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Unless you are intentionally promoting a mobile ecosystem, there is almost nothing worse than finding mold in your car. It sounds disgusting, but there is also a great chance that it will smell disgusting and could lead to health issues.
Vehicles can mold indoors for a variety of reasons, but by far the most common is moisture leakage. However, you don’t have to kill it with fire or spend thousands of dollars to have someone clean it up for you. With a little elbow grease and time, you can remove mildew, scrub the area, and make it smell like new.
The reader Don’t expect you to be an expert in mold removal and air purification, so we’ve put together a guide to help you start your bio-friendly journey. We’ll cover the basics to help you remove mold and freshen the air inside your car. Stick with us and we’ll have you riding clean in no time.
Basic principles of mold removal
Estimated time needed: Times will vary. Cleaning and preparation will take two to three hours, but some solutions will take days to soak or take effect.
Competence level: Beginner
Vehicle system: Interior
Car cleaning and mold security
Wear skin, eye and respiratory protection. The mold in your car might not sound dangerous, but it’s impossible to tell the effects it can have without testing.
If you use chemicals to scrub or clean the interior of your vehicle, make sure that you dispose of leftover material in a manner recommended by the manufacturer. It is also important to make sure that you are using a cleaner that is safe for the materials that make up the interior of your car.
If the mold has spread to other items inside your car, such as clothing, it is best to wash or dispose of the items before using them or storing them elsewhere.
Everything you will need to get rid of mold and mildew in your car
Fortunately, even the biggest molding jobs won’t require you to break the bank for supplies.
List of pieces
Organizing your tools and equipment so that everything is easily accessible will save you precious minutes while waiting for your practical child or four-legged helper to bring you the sandpaper or torch. (You won’t need a torch for this job. Please don’t let your child give you a blowtorch — Ed.)
You will also need a flat workspace, such as a garage floor, driveway, or street parking. Mold is a nasty substance, and you will be using chemicals to clean it up, so be sure to work in a well-ventilated area. Check your local laws to make sure you are not breaking any codes when using the street, as we are not taking your car off the embankment.
Here’s how to get rid of mold in your car
Let’s do this!
Prepare the car for cleaning
Before you start scrubbing or cleaning mold, you need to make sure that the interior of the car is at least partially cleaned.
- Remove garbage, personal effects, papers and other items from inside. Throw away anything that contains mold.
- Vacuum carpets, seats and other soft finishes thoroughly.
- Inspect the car for leaks and damaged gaskets. Moisture entering the vehicle will help mold to continue to grow. If there is a leak and you don’t fix it, you’ll likely be cleaning mold from your car again in the future.
Removing the mold
- Fill your spray bottle with distilled white vinegar. It is essential to use a new spray bottle, if possible, as any residue left inside the bottle from previous use can cause problems. If you don’t like vinegar, you can use bleach diluted in water, but you will need to test it on a hidden spot in your car to make sure you don’t kill the colors.
- Spray the solution directly on carpets, seats and any other surface where there is mold. Saturate the area thoroughly.
- Use a scrub brush to work the vinegar solution into the affected area, spraying more if necessary.
- Let the surfaces dry. If you have a garage where the car can be safely parked indoors, it is best to leave the windows down to allow fresh air to circulate in and out.
If the mold is caused by something other than water or moisture, you may need to repeat this process to completely remove odors. One of The Drive Editors recalled a time when a milk jug would leak after a trip to the grocery store without him realizing it. The milk seeped into the carpet and under the backseat, causing a foul odor and mold eventually seeped into the interior of his car. To get rid of this mold and smell, it took three turns of vinegar, scrubbing and airing.
Sometimes you need extra expertise
There are probably half a dozen things you could do instead of taking care of your car’s surfaces. CeramicPro meticulously educates and certifies all automotive retailers, nanoceramic coatings specialists, window tinters and paint protection film installers in their nationwide network of professionals. With CeramicPro, you will enjoy world-class service, expertise and exclusive products that will enhance the appearance and protection of your car.
Pro tips for removing mold from your car
Don’t make decisions based on smell alone. Depending on the type of mold and what caused it, there may be a huge odor, or there may be no odor at all.
Likewise, if you find that there is a leak or if you have spilled something, it is best to clean it up as quickly as possible to avoid mold growth. There are all kinds of odor removal machines and devices out there, but they’re not always designed to help remove mold. If you want to use one, be sure to buy what you need. If you just want to freshen the air, that’s easy, but if you’re looking for a machine that can help remove mold, you’ll need to do some research.
Faqs about mold in your car
You have questions, The reader has answers!
Q. Is it safe to drive with mold in my car?
The Drive editors aren’t doctors or biologists, so we can’t tell you for sure whether it’s safe to drive with mold in your car. What we can tell you is that it is best to clean and remove mold before driving. Even though it turns out to be harmless to humans, it is disgusting and will likely give your car a foul smell.
Q. I don’t have time to clean my car. How much will it cost to pay someone to do it for me?
A. Most full-service car washes offer interior cleaning or overhaul services. You’ll need to chat with the attendant to find out what’s involved in the process, but most will charge different prices depending on the vehicle. Small cars can cost anywhere from $ 50 to $ 200, while large vehicles like SUVs and station wagons can start at $ 200 and go up from there. Even if you have the time to clean the car yourself, sometimes it’s best to pay a professional to do it for you, as they’ll have the right chemicals and the right machines to do the job right.
Q. I cleaned my interior and it’s better, but my air conditioning now smells. What can I do?
A. Your car’s air conditioning system has filters that may have absorbed mold or at least the smell of mold. If you’re a DIYer, you can swap out the filters yourself, but you’ll need to get a service manual for your specific model to find out where they are. You can also find products, such as sprays and other cleaners that can be applied to vents and other components to help remove odors. If all else fails, a mechanic can take parts of the system apart to find the culprit and remove it.
The video guide
Learn more about mold removal with this helpful video.