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How to Get Rid of Mold in Car: Follow These Easy Steps

The word “mold” can always trigger any person who is keen on maintaining his place clean. Unfortunately, mold can inevitably get anywhere. From your house, lawn, and down to your car, it’s like a pest that needs to be dealt.

how to get rid of mold in car

Learning how to get rid of mold in car is essential for car owners because it’s common for mold to accumulate. This will happen out of bad habits, so be sure to stick around to know what to do and what to avoid.

How Mold Accumulates

Mold can reach anywhere. It’s like a live bacteria that crawls up wherever environment it’s suitable to live in, and your car’s included in that. As with house mold, car mold happens through lack of sunlight or heat.

Damp areas with a lot of moisture and cold are what molds love the most. Hence, the common areas that get moldy are usually near the air conditioner vents, the seats, and under it.

how mold accumulates

Going back to the air conditioner, it’s one of the most common catalysts of mold. A faulty air conditioner can suck in outside air and blow it in your car.

That air is full of all kinds of particles, bacteria and mold spores included. Hence, this should be the first thing that you should check should there be mold in your car.

Although bad ventilation is the common criminal, mold can form in other ways too. A good example would be cleaning your car’s interior with a water-based solution and not leaving it to dry properly.

There’s a famous story out there where the car owner cleaned his car and left it away from sunlight all winter long. Guess what? The results were devastating!

Things You Might Need:

Now, before you start cleaning up your car and scrubbing off those molds, there are some things you might have to get first. Here are some essentials that will help make your mold cleaning procedure easier and more efficient:

  • Mask – There’s a high chance that you might be able to inhale spores that will be floating in the air as you clean the mold.
  • Vacuum cleaner – ideally, the vacuum cleaner should be a wet-dry vacuum cleaner.
  • Brush – this can be an old toothbrush or any small brush that can go even in hard to reach areas.
  • Warm water – you will need this a lot for rinsing away any mold you scrubbed off.
  • Enzyme cleaner – this will help eat away/dissolve the mold.
  • Distilled white vinegar – this is only needed if worst comes to worst and the mold doesn’t come off with the steps we will be listing.

The Procedure

Step 1: Expose your car to direct sunlight

car outside

First, leave your car out in the open, exposed to heat and direct sunlight. Make sure to leave your doors and car windows open. This will dry out your car and air out its interior.

Also, this will also help lessen the smell of mold and spores that you might accidentally breathe in as you clean.

Inhaling spores is very dangerous, so keep in mind that while you do this, you must be wearing a mask to cover your nose. Leave your car for at least 15 minutes before trying to do anything with it.

Step 2: Assess how much damage has been done

Now before you get into the nitty gritty task, it is important to assess first how badly the mold infestation had been. This will also give you an idea which cleaning materials to use and what technique to deploy in particular.

Remove all covers and upholsteries. Check the seats of the car, underneath the car seats, the carpet, the seatbelts, and even the steering wheel if needed. Any porous surface is a good thriving place for molds.

Step 3: Get your brush working


Gently try to scrape off as much mold as you can. Don’t forget to scrub off the mold even in the corners and hard to reach areas. This will help break up large clumps of mold. However, be careful not to spread around spores.

Spreading spores around can and will only worsen the mold infestation. You can make this task a bit easier by pouring warm water with a pH-neutral shampoo on the clumps of mold.

Step 4: Use enzymatic cleaners to remove mold further

The loosened up molds and anything else you left that could not be scrubbed off, pour them with mold-eating enzymatic cleaners. Enzymatic cleaners that are specifically for molds can be bought in your local hardware stores, malls, and groceries.

However, let the enzymatic cleaner do its job by leaving it on first for a few minutes. This will help the enzymatic cleaner break down further and dissolve any remaining mold.

Rinse off the enzymatic cleaner from your car interior and use the wet-dry vacuum cleaner for clean up.

Step 5: If there are still some visible molds, use distilled white vinegar

white vinegar

If all else fails, simply mix distilled white vinegar with a little bit of water and pour all over the car molds. Leave it in for a few minutes before rinsing off with warm water and vacuuming the car interior.

However, do note that your vehicle might smell like vinegar for quite some time as the smell is kind of hard to remove.

Wrapping it Up

Mold in your car is not the hardest thing to remove. After all, you’re only a few cleaners and house materials away from removing it efficiently. However, it’s important to understand that the best cure is always prevention.

Mold shouldn’t be in your vehicle in the first place. It’s not like a house where it can get a lack of sunlight. It’s your responsibility as a driver to correctly expose your car now and then and not leave it to sit in a dark garage.

Not only is it bad for your car’s interior, but it can lead to a rusty engine. Always check your vehicle as well as its ventilation. At the end of the day, overall maintenance and a short drive are good for its overall health!