Wondering how to get rid of car mildew? While there are a number of ways to remove this blight, and make your interior look and smell like new, it turns out the best way to fight the nasty odors and stains that come with mildew is to do your best to prevent it from ever getting a toehold in your vehicle in the first place. With this in mind, here are some tips to help you both prevent and deal with mildew in your automobile.
Keep Water Outside Where It Belongs
How does mildew get started? One word: moisture. Keeping your car’s interior as dry as possible is your best weapon against mildew, which means you need to ensure that every entry point for water is properly sealed. Window-stripping, windshield trim, the drains for your sunroof, door trim and the rubber sealant for your trunk all need to be doing their job to keep your car waterproof. It’s easy to test each of these problem areas with a garden hose to see if they leak when sprayed. If they do, then it’s time to replace them as quickly as possible.
Careful When Cleaning
Another way mildew can find its way inside your car, is when you’re cleaning. Everyone knows that you need to soak up a spilled drink as soon as you can, but you also have to make sure not to drench your carpets, seats and dashboard with water when cleaning everything up. That liquid can easily sit inside your car’s fabrics and foster an environment where mildew sprouts in a short order. Drying is of the utmost importance when cleaning your car’s interior, especially if you live in a humid environment.
Get That Moisture Out
If you’ve found mildew in your car, it’s because moisture is already present. Time to go into attack mode: you’ll need to do your best to dry your car out, especially after you’ve cleaned it out using a liquid product.
First, take some baking soda and sprinkle it on your seats and carpets. After a couple of hours, this ultra-absorbent powder will not only have sucked up moisture from your car’s fabrics, but also from the immediate environment. Use a vacuum cleaner to remove the baking soda, and you’ll go a long way towards drying your passenger compartment in the process.
Baking soda also works wonders while your car is parked. Keep a small container of it open on the floor of your car and it will keep pulling water out of the air. Alternatively, you can also use a bag of rice to accomplish the same thing, as the dried grains puff up when they come into contact with moisture.
Mildew in your car is as unsightly as it is smelly. They key to combat this common problem is prevention. But should moisture still find its way into your vehicle, address the problem head on and make sure you do it fast!
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Photo courtesy of pxfuel.
Having been bitten by the car bug at a young age, I spent my formative years surrounded by Studebakers at car shows across Quebec and the northeastern United States. Over ten years of racing, restoring, and obsessing over automobiles lead me to balance science writing and automotive journalism full time. I currently contribute as an editor to several online and print automotive publications, and I also write and consult for the pharmaceutical and medical device industry.