Is there an unpleasant smell in your car? Or perhaps you have noticed patches of black on the seats or the carpet of your vehicle.
Mold is something that you will want to avoid in your car as it can quickly develop into a big problem that may affect not only the quality of your car but also your health. We take a look at recognizing signs of mold on your car carpet and tips on how to clean it and prevent it from reoccurring.
- How Does Mold Develop on Car Carpets?
- Recognizing Mold
- Cleaning Mold Basics
- Safely Cleaning Mold for your Car
- Clear the Area
- Items Needed to Clean Mold from your Car
- 10 Steps to Cleaning Mold off your Car Carpet
- 1. Prepare your car for cleaning
- 2. Ventilate the Car
- 3. Take out Carpets
- 4. Vacuum the Carpets
- 5. Make up a Solution
- 6. Spray the Solution
- 7. Scrub
- 8. Scrub with Water
- 9. Dry
- 10. Clean the Area Underneath the Carpet
- Preventing Mold from Re-appearing
- Expert Help
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How Does Mold Develop on Car Carpets?
There are many ways that mold can develop in the carpet of your car with the most common being that moisture leaks into your car.
Water can enter the car when you open the car when it is raining or if you have wet clothes and shoes or you may spill drinks without realizing that you have. If your carpets are not cleaned regularly and moisture is allowed to build up then mold can develop.
Removing mold as soon as you spot it is key to keeping on top of it and ensuring that there is less chance of it growing back. Mold will present itself in small black dots at first or you may not recognize it until it forms larger patches.
Then patches of mold may be a black or grey color but can sometimes take on a green color. It is best to inspect areas that are prone to mold, such as the carpet on the driver’s side where it will get the most wear and tear.
Cleaning Mold Basics
It is generally easy to clean mold and there is no expertise needed. If, however, mold has been allowed to grow significantly then you may need a professional valet to do the job or you may even need a brand new carpet fitted in your car.
There are various ways rot clean the mold from your carpet ranging from using store-bought sprays to making solutions at home. Usually, mold can be cleared off within minutes but sometimes it may take up to three hours in the case of extreme cases.
Safely Cleaning Mold for your Car
Before you begin to clean your carpet of mold you should make sure you do it safely. Wearing gloves to protect your skin and goggles to protect your eyes will ensure that the mold does not affect your health.
You may also want to wear a mask to protect your respiratory system, especially if you have any conditions such as asthma and allergies. If you are using a store-bought cleaning product then you should always check the safety instructions on the packet.
You should also ensure that you wear old clothing if you are using chemicals to clean mold so you don’t ruin your favorite shirt. Even when wearing protective equipment you should wash your hands thoroughly with soap and warm water to remove any traces of mold.
It is good practice to have your windows open while you are cleaning your car and, if possible, for a little while after to let the air circulate and any mold and dust particles leave the car. If you are cleaning the car in your garage then open the garage door so the air can fully circulate.
Clear the Area
Before you begin cleaning the mold out of the carpet you need to make sure you clear the area beforehand. If there are items on the floor that have been affected by mold they will either need cleaning too or disposing of if they are no longer useful.
Items Needed to Clean Mold from your Car
- Eye protection
- Vacuum cleaner
- Scrubbing brush
- Spray bottle
- Cleaning solution (homemade or pre-made)
10 Steps to Cleaning Mold off your Car Carpet
1. Prepare your car for cleaning
You should empty as much rubbish and personal belongings from your car to give you room to clean. As advised earlier, you should clean or dispose of any items in your car that have been affected by mold.
2. Ventilate the Car
Drive your car to a place where it is safe to clean with the garage door open and windows open, where applicable.
3. Take out Carpets
If you have carpets that can be removed from the car then you should take them out and lay them on a flat surface sun as the pavement or the garage floor. This will make the carpets easier to clean and you can allow them to dry out in the open.
There may be some cars that have carpet that cannot be removed or there is mold around where the carpet has been. If this is the case then follow the instructions but inside the car rather than on a flat surface.
4. Vacuum the Carpets
You should vacuum the carpets to remove any surface dirt which will make it easier to clean the mold. You should empty your vacuum cylinder and clean it thoroughly before using it again.
While you have your vacuum cleaner out you should vacuum the seats too as some mold spores may have reached the surface even if you cannot see any signs of mold on the seats.
5. Make up a Solution
Filled a clean spray bottle with distilled white vinegar or bleach, depending on your preference, diluted in water. Bleach does work well to clean mold but some people prefer to use more natural homemade products using ingredients that they have around the home.
If you are using bleach you should test out a small area of the carpet that is hidden to ensure that you do not stain the material. If you see a stain then you will need to add more water to your bleach solution.
If you regularly use a bleach solution you will gradually see a slight change in the color of the carpet, however, we will look at ways of preventing mold later in the article.
6. Spray the Solution
Spray the solution you have made directly onto the carpet and any other areas of your car that has mold. You should be careful not to soak the carpet but use the spray generously to target the stains.
Scrub the stain with a brush to work the dirt out of the carpet with the help of the solution.
8. Scrub with Water
Clean the brush with water and scrub the area again to get rid of any remaining solution
Allow the carpets to dry fully before putting them back in your car.
10. Clean the Area Underneath the Carpet
Wipe down the bottom of the car in the area that the carpet will sit on top of when you put the carpets back in the car.
Preventing Mold from Re-appearing
Once you have cleaned your carpets it is important to prevent mold from appearing again. You should not leave it down to smell alone as the early stages of mold may not smell and by the time you do smell it, you could be too late.
The key thing that you can do to prevent mold is to clean your car regularly, especially when the weather is cold and wet and your car gets very dirty from lots of foot traffic inside.
A quick wipe-down of the interior of your car followed by vacuuming your carpets and cleaning them down once a month can keep on top of excess dirt. If you do happen to spill drinks or any food in your car you should wipe it up fully straightaway rather than leave it to get worse.
You should also check your car doors and windows for any signs of damaged seals that may be allowing moisture in. If you do spot a leak or a broken seal then take it to a garage or your car dealer to repair it.
Paying attention to the climate of your car is also important so keep your car at a good temperature so that there is not a lot of moisture in the car. You should check the filters on the system regularly or ask a mechanic to do this for you when you service your car.
If you follow the above procedure to get rid of mold and you find that you still have a problem then you may need to turn to expert help. Your local hardware store or large grocery store will have mold-killing sprays that may work better than your homemade solution or diluted bleach.
If there is still a mold problem and you do not want to get rid of expensive carpets then you can seek a professional cleaner or valet service. If you find that your car is prone to mold then you may want to buy cheaper carpets that can be replaced easily if mold cannot be cleaned sufficiently.
Last update on 2023-06-09 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API