How To Remove Mold From Car Seats, Carpets or Interior

Mold can grow on pretty much anything, and cars are no exception. Just like our homes, our cars are also susceptible to moisture problems, which is what ultimately leads to mold and unpleasant odors.


Causes of car mold:

The best way to determine why mold is growing in your car and where it’s coming from is to find the moisture problem. Here are some of the most common ways moisture leads to mold in cars;

Car detailing: As illustrated in the example above, mold growth will occur if your car is not dried properly after cleaning and detailing. Making things worse is if you limit air exchange by closing windows and doors and leave the car in a warm environment. In these cases, mold has everything it needs in order to thrive—moisture, a source of food and the right temperature—and you should expect to see visible growth within as little as 24 to 48 hours.

Car flooding: A car flood can occur if, for example, you accidentally leave your car window open during heavy rainfall or if your sunroof is not properly sealed. In these cases, your car interior can incur severe water damage, which may not be possible to dry and restore.

Cross-contamination: Plants, wood, pets and moldy objects can all carry mold spores, which have the ability to spread to and contaminate other materials they come into contact with. So if you’re transporting moldy materials in your car, chances are you’ll leave some mold spores behind. That’s why you should make sure to clean your car afterwards or, better yet, cover it up with plastic sheets if you know you’ll be transporting moldy goods.

Air conditioners: Turning on your car’s air conditioning system and getting ambushed with the stench of wet dog is not a pleasant experience to say the least. Unfortunately, for a lot of people, this is an everyday occurrence. In fact, air conditioners are one of the most common sources of mold and, thus, musty odors in cars.

There are a number of chemical ways to remove mold from car seats and most people would jump for the bleach or ammonia based products to kill it and clean the area, however this will not work!

First of all, those type of products will stain or bleach your car seats, carpet and interior. They also do not work well on hard or porous surfaces and will damage the color of your car’s interior.

Second, they will not kill the mold! They will change its color and may kill some of the surface mold initially, however, mold spores will still survive and even worse, mold will actually thrive and grow on ammonia, so it will get worse than when you started!

So what to do to remove mold from car seats and carpets? Luckily, mother nature has provided us with some natural, powerful and effective tools to kill mold on car seats, carpets and all interior, plus you can use the same for anywhere in your home.

porsche mold1

Preparing To Remove Mold From Car Seats and Interior

Before you get to the removing mold from your car steps, it is important to prepare your car first, to do this, follow these steps:

1.If possible, move your car somewhere into direct sunlight.

2.Open all the doors and windows to allow the car to fully air out, do this for at least 15 minutes to allow the mold spores to blow out and the bad odor that the mold is creating.

3.Get and wear a particle mask to protect you from breathing in the spores that are floating around.

4.Inspect all the seats of the car, underneath the seats, on the carpet, on the steering wheel, and on the seatbelts to understand the full extent of the mold. Make sure you check under the seat lining and side seams.

5.When looking for mold in your car, make sure you look for all types of mold, which can range in colors from brown, grey, white, green or black. It will usually be in small circular patches.

6.Using an old toothbrush, try to break up large clusters of mold, using gentle strokes to avoid spreading the spores around further. Remember to brush into all cracks and crevices, under and over the seats and surfaces.

7.If you have access to a wet-dry vacuum cleaner, use it now to vacuum up all the loose mold from the car seats and carpet that you have freed up.

Once you have completed those steps, move on to the following steps to remove the mold from your car.


Remove Mold From Car Seats with White Vinegar

Vinegar Kills Mold On Car Seats and Carpets

One of the best ways to get rid of mold on car seats, car carpet, interior or anywhere that mold grows in your home, is to use white vinegar or alcohol. White vinegar is an acid, so it will burn the mold and its spores to kill it and stop it coming back.

What you will need to remove mold with vinegar:

1.White Vinegar, distilled if possible as it is stronger.

2.Tap Water.

3.A Clean spray bottle or clean cloths.


To use vinegar to remove mold from your car seats, mix eight parts of white vinegar to two parts of water and use either a clean cloth to dab it on, or put the mixture in a spray bottle and spray over the surface until it is soaked. Don’t worry about the strong vinegar smell, it will disappear as it dries out with air.

You can use undiluted vinegar if the infestation is bad. White vinegar works well on any type of car seats including leather, vinyl and cloth-type seats and will not damage the materials.


* It is a good idea to test a small inconspicuous area to ensure there is no reaction on the surface or material you are using it on.

 If there are only a few clusters of mold, just spray or dab over the area plus up to about one or two feet surrounding the area, the aim is to kill the underlying spores as well. If the infestation is quite severe, spray over the whole car seat from top to bottom and underneath.

Once you have applied the vinegar to your car seats or carpet, let it soak in for a good 15 minutes or more, this is the time it will kill the mold and spores. Then if you have access to a wet-dry vacuum, use it to vacuum up the still wet vinegar and make sure to remove it from all seams and joint areas. If you do not have a wet-dry vacuum, wait for the areas to fully dry, then vacuum over the seats or carpet again. Let the whole area air dry for another 15 minutes.

You can then sprinkle some Borax powder over the seat or carpet and let that sit for 10 minutes and then vacuum that up as well. Borax is also a natural mold killer and you can use it on car seats, carpets and any interior hard or soft surfaces to remove mold. You can repeat this cleaning method as often as required.

Get the moisture out of your car. Mold grows on moisture, so it’s very important to get all moisture out of your car. You can do this with a dehumidifier or even kitty litter inside a sock and left in your car. The important thing to remember is that if your car is completely dry, the mold will literally be killed.


“3 Natural Ways To Remove Mold From Car Seats and Interior.” Web blog post. Wheels Guide. 5 Aug. 2016.

Images provided by Google.


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