House moulding

By Ian Palmer-Smith, appliance repair expert at Domestic & General

1. Keep washing machine door open

“One of the most common areas of the home to be affected by mould during the spring months is washing machines due to its moisture levels. As we use this appliance to keep our clothes clean and hygienic, it’s crucial that you give your washing machine extra care during this time of the year. If you’ve noticed a mouldy smell, mould in the rubber seal or dark spots on your clothes, it’s overdue a thorough clean.

“The detergent you use during a wash isn’t enough to clean the machine itself. Instead, take some washing machine cleaning product, select the ‘cotton’ cycle and raise the temperature as high as it will go to eliminate any bacteria or mould that has started to develop. You should aim to do this once a month or every 30 cycles, depending on which comes sooner.

“After each cycle, it is really important to leave the washing machine door open. Mould thrives in places of high humidity and moisture, so leaving the door open for a while after each use will help keep the mould at bay for longer.”

2. Keep dishwasher door open after cycle

“The same is to be said for the dishwasher – always keep the door slightly open for a couple of hours after unloading to help the warm steam escape, improving ventilation of the appliance.

“If you have noticed any build up already developing in your dishwasher, the best way to combat this is to run an empty hot cycle, adding a small cup of white vinegar. This should be effective in removing any mould, you’ll just need to repeat every three or four months, depending on how often you use the appliance. Not only will this keep the machine hygienic, but will also help keep the need for a dishwasher repair at a minimum.”

3. Avoid drying clothes on radiators

“For any items that take a particularly long time to dry after being washed, try to use your tumble dryer if you have one. Whilst this uses more energy, hanging laundry to dry on radiators is another common culprit when it comes to mould in the home. Try to be tactful with the laundry loads you do to maximise the amount of items you can put in a single tumble dryer cycle to limit your energy use whilst significantly reducing the risk of bacteria build up.”

4. Maintain the washing machine and dishwasher

“Be sure the fan in a front load washer is clean and functioning properly and that the vent is not blocked. Check your dryer vent to make sure it is tight and not leaking moist air into the laundry room. Dry the door gasket inside and out with a microfiber towel after each laundry session and run a cleaning cycle in your washer weekly or, at least, monthly.”

5. Clean the dispenser system

“Detergent and fabric softener can build up in the dispenser drawers and act as a food source for the odour-causing mould. Most drawers can be removed easily for cleaning, but consult your washer’s user manual to learn how to remove the drawer(s).”

6. Improve ventilation and decrease humidity

“Add a fan or air-conditioner to your laundry room to improve air circulation and dry the washer interior more quickly. Consider bringing in a dehumidifier to keep humidity levels lower and leave a front-loading washer door ajar after every load for quicker drying.”