How To Clean The Washing Machine Seal: A Practical Guide

Follow these steps and useful tips to keep dirt and mold from forming

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By Linda Ferraro

How to clean the washing machine seal

Check out our practical guide, where we explain how to clean the washing machine seal. This is an essential appliance in our daily lives, so these informations are going to be useful sooner or later!

The importance of regularly cleaning the washing machine

The washing machine is one of the household appliances we use most frequently. For proper maintenance and to ensure its effectiveness, it is crucial to regularly clean it. For example, it is recommended to perform an empty wash once a month, replacing detergent with a glass of vinegar or a solution of water and baking soda.

Even though it may seem contradictory, the washing machine gets dirty due to the accumulation of detergent and dirt released by the laundry, as well as due to limescale and mold residues that form over time. The combination of all these factors not only dirties the washing machine but also makes it less efficient in carrying out its primary function.

Furthermore, regularly cleaning the washing machine ensures that each wash results in clean and sanitized laundry, with vibrant and intense colors, free from unpleasant odors. Not least, it’s worth knowing that a poorly cleaned washing machine consumes more energy and is more prone to breaking due to limescale deposits.

Why the washing machine seal gets dirty

Several factors contribute to the rubber seal of the washing machine getting dirty.

Firstly, frequent washing at low temperatures (86°F/104°F – 30°C/40°C) and excessive use of detergents, especially those with enzymes, play a significant role. These enzymes can generate a gelatinous residue that tends to accumulate not only in the door seal but also in the drum and pipes of the appliance.

How to clean the rubber seal of the washing machine

Let’s now go through the steps for cleaning the rubber seal of the washing machine.

Routine cleaning

At the end of each wash, wipe the seal, both inside and outside, with a clean, damp cloth. Dry it with another dry cloth, and leave the door open to ventilate the interior of the machine.

Deep Cleaning

Periodically, it’s advisable to perform a more thorough cleaning. Here’s how to proceed:

  • Prepare a solution by mixing water with white vinegar or water with bleach.
  • Soak a clean cloth in the prepared cleaning solution and wipe the seal thoroughly, ensuring to clean the internal part by lifting the rubber. For hard-to-reach spots, cotton swabs can be helpful.
  • Wipe all parts with a dry, clean cloth.
  • Run an empty wash cycle with vinegar or bleach, setting a medium to high temperature (140°F/194°F – 60°C/90°C).
  • If the seal remains dirty after the wash, apply a cloth soaked in the initial cleaning solution, let it sit for a few minutes, then rinse with water. Repeat if necessary.
  • Finally, thoroughly dry the seal. For targeted seal cleaning, baking soda can be used. Exercise caution by wearing protective gloves and, if necessary, a mask, as baking soda may irritate the skin and mucous membranes.

Front-loading machines

Cleaning the rubber seal on a front-loading washing machine can be challenging. For a thorough clean, use an old toothbrush along with an abrasive paste made by mixing baking soda with a few drops of water.

Top-loading machines

Now, let’s explore a procedure for cleaning the seal of top-loading washing machines. Start by removing stubborn dirt residues using an abrasive paste made of baking soda and a little lemon juice, applied with a toothbrush. Allow the mixture to sit for 5-10 minutes, then remove it.

Run an empty wash at 140°F – 60°C, adding a glass of vinegar or bleach to the washing machine. Finally, dry the seal with a microfiber cloth. After each wash, ensure thorough drying of the seal, and once a week, wipe it with a solution of water and bleach or water and vinegar.

How to clean the washing machine seal
The washing machine gasket is one of the most delicate points of these appliances.

How often should you clean the washing machine seal?

Ideally, clean the rubber seal at least once every 15 days.

Removing mold from the washing machine seal

If mold has formed on the seal, more potent cleaning techniques are needed.

Mix 2 liters of water with the juice of 2 lemons and half a glass of 30-volume hydrogen peroxide. Transfer the solution to a spray bottle and spray it over the entire surface of the seal. Let it sit for at least 5 minutes, then, with a dry cloth, remove the dirt residues. Finally, dry it.

Alternatively, for a deep and targeted cleaning, vinegar can be used. In the case of persistent or extensive mold, bleach can be even more effective.

How to remove black stains from the washing machine seal

For black stains not caused by mold but, for example, by undissolved detergent, fabric residues, and/or microplastics, perform a deep cleaning using an abrasive cream made of baking soda and water (mix 2 teaspoons of baking soda in a glass of warm water). This mixture helps to loosen accumulated dirt. Complete the process by wiping with a cloth soaked in vinegar.

Useful tips to apply after each wash

There are helpful measures to always prevent dirt accumulation. At the end of each washing cycle, it’s advisable to:

  • Immediately remove wet laundry from the drum.
  • Dry, patting with a dry and clean cloth, every part of the seal, especially the internal part, ensuring there are no accumulations of dirt, water, and soap. – Ensure the drying of the internal part of the washing machine door.
  • Leave the washing machine door open for a few hours to allow air circulation and prevent moisture buildup.

More on this topic

For additional natural remedies to clean your home and keep your appliances efficient without breaking the bank and, most importantly, without harming the environment, check out these other guides: