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How to Easily Get Rid of Mold in Your Car Interior

Car interior

Mold in your car’s interior is not only unsightly, but it can also be dangerous for your health. A car left standing for an extended period can easily have mold appear inside it, especially if your car has any moisture trapped inside. Black mold in particular is a dangerous mold to breathe in, and you’ll want to get rid of it as soon as possible.

Mold left unchecked in your car can spread quickly, and potentially damage the interior of your vehicle. Not only that, but it will also give your interior a musty smell that can be hard to get rid of.

There are a variety of solutions to ridding your car of mold, most of them involving natural and safe ingredients commonly found in your home. Let’s take a look at what they are and how to use them, as well as how to keep the mold out permanently.

Here Are a Few Points to Consider Before Getting Started:

Car with molds
Image credit: Car with molds by Balint Barnus, Pexels

What Surface Is the Mold Growing On?

Leather, carpeting, and thin fabrics are usually fairly easy to rid of mold, as it will generally be restricted to the surface. Upholstery and cushioned seats can be a more difficult fix, as most of the mold is hidden deep beneath the foam. In this case, a simple brush and clean may not be enough, and you’ll need a product of some kind or possibly even a steam clean.

What Type of Mold Is Growing?

As we mentioned earlier, most molds are relativity harmless. But Stachybotrys chartarum, commonly known as black mold, can produce nasty symptoms from too much exposure. If black mold is growing your car, you’ll want to get rid of it as soon as possible.

Car with molds
Image credit: Car with molds by MichaelGaida, Pixabay

How Much Mold Is Growing?

If you have one patch of mold growing, the chances are high that there may be more elsewhere in your car. Do a thorough check to see if the mold is isolated or growing in other areas that are dark and damp, like underneath and behind the seats. If you have removable seat covers, take them off and check if the mold has gone into the upholstery.

After you’ve completed these basic checks, it’s time to dive in and get rid of your car’s mold for good!

1. Sunlight

The first and most effective step is sunlight. Mold needs a dark and moist environment to thrive, so an obvious solution is direct sunlight. Best of all, it’s free! Take your car into a spot with direct sunlight, and open all the doors to air it out and get rid of any moisture that may be trapped inside. This will also rid the car’s interior of any trapped spores that may be floating around, so you don’t breathe them in.

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This process will dry the car out and help remove excess spore, but it is only the first step. You’ll still need to manually remove the mold where it is growing.

2. Brushing

For this step, we strongly advise a dust mask or something similar to cover your mouth and nose to avoid breathing in any spores that are bound to still be lurking around. You’ll need a strong wire brush and a pan to scoop the mold into. Try and brush the affected area as gently as possible, in order to not spread the mold spore around any further. Once you’ve cleaned off as much as you can with the brush, you’ll need a bucket of soapy water and a rough cloth to clean off the remaining mold. Remember to keep your car in the sun and aerated as much as possible at this point.

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The chances are that UV exposure and brushing will not be quite sufficient to completely rid your car’s interior of mold. There are a few easy-to-find and affordable products that can be found in your home, to aid you in your mold conquest.

3. Salt

The first solution is standard table salt. This will usually kill the mold on contact and is an easy and cheap —  albeit messy — solution. Simply mix salt into a bucket of water or a hand sprayer. A few tablespoons should do it, but of course, this depends on how much mold you are dealing with. Spray onto and around the affected area, and let it dry for a few minutes. You will then be left with a crusty salt layer that can be easily swept up with a brush. Make sure you leave the area to dry thoroughly, to avoid further contamination.

4. White Vinegar

Vinegar
Image credit: Vinegar by evita-ochel, Pixabay

White vinegar is also a highly effective and affordable solution. It may leave your car a bit smelly in the short term, but it will effectively kill the mold. The steps are the same as with the salt: Mix the vinegar with water, and adjust the ratio depending on how severe the mold growth is. Half and half should do for less-severe situations. Be sure to spray not only the affected area but also all around it. Again, be sure to let it dry out completely.

5. Clove Oil

Our third DIY solution is another smelly one: clove oil. This is a powerful antiseptic that will kill the mold on contact and prevent its spread. The steps for application are the same as the above two, but clove oil is a powerful product, and you’ll only need a few drops in a spray bottle of water for it to work effectively.

6. Baking Soda

Baking soda
Image credit: Baking soda by evita-ochel, Pixabay

Our final DIY solution for mold removal is another common household product: baking soda. This is especially effective when mixed with vinegar, as they foam up when they come into contact. Simply sprinkle a large amount of baking soda onto the affected area, and leave it to sit for 10 or 15 minutes. This will kill the mold and soak up any excess moisture. Once it forms a moist paste, you can simply remove it with a brush.

For added benefit, sprinkle the baking soda, and then spray on vinegar solution to really make sure the mold is dead.

If your car is severely affected and these home remedies aren’t doing it for you, there are powerful and effective products made especially for mold removal.

This combination of fungicide and mold stain remover will effectively clean and disinfect your car in 15 seconds. They both come in a convenient spray bottle for easy application and will kill 99% of bacteria. Be sure to wear a face mask and gloves, as these are strong chemicals.

Tips to Keep Mold From Returning

Now that you’ve effectively removed the mold from your car’s interior, here are a few tips to keep it from coming back.

  • Make sure all your windows are closed during rainstorms,
  • Check for any leaks and seal them.
  • Dry any wet areas immediately and remove any wet clothing.
  • Clean your seat covers and upholstery regularly.
  • Occasionally park your car in the sun with all the doors open.
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Summary

While mold can quickly become a problem, it is easily mitigated by following the above steps. Simple household products can save you money if used correctly and quickly, before the problem gets out of hand.

Remember, prevention is better than the cure, so keeping your car’s interior dry and aerated should keep your car mold free for years to come!


Featured image credit: Car interior by MikesPhotos, Pixabay

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