Can mold grow in your car? Yes, and very easily, too. Car can become an ideal environment for mold. Warm temperature, poor circulation, spillage, poor cleanliness, and a leak can cause mold in car. Mold will damage your car interior, spread odor, and even cause health risks to your passengers.
Table of Contents
- A. Signs of Mold in Your Car
- B. Risks of Mold in Car
- C. How to Remove Mold from Windows
- D. How to Remove Mold from Carpet and Upholstery
- E. How to Prevent Mold from the Car
- F. Tips to Reduce Musty Smell
A. Signs of Mold in Your Car
Car can be a perfect environment for common mold, including black mold. However, how can you tell if there is mold in car? The first clue is usually the odor. Mold smell in car is musty and sour, almost like spoilt milk. If you immediately spot the smell when opening the car door, it can be a dead giveaway.
Another sign of molds presence in a car is the physical reaction. If there is black mold in car, for example, you may experience eye irritation, red nose, or sneezing because of flying spores. You will immediately notice the signs even though the black mold may be disguised on the car carpet.
The last signs are the visible stains on parts such as carpet, windows, or upholstery. These spots may look like a dark stain or even hard lumps (if the car is completely neglected). However, you usually catch the non-visual signs first before seeing the mold.
B. Risks of Mold in Car
Mold in car health risks range from allergic reactions (sneezing, eye watering, red nose) to serious symptoms like wheezing breath and headache. People with respiratory or lung problems often have their symptoms triggered by mold. Babies, kids, and elderly people are also susceptible to the effects of mold exposure.
If the mold type in your car is black mold, it can be dangerous for people with low immunity. Black mold produces mycotoxin, which can compromise the health of people with leukemia, AIDS, or genetic immunodeficiency.
Other risks include lower car value if you intend to sell it, and annoyances during driving due to the smell and flying spores.
Read also: How Do You Know You Have Mold exposure
C. How to Remove Mold from Windows
Windows and window seals are favorite mold habitats because they often get wet. When you see small specks that are not dust, they may be mold. Here are car mold removal steps to clean window and window seals:
1. Clean with mild soap first
Use mild soap as the first cleaning step. The soap should not contain ammonia, especially if you want to clean the rubber window seals too. Mild dishwashing liquid can be a good start. Wet all the moldy areas with a mixture of dishwashing liquid and water.
2. Brush the mold
After wetting the moldy area, use a nylon brush to scrub the rubber seals. Do the same thing to the car windows: rub vigorously until you cannot see the specks. Use a sponge to soak up the wetness.
3. Apply chlorine bleach solution
Chlorine bleach solution will kill the remaining mold, preventing it from growing back. Mix a half a cup of bleach with five cups of water. Apply the solution with a clean cloth on the wet area.
Dry the entire parts as best as you can. Wear disposable gloves, mask, and goggles when you work with bleach. Don’t forget to open the car window to let warm sunlight in.
D. How to Remove Mold from Carpet and Upholstery
Mold in car carpet can be hard to distinguish from its surrounding. The same thing applies to car upholstery, especially if they have dark colors. If you notice the presence of mold, use these steps to clean it:
1. Prepare cleaner appliance and products
Steam cleaner is the best appliance to help you cleaning carpet and upholstery better. Make sure it can be used on car carpet as well as seats. Prepare regular car carpet shampoo.
2. Fill the steam cleaner
Mix the car shampoo based on its label. Fill the steam cleaner with this mixture, and start using the appliance directly on the problematic areas.
3. Adjust the attachment
When you try to clean difficult areas or narrow angles, try switching between cleaner attachments. Use upholstery attachment to reach narrow spaces between the seat parts.
4. Clean and dry for the final time
After you clean all the areas with a vacuum cleaner, wipe all the traces of shampoo. Use water to clean for the last time. Vacuum the wetness using a special vacuum cleaner that can work on a wet surface.
Don’t forget to open the car windows or doors. Warm temperature and fresh air will help to dry out your car better.
E. How to Prevent Mold from the Car
Keep the mold away by ensuring good circulation in the car. Whenever possible, open your car windows to let fresh air and sunshine go inside. On the other hand, when the rain comes, close the window quickly before any water manages to seep into the car windows and seals.
If possible, wash your car only during hot, dry hours. It will allow the sun to dry the wet car. Conduct a thorough search every few months to check if there are mold signs.
F. Tips to Reduce Musty Smell
You have sold the problem of mold growing in car. Unfortunately, the musty smell remains, even after you hang several air fresheners. What should you do? Try these steps:
1. Sprinkle baking soda
Baking soda has good odor-removal quality. Sprinkle fresh baking soda powder directly on carpet cleaner and upholstery. Also, sprinkle baking soda on spots that you previously cleaned from mold.
2. Leave and vacuum the baking soda
After sprinkling the baking soda, let it sits for five to six hours. When the smell remains, repeat the step. When the smell leaves, you can vacuum the powder.
3. Place odor removal product
If air freshener is not enough, try buying a special odor removal product. Unlike regular air freshener, this one contains odor-reduction elements, such as activated charcoal.
Depending on how bad the smell is, you may want to repeat the baking soda parts for two or three times. You can find any odor removal product that you like, but make sure it contains charcoal. Another alternative is to hang several bundles of ground coffee.
A car is not free from mold risk. Leak, rain, spillage, and poor circulation will lead to dangerous mold growth. Cleaning mold in car properly is important, especially because mold can show its effects before actually appearing on various surfaces.