"
Kaster says every three to six months you can pour a quarter and a half gallon of bleach into the machine, put it on the hottest setting, and run for a cycle.
Kaster says whether or not what's growing in your washer is making you sick depends on your allergies.
"Certain people can be allergic to different kinds of mold. Any kind of mold that grows in there could be toxic to any particular person," Kaster said.
Another solution is to simply leave the door cracked open. That will help dry things out, keeping unwanted sights, smells, and toxins out of your washing machine.