How to Clean Mold Out of Car

Published by Jeff Torres

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How to Clean Mold Out of Car

You should be alarmed even if you notice the slightest signs of mold in your car and act immediately. Not only can it spread quickly and ruin the visual appearance of your vehicle, but it might also be a health hazard. Because of this, it’s best to hire professionals like us to do the job for you. But if you want to do it on your own, we will explain how to clean mold out of car in a few steps.

Here, we have some expert tips for cleaning mold out of your car’s interior that will make the process easier. So, without further ado, let’s reveal the most effective ways to deal with mold in your vehicle.

How to Clean Mold Out of Car

How to Clean Mold Out of Car

Mold can appear on different surfaces. We are sure you are familiar with it appearing on food or your house, but did you know that your car can also have mold? Consequently, you should regularly check your vehicle and see whether it has signs of mold. The earlier you discover it, the easier it will be to clean it.

If you notice slight discoloration on your car’s interior, especially on the textile surfaces such as your seats and carpets, it might be that you have mold. Another indicator of mold in your vehicle is a strong smell that you can’t get rid of, no matter how much you ventilate. The smell is similar to the one sour milk has.

Safety precautions

There are several ways you can utilize to clean mold from your car. Whichever one you choose, you must be extremely careful. We recommend you  take at least the following safety precautions:

  • Wear non-porous gloves while cleaning to minimize the risk of skin irritation if you come in contact with the mold
  • Use a respirator or a high-quality mask to cover your face and protect your respiratory system from the mold spores
  • You can also protect yourself from eye irritations by wearing goggles or similar products

Once you are ready and protected, you can continue with the steps on how to get rid of mold in car.

Removing car interior mold

To remove the car interior mold, you can use different products you have at home, such as white vinegar, non-iodized salt, clove oil, and baking soda, or you can purchase special mold cleaning agents. All of these are safe for mold removal from your car seats, seatbelts, dashboard, ceiling, and every other surface.

Except for the solution you will choose to clean with, generally, you will also need:

  • A vacuum cleaner, preferably a wet-dry one,
  • Spray bottle and a bucket,
  • Toothbrush for the places that are hard to reach,
  • Clean cloths, and
  • Protective gear.

Never use heavy-duty cleaning products in your car to remove the mold. This includes bleach and ammonia.

Firstly, you must park your car in bright sunlight. At best, start the cleaning process in the morning so you have enough time to use the daylight. Ventilate the car by rolling down the windows and opening all doors. Clean your car thoroughly and remove any excess debris you have lying around.

Removing car interior mold

White vinegar

White vinegar is known for its antifungal and antibacterial features. It contains acetic acid, making it suitable for cleaning mold. White vinegar can also interfere with mold growth and other similar microorganisms.

Mix eight parts of vinegar with two parts of water. To apply the white vinegar, you can use either a spray bottle or a piece of cloth. If there is not a significant amount of mold, you should dilute the vinegar with water.

Continue by lightly scrubbing the affected area. When you are done with scrubbing, you should leave the white vinegar to dry. It will typically need twenty minutes, but it can take longer, depending on the amount you have used. Ultimately, you should use a vacuum cleaner to clean your entire car.

Expert tip: If your car’s interior has aluminum, copper, or stainless steel parts, don’t use white vinegar on them. The white vinegar might cause a metal corrosion. 

Non-iodized salt

Non-iodized salt can also help you get rid of the mold in your car. It is a natural mold-fighting agent that is especially useful if you are looking for ways how to clean mold off car seats. 

The salt is capable of drawing the water out of the seats and not allowing the mold spores to grow. Once the salt dehydrates the mold, it will no longer have a source of life and will eventually die.

To clean the mold out of your car with non-iodized salt, you should follow these steps:

  • Get rid of the surface mold by vacuuming the area,
  • Prepare a mixture of water and salt and ensure it is well concentrated, it’s recommended to add one cup of salt to a small bucket of water.
  • Apply the solution in every area where you have noticed mold,
  • Let the car in direct sunlight until it is completely dry,
  • Use water to remove the mold residue,
  • Vacuum the car.

Clove oil

If you are looking for other alternatives on how to get mold out of car carpets and other interior parts, you can use clove oil. To prepare the cleaning solution, you should mix one teaspoon of clove oil with 33 fluid ounces of water. Then, apply it to the mold-affected area and scrub it until it is clean. Just like the other methods, the longer you leave it to dry, the better. After that, clean it and vacuum it.

Baking Soda

Baking soda has properties that might dissolve many organic materials, including mold. It absorbs moisture and may eliminate mold odors. Prepare a mixture of baking soda and warm water. For each cup of water, add one-quarter tablespoon of baking soda. To clean the mold in your car with baking soda, you just need to sprinkle some on the desired area, let it sit for at least 20 minutes, and scrub it.

Tips for Preventing Mold from Appearing in Your Car

It is not all about knowing how to clean mold out of car. You must take proper preventive measures to minimize the risk of mold recurrence in your vehicle. First of all, you should have a general idea of why and how does mold appear.

The two most common reasons for mold appearance are high moisture and extreme temperatures. Hence, cars that are stored for a long time in hot and wet places create the perfect environment for mold gathering and spreading.

Having this in mind, the best ways to prevent mold in your vehicle are:

  • Avoid leaving your car in humid and hot places
  • Always ensure your windows are entirely shut down when you are not using the car
  • If possible, don’t eat or drink in your car, if you do, at least put seat covers and rubber floor mats
  • Regularly clean, disinfect and dry your car
  • Maintain your heating and cooling system to prevent condensation and airflow issues, which can help mold appear and grow
  • Spray your car with fungicide every few months
  • Use a dehumidifier to reduce the humidity in your car

Most importantly, as OSHA recommends, get rid of all porous materials that have mold. Although they can be cleaned, they can’t be entirely decontaminated. Unfortunately, they might continue being an active source of mold growth after time.

Know When It is Time to Call Us

Removing the mold out of your car at home is not an easy feat. Although it seems simple to follow the steps we provided on how to get mildew out of car, you can’t be sure that you have cleaned it all. Due to its hazardous nature, it is important to seek professional assistance.

So, if the mold reappears after cleaning it, it might be best to give us a call and make an appointment. We have specialized machinery for cleaning and disinfecting your car that may help.

Also, if the mold has affected a larger area of your vehicle, it is highly unlikely that you can clean it by yourself. In addition, we are familiar with all mold types and know how to identify them and treat them.

Ultimately, if you have any health issues, especially conditions that make it hard for you to breathe, you shouldn’t clean the mold on your own. Getting exposed to mold may worsen your symptoms and overall health.

Know When It is Time to Call Us


Having mold in your car is a serious issue, and you must act immediately. It is best if you contact us as professional car detailers and let us clean your vehicle thoroughly. But, if you insist on doing it yourself, you can utilize one of the ways how to clean mold out of car we’ve covered. Follow our expert tips and tricks, and you shouldn’t face any challenges.

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