Are you in the market for a new washing machine? Wondering how to maintain your current one?
How to Choose and Maintain a Safe Washing Machine
1. Choose a top loader to avoid mold growth
While front loaders use less energy and less water, they also are a breeding ground for microbial contaminants. Class action lawsuits have surfaced in the last decade as a result of mold growth in front loaders.
Here are a few of the complaints you’ll find at the website Safer Products:
“I’ve continued to have symptoms despite removing (or so I thought) all the sources of mold throughout our house. As it turns out, our Whirlpool Duet Sport HT washing machine (front loader) has a horrible mold odor coming from it. Unfortunately, I can’t seem to find the source. I’ve been diligent about cleaning the machine as recommended by the manufacturer, yet it is still pungent. It seems to be getting worse in conjunction with the violent shaking it goes through during the spin cycle.”
“We have black mold growing inside our Whirlpool Duet washing machine GWH950PW0. Complaints and cleaning solutions and products found everywhere online referencing moldy clothes are not helping. An ongoing class action lawsuit is not protecting the consumers. This is a serious and expensive issue with no solution. The product needs to be recalled.“
“We purchased a Whirlpool Duet Washing Machine in 2006, and we have noticed a considerable amount of mold build-up in the boot of the washer. So far we have tried everything to remove the mold but we are having no luck in removing the mold or the mildew smell. I believe this is a serious health issue because of the mold and the spores being released into our “clean” laundry.”
2. Choose a Stainless Steel Interior
Stainless steel is preferable to plastic interiors when it comes to microbial growth. Stainless steel is more resistant to mold and more durable.
3. Avoid a “Smart” Washing Machine
Smart appliances are becoming the norm. These appliances not only increases our dependence on wireless communication but also increases our level of exposure to hazardous microwave frequencies. (See more about the impact of wireless radiation at From Wireless to Wired – Our Family’s Journey.)
The good news is that you can disable this function as noted in Whirlpool’s privacy statement
“You may stop transmission of Smart Appliance Data by deprovisioning your Smart Appliance from your wireless router.”
In addition to the electromagnetic radiation, smart appliances carry an inherent loss of privacy. Note the fine print of the Whirlpool privacy statement:
- If you use, connect or register a Smart Appliance, we may collect information about you, including your contact information, information about your Smart Appliance, information from your use of SmartPhone Applications or other third party devices (such as smart meters), and information collected by the Smart Appliance Services website.
- We may collect information from a variety of sources, including from you directly, from your Smart Appliance, from your use of the Smart Appliance Services, and from third-party sources.
Tips for Maintaining Your Washing Machine
Whether you have a top loader or a front loader, the following suggestions may help prolong the life of your machine and avoid hazardous mold growth.
1. Run the rinse cycle when the machine is empty.
Run empty hot water washes with hydrogen peroxide or a combination of mold-fighting solutions. (See Got Surface Mold? 10 Natural Solutions.)
I use 33% hydrogen peroxide, which is highly concentrated and must be diluted for everyday use. I use it full strength in the basket clean cycle. (I buy 33% hydrogen peroxide here.)
2. Wipe down the door gasket and glass after every use.
Keep all visible areas of the machine dry. Keep a clean towel next to the washing machine and develop the habit.
3. Clean the dispenser regularly.
Keep the washing machine pulled away from the wall at all times to aid in the visual inspection of water lines. Consider using powdered instead of liquid laundry soap to lessen the chance of microbial growth.
4. Add a dehumidifier if needed.
Consider a dehumidifier if the laundry room is damp. Maintain the dehumidifier carefully to avoid mold growth in the dehumidifier.
5. Keep the door open between loads.
Ventilation is critical for maintaining any area of the home. When it comes to your washing machine, keep the door ajar to keep the air circulating inside the machine.
6. Monitor the machine
If you notice mold growth soon after purchase, utilize your warranty and let the manufacturer know.
7. Keep the machine pulled away from the wall.
One of the best ways to avoid hidden water leaks is to keep appliances pulled away from the wall. It makes for easy monitoring. Check behind your washing machine frequently to be sure nothing is leaking.
7. Position beds away from adjoining walls.
If your laundry room is located next to a bedroom, position all beds as far away as possible from the machine. Appliances like washing machines and refrigerators emit electromagnetic fields (EMFs) that travel through walls and easily disrupt sleep. See more in the previous post Sleep, Melatonin and Electronic Devices.
The following video shows the use of a Cornet Meter as well as transistor radio to detect EMFs.
Awareness and vigilance are essential when purchasing or maintaining a washing machine. These suggestions can go a long way toward protecting you and your family!