My husband and I purchased our first washer and dryer about five years ago. The set was brand new and made by Maytag. I figured they are a very reliable brand and would last a long time. I was wrong! The washer went out a few months ago. We owned it only five years! I also had to have it repaired once. When it went out the second time, the repair man came to fix it. He took it all apart, and discovered it would be better to buy a new one than to put the money into the old washer. Apparently Maytag had a line of washers that were lemons. The man showed me the inside of the drum. It was black with mold! Doesn't that seem counterproductive to clean clothes? He said that this is common. Ewww.
Luckily, there is a way to cut back and slow down the growth of mold in your washing machine. It also prolongs the life of the washer. The first step is to use half the recommended amount of detergent. Laundry detergents and liquid fabric softeners are all so concentrated now. Using the recommended amount adds buildup that the washer doesn't have time to remove during a normal cycle. The second step is to mix equal parts of liquid fabric softener and HOT water in a container. Shake well. Use it just like normal. Of course you only need to worry about the liquid fabric softener if that is what you use. I was skeptical. I didn't think the clothes would be as clean, but they are!
One other thing I do that makes sense in my head is I leave the washer lid up (I have a top loader). I feel like if it is left open it will dry faster and not trap mold causing moisture.
Also, if you are totally grossed out about the thought of your washing machine being full of mold now, buy a washing machine cleaner. There are a few different products out there.
Hopefully this will help save my washer. I know it is already saving money on laundry products!