4 Ways To Get Rid Of Mold Inside Your Car

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Mold is dangerous whether it’s inside your car or inside your home. If you have mold inside your car, you should take immediate action to get rid of it.

But, what is the best way to get rid of mold from inside your car? Don’t worry; we have multiple ways you can use to get rid of mold.

In this post, I’ll go over three effective ways to get rid of mold inside your car and what you can do to prevent it.

Let’s get started.

1. Clean with White Vinegar

Most people believe that using strong chemicals such as ammonia and bleach is the most effective against mold. This is not the case. The EPA states that bleach and ammonia are only effective against non-porous surfaces. 

On porous surfaces, you want to use vinegar to kill mold. In either case, you can use vinegar, ammonia, or bleach to get rid of mold on surfaces that you can easily penetrate. 

I recommend using these solutions on carpets, headliners, and seat covers. 

Vinegar with higher concentrations of acetic acid is more effective. Traditional white vinegar only has around 20% acetic acid. 

You can easily purchase vinegar with concentrations of 35% and as high as 70%. 

  1. Once you have your vinegar, you can use a spray bottle to spray any areas that you see mold. Let the vinegar sit for between 20 minutes to 45 minutes. 
  2. Use a stiff bristle brush to remove any visible mold. 
  3. Use a clean, damp cloth to remove any vinegar and remaining mold. 
  4. Use a HEPA vacuum or Wet-Dry Vaccum to remove any remaining moisture.  

2. Use Steam on Porous Surfaces

It might seem counterproductive to try and eliminate mold with steam. However, since moisture is the root cause of mold, not steaming properly can make the issue worse.

The reality is that when done properly, the high temperatures of steam can kill all mold. The key is to make sure you let the material dry completely to prevent any mold from growing back.

Steam allows you to get into porous surfaces such as cushions, pillows, or seats. This is something you can do with vinegar or bleach.

It’s important that you allow the steam to penetrate deep into any areas that you suspect mold in your car.

After you finish steaming any areas that you suspect have mold, you can use a wet-dry vacuum to eliminate any excess moisture in the porous of your seats or cushions.

This will prevent any old from growing back.

3. Remove and Replace any Moldy Areas.

One of the most effective ways to get rid of mold is to remove anything that has mold growing on it. Inside cars, this is difficult and expensive yet effective.

Certain parts of your car are better off replacing than cleaning. This is especially true for parts that you can easily remove, such as floor mats, seat covers, and any other fabric covers.

Other parts of your car, such as carpets and headliners, are more difficult to replace, but they are also hard to clean and ensure all the mold is removed.

Headliners are much easier to repair than the carpet of your vehicle, although it requires some skill.

To repair your headliner and carpet, you can hire a professional auto-body shop or detailing service. I recommend you opt for an auto-body shop sine they usually charge lower rates for these services.

4. Seek Professional Assistance

Another way you can get rid of mold inside your car is to have professional detailers clean your car. Most professional detailers offer mold removal. 

This is a much easier way that will allow you to be sure that all the mold will be removed from your car.

Mold removal is typically an expensive service. The price will vary depending on where you live.  In most cases, you can expect to pay between $300 and $700. 

If the mold is consolidated to a single area then you can likey get the service completed for cheaper. 

What Parts of Your Car Should You Replace If They Have Mold?

There are certain parts of your car that you should replace rather than trying to clean it or remove the mold. These areas are either easy and inexpensive to replace or very hard to clean. 

Some of the key areas of your car that you should replace rather than clean are: 

  • Carpet Floor Mats
  • Interior Carpet 
  • Cloth Seat covers 
  • Headliner


Floor Mats

Floor mats are inexpensive and easy to purchase. This makes them much easier to replace than to try and clean the mold off. 


Interior Carpet

When there is extensive mold growing beneath and on top of the carpet, it’s hard to determine when you’ve removed the mold. This makes it safer to replace to prevent the mold from growing back completely. 


Fabric Seat Covers

Fabric seat covers are similar to floor mats. They are inexpensive, and it’s much easier to replace them than try and clean them. 



One of the most common areas that get water damaged and begins growing mold is the headliner. These can be hard to clean, and the mold tends to leave stains that won’t come off. In severe cases, you are better off replacing your headliner than trying to clean it. 

How To Prevent Mold Inside your Car?

1. Vacuum your Car

Vacuuming your vehicle will suck old food, crumbs, and moisture out of your carpet. This best practice will help ensure your interior carpet and car seats don’t get moldy.

Vacuuming your vehicle out also allows you to take the time to make sure large pieces of food aren’t stuck under your car seats.

If your vehicle carpet has a mild amount of mold on the surface. Vacuuming can help to suck up the mold removing the mold from your vehicle’s interior.

2. Air out your vehicle

After your vehicle was exposed to water damage, open all the doors will help dry out your interior on a warm sunny day.

This practice will help your interior from molding by drying out trapped moisture. This method will only work on warm days with no rain showers. If it’s cold outside, your interior will not dry due to the cold weather. The interior moisture will freeze in weather under 32 degrees.

3. Turn on Your Heat

When your interior is wet during the wintertime or a cold day, keep all the doors and windows closed and turning the heat on to the highest setting.

The heater will help dry the moisture inside your vehicle’s interior. This method can be used during the summer or springtime of the year.

Notice running the heat inside the vehicle will burning fuel costing you more money to dry out your vehicle. Outside warm air is the best practice when trying to dry out the vehicle interior.

4. seal your Car

An easy to prevent mold from growing inside your car is to seal your car properly. To seal your car you want to make sure you want to check and re-apply the weather proofing around your doors and windows. This will prevent any unwanted leaks into your car.

You also want to make sure you close your windows and doors properly any time that you leave your car. Especially if it’s expected to rain or if you are going to wash your car. 

As a safety measure, you can inspect your doors and windows to make sure that they align up properly. A common issue that arises with older cars is that windows can fall off the tracks. This can leave gaps in your windows even though it may appear like they are rolled all the way up. 

What health problems can mold cause?

Mold is dangerous. When people are exposed to mold is can cause health issues. 

Some health problems mold can cause is: 

  • Itchy eyes
  • Skin rash
  • Stuffy nose
  • Wheezing

Countless health and world organizations have confirmed the health problems that mold can cause. 

The problems and symptoms and mold can vary from person to person. But, these symptoms and the health issues should not be taken lightly. 

If you suspect mold inside your car, you should address the issue immediately. Since cars are small, enclosed locations, it’s nearly impossible to avoid ingesting the mold when it’s growing inside your car. 

Why Does Mold Grow Inside Vehicles?

Mold grows inside your vehicle due to excess moisture. 

Moisture doesn’t enter vehicles. Naturally, there must be an issue allowing moisture to get trapped inside. 

Some common reasons that moisture gets inside a vehicle is: 

  • Damaged weather stripping 
  • Door left open
  • Trunk left open 
  • Windows left open 
  • Cracks in windows or the frame of the vehicle
  • Keeping your windows open during a rain shower
  • Spilled drink that isn’t dried fast enough 
  • Worn out Weather stripping that leaks water during rain showers.
  • Keeping the doors or trunk lip open during rain showers. 
  • Old food that was forgotten about 
  • A wet carpet that wasn’t dried enough 
  • Wet cloth seats that weren’t dried timely fashion 
  • Wet headliner overtime will mold from trapped moisture 

 When mold gets trapped inside vehicles such as carpet, upholstery, or other surfaces, mold can begin to grow. 

How To Get Rid Of Mold Smell in Your Car?

The best way to get rid of the mold smell is to first remove the mold. You want to clean and get rid of the mold smell before you take any steps to try and eliminate the smell. 

Once you have cleaned your car throughly of any mold, you can start trying to eliminate the smell. Many times cleaning and removing the mold will help with the smell. 

Nest, you can air out your car to help remove any additional mold smell. 

Finally, use a car freshener to help eliminate any remaining small from the mold. 

Is it Safe To Drive With Mold

No, it’s not safe to drive with mold inside your car. If you know you have mold inside your car you should wear a protective mask to prevent any serious health effects. 

Although, driving with mold won’t cause any immediate harm. Being in a small enclosed area with mold, such as a car, can cause serious health effects in the future. 

These side effects include asthma, skin rash, itchy eyes, stuffy nose, and in severe cases respiratory infections and diseases. 

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