Home » Under The Hood: Investigating Car Mold

Under The Hood: Investigating Car Mold

by jlowy
mold in car

Cars. You gotta love ‘em, right? Yet along with all their magnificence comes the potential for problems – enough, quite frankly, to Exhaust you (and your bank account).


If you’re wondering what on earth a blog dedicated to mold is doing talking about cars, then you’re in luck, as it means you’ve never experienced the godforsaken relationship between the two. For everyone else, however, you know what’s coming and it’s enough to drive you round the Benz.

Yup, that’s right. Car mold. The unsightly, smelly, unhealthy fungus encroaching on your beloved, dependable, otherwise obedient vehicle that should really, when you think about it, be mutually exclusive. Seats, carpets, steering wheel – nothing is safe – especially when you consider the perfect breeding ground that a car can become when locked up for an extended period during wet weather. It’s just not something you can afFord – especially if you’re hoping to use your car as a Pickup. “WHAT SHALL WE DO? you cry.” Pipe down, dear readers, we have – as ever – got tips by the Truckload in what we will this week call our Mold Manual.

Common causes of Car Mold

Once mold has been discovered, follow these Automatic steps:

  1. Move your car into direct sunlight, if possible.
  2. Remove all contaminated objects.
  3. Open all doors and windows for at least 15 minutes to fully ventilate the vehicle – even using a humidifier, if available.
  4. Wear protective gear.
  5. Inspect all areas of the car to determine the full extent of the invasion (seats, carpet, steering wheel, seatbelts, inside zip covers etc).
  6. Break up large clusters of mold gently with an old toothbrush, getting into all cracks and crevices.
  7. Vacuum loose mold.

Other general tips:

  • As ever, keep away from bleach as not only will it not work well on hard or porous surfaces, it can also permanently stain and damage your car’s interior.
  • We’ll never Tyre of championing white vinegar, either the holy grail of mold removal as its acidic form will burn the mold and its spores – not only killing it permanently but preventing it from coming back. Simply mix eight parts white vinegar to two parts water, sprayed in a bottle and dabbed gently with a soft, clean cloth after leaving it to soak for 15 minutes. Whilst you can rest assured that this will not damage any type of car seats, including leather and vinyl, you may want to test a small amount just to be on the safe side.
  • Salt is another great natural alternative for soft items, such as cloth car seats and carpets. Simply mix a packet of uniodized salt into a large bucket of water, dab on the affected areas, leave to dry – in direct sunlight, if possible, until salt crusts have formed – and softly brush away.
  • Oil of Cloves can also be used – both on hard and soft surfaces – as they are not only a powerful and effective antiseptic that kills mold, but also inhibits its spores from growing, too. For hard surfaces, mix with bicarbonate of soda and white vinegar to form a paste, rub on affected area with a toothbrush and wipe with a soft clean cloth. For soft surfaces, mix a quarter teaspoon with a litre of water, spray onto the affected area, leave for at least 20 minutes until it’s dry and wipe off. Make sure you dilute the concentration to less than 1% as it can irritate the skin – especially on babies and young children.
  • A carpet steam cleaner is another good option, if you have one.
  • Baking soda is great at removing bad smells – simply sprinkle on affected area, leave to sit for several hours and vacuum.
  • Wherever possible, avoid using liquid-based treatments as it will be difficult to dry completely, potentially making the problem worse.
  • Never leave windows open when you’re not in the car to prevent any water from getting in.
  • Clean up any spills immediately.
  • Seal any leaks immediately – preferably with professional help.
  • No matter what method you choose, always make sure you tackle all surrounding areas – as well as the affected part – to kill off the mold spores as well.
  • Leave windows open after treatment to ensure total drying. If the weather doesn’t allow for it, fans are always a good option – as is kitty litter or rice in a sock (yes, really!).



You can always count on us to Mini-mize your problem. When it comes to mold, just think of us as your very own Wing (mirror) man.

Want more? You can read other preventative tips here.

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1 comment

Peter November 4, 2019 - 4:32 pm

Hey – thanks putting time into this blog.
I was wondering whether you knew anything about mold or mildew coming from around car engines or through any systems at the front of the car ? (like aircon) I noticed in the past that when I have sprayed water from the windscreen wipers onto the windscreen the smell of mildew would com through my car.


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