Photo: PattyPhoto (Shutterstock)
Owning a car or other vehicle can be a mixed bag. On the one hand, you have the freedom to go anywhere without having to rely on public transportation or your own feet – something that made them particularly desirable during the pandemic. On the other hand, your expenses can quickly add up between insurance, gasoline, tolls, and regular maintenance.
And then there are other situations that arise unexpectedly: like opening the car door one morning and being greeted by the sight and / or smell of mold. If you have the financial means to take your vehicle to a professional and have them deal with the mold situation, that’s great. But if this is not an expense you had on your monthly budget, you can do it yourself at home. Here is how.
Why do cars go moldy?
The most common reason vehicles get moldy inside is because Moisture somehow penetrates your interior. This could be because you leave the windows or sunroof open when it rains, or you spill a large amount of liquid which is then soaked into the upholstery. Mold grows and spreads even faster if your vehicle is kept in a warm location with a damp interior.
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We should note that these are vehicles with relatively minor mold problems caused by spills or water ingress during a few hours of rain – not the kind you might see in a car abandoned or sitting outside for years (or even decades). In this case, you will need a lot more help.
How to remove mold from the interior of a vehicle
First, a word about why it is so important to invest the time and effort in getting rid of mold in your car. While there are different types of mold – some of them are more more harmful than others– In general, at no point is it something you want to be around (especially if you have allergies).
Thankfully, Chris has Teague put together at The Drive a handy guide to removing DIY vehicle mold.
What you will need:
- spray bottle
- Towels or rags
- Eye protection
- White distilled vinegar
- Car cleaning wipes
- Spray carpet or vehicle interior cleaner
What should I do:
Prepare the car for cleaning:
Before you can start scrubbing or cleaning the mold, make sure that the interior of the vehicle is at least partially cleaned.
- Remove trash, personal items, paperwork, and other items from the interior. Throw away anything that has mold on it.
- Thoroughly vacuum carpets, seats, and other soft surfaces.
- Inspect the vehicle for leaks and damaged seals. Moisture entering the vehicle will help the mold grow further. If there is a leak and you don’t fix it, you will likely be removing mold from your car again in the future.
- Fill your spray bottle with white distilled vinegar. It is imperative to use a new spray bottle whenever possible, as residue left in the bottle from previous use can cause problems. If you don’t like vinegar, you can use bleach diluted in water, but you’ll need to test it on a hidden spot on your car to make sure you don’t kill the colors
- Spray the solution directly on carpeting, seats, and any other surface that has mold on it. Thoroughly saturate the area.
- Use a brush to apply the vinegar solution to the affected area and spray more if needed.
- Let the surfaces dry. If you have a garage where the car can be safely parked inside, it is best to keep the windows down to let fresh air in and out.
There is a lot more information in Teagues guideYou can find more tips here.