Should I Leave My Washing Machine Door Open Between Washes?

We use our washing machines so often that sometimes, we forget that they also need maintenance too. When you get a whiff of a weird smell coming from your washer, or mould growing in the drum, you may want to get into the habit of leaving its door open between washes. 

Leaving the washing machine door open between washes comes with a lot of benefits, as it will help ventilate the area and remove excess moisture, preventing fungal and bacterial growth. The result? A washing machine that’s efficient, smells good, and will last for a longer time. 

In this article, we will discover the advantages of keeping a washing machine door open, the precautionary measures you need to observe to do it in a safe manner, and other tips to keep your appliance in its best condition. 

The Benefits Of Leaving Your Washing Machine Door Open

Believe it or not, the simple act of leaving the door of your washing machine open for even just a bit can greatly benefit your appliance. 

The main reason why leaving the door of your washer ajar is a good idea is because it promotes air circulation, which is crucial for removing the dampness in the machine’s drum and other internal components. 

washing machine with a towel in the door

Doing so will highly reduce the risk of bad odours and promote good hygiene, which is important as bacteria and foul smells in the machine can transfer into your clothes. Whether you own a top or front loader, it can certainly be a good practice that will come with many benefits in the long run. 

Let’s go into more detail as to why you need to leave the washing machine’s door open:

You Will Prevent Mould And Mildew Growth

Did you know that mould and mildew thrive in damp environments? This is exactly why a washing machine can be a breeding ground for many sorts of bacteria and fungi. 

By leaving the washing machine door open after each wash, you are allowing air to circulate more freely inside the drum. This airflow will help dry out any remaining moisture, making it a less ideal environment for mould and mildew to grow.

You Will Eliminate Bad Odours

Unpleasant smells in a washing machine often develop when it is always in a damp condition. Unfortunately, these odours, which are often mildewy, can transfer into your clothes and even irritate your skin. 

When you leave the washing machine door open, it will help air out the drum, removing any lingering smells that may have developed during your previous laundry sessions. 

You Will Extend Your Appliance’s Lifespan

It’s not a secret that most appliances and moisture do not do well together. After all, moisture can cause their mechanical parts to rust over time. 

When you allow your washing machine to dry out completely between uses, you can prevent rust and corrosion, which will greatly extend its lifespan. 

Things You Need To Consider When Leaving The Washer Door Ajar

While there are many benefits to leaving the washing machine door open, you still need to practise precautions in order to avoid accidents and ensure you are doing it the right way. 

You need to:

  • Make sure that the open washing machine does not pose a safety risk to children and pets. Consider using a childproof lock that allows the door to remain slightly open without being wide enough for a child or pet to climb inside.
  • In some environments, leaving the door open might allow dust and debris to accumulate inside the drum. If this is a concern, you might choose to leave the door open only for a few hours rather than a longer time. 
  • If you have pests or insects, consider dealing with them ASAP as they can enter your washing machine and cause it damage. 

Also, factor in the humidity level in your place. On days with high humidity, opt to leave the washer door open for a considerable time. 

How To Remove Mildew Smell In The Washing Machine

If your washing machine has already developed a mildew smell, it’s important to address this issue immediately.

Here are easy ways to eliminate these annoying odours:

Clean The Gasket

The rubber seal around the door often harbours moisture and residue. Wipe it down thoroughly with a mildew cleaner or a solution of warm water and vinegar to remove any trapped debris and moisture.

WARNING: Use vinegar in small amounts, as using too much can damage your seals over time. 

Run A Hot Wash Cycle

Empty the washing machine and run a hot cycle with a cup of white vinegar or a specialised washing machine cleaner. This will help clean the drum and internal parts of any lingering smells or residue.

Dylon Washing Machine Cleaner 1 Use, 5-in-1 Washing Machine Cleaner, Freshener and Limescale Remover for Cleaning Washing Machines, Single Application Pack
  • 5-in-1 action: The descaler works on 5 levels to hygenically clean your washing machine, ensuring fresh fragrance and removal of dirt and limescale.
  • Stop dirt: Over time washing machines start to become dirty. Dylon Washing Machine Cleaner helps to rid machines of dirt and limescale for more effective wash cycles.

Keep It Dry

After cleaning, leave the door and detergent drawers open to air out the interior. This should help to keep new odours from forming. Wiping its surfaces with a dry cloth can also speed up the process. 

Bonus Tips For Proper Washing Machine Maintenance

Before we end this article, here are some tips you can use to ensure that your washing machine stays clean and functional:

  • Make it a habit to clean your washing machine at least once a month. This includes wiping down the drum, detergent dispensers, and any filters according to the manufacturer’s instructions.
  • Regularly inspect the hoses and filters for any blockages or signs of wear and tear. Replace them as needed to avoid leaks or other damages.
  • Use the right detergent. Get high-efficiency detergents if your machine is a high-efficiency model. These detergents are specifically designed to produce fewer suds and are easier on your washing machine’s operating system.

And there you have it! Do you have questions or additional tips to share? Feel free to leave a comment below!

SEE ALSO: How To Run A Clean Cycle On A Washing Machine

Frequently Asked Questions

How long should I leave the washing machine door open?

You should leave the washing machine door open for a few hours after each use to ensure adequate ventilation and drying of the interior, which helps prevent mould, mildew, and odours.

Should I let my washing machine rest between loads?

Yes, it is advisable to let your washing machine rest between loads to prevent overheating and reduce wear on its mechanical components, thereby extending its lifespan.

How do I increase the lifespan of my washing machine?

To increase the lifespan of your washing machine, regularly clean the drum, gasket, and detergent dispensers, ensure hoses and filters are free from blockages, and use the correct type of detergent. Also, allowing the machine to dry thoroughly between uses can prevent rust and corrosion.

Can a washing machine be kept open?

Yes, a washing machine can be kept open between uses to promote air circulation and drying, which helps prevent the growth of mould and the development of unpleasant odours. However, take precautions to ensure it doesn’t pose a safety risk to children and pets.

Do small loads damage washing machines?

Small loads do not inherently damage washing machines, but they may lead to inefficiencies in water and energy use. It’s best to follow your manufacturer’s guidelines regarding load sizes to maintain efficiency and performance.

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