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How to Get Rid of Mold in a Car

A sedan in a flooded area faces potential water damage and mold problems.

Knowing how to get rid of mold in a car is essential when your interior has been exposed to moisture. Mold could form due to a window or sunroof accidentally being left open, a spilled drink, a flood or a number of other causes, but the result tends to be the same: If you don’t get the liquid cleaned up, then you’ll be left with a dank, moldy smell. To guard against this, here’s how to get rid of mold in a car.

Act QuicklyWet Car

As soon as you realize your car interior was exposed to water, make every effort to dry it out as quickly as possible. The longer that water sits, the more likely it is to cause mold and start to smell. Use towels or dry cloths to soak up any visible water, and blot to absorb as much as possible from fabric seats and floors. If the weather is warm with no signs of rain, parking in the sun and leaving the doors or windows open for the day can also help dry out the car.

Use a Wet/Dry Vacuum

If the amount of water is more significant — especially if it’s enough to pool in the footwells and create an unwelcome pond — then you should consider a wet/dry vacuum. Water that gets between the carpet and the metal floor of the car is next to impossible to absorb with towels, but using a wet/dry vacuum can pull more of the moisture from the carpeting and help avoid a mold problem later.

Getting Rid of Mold

In the event that there’s still some moisture left on absorbent surfaces, you may need something that will get rid of mold and mildew that thrives in damp conditions. A mildew stain remover is an easy and affordable way to get rid of mildew and eliminate that musty smell. Apply it as soon as you see or smell a problem. The longer you wait to take action, the harder it might be to fix the issue.

The key to getting rid of mold in your car is ensuring that you dry the vehicle out as thoroughly as possible as soon as you notice the problem. Eliminate as much of the water as you can as quickly as you can to keep your interior in good condition for years to come. Just make sure to keep your interior clean.

Check out all the mold and mildew removal products available on NAPA Online, or trust one of our 17,000 NAPA AutoCare locations for routine maintenance and repairs. For more information about getting rid of mold in a car, chat with a knowledgeable expert at your local NAPA AUTO PARTS store.

Photo courtesy of Flickr.


Nicole Wakelin View All

Nicole Wakelin covers the automotive industry as a freelance journalist for a variety of outlets. Her work includes news pieces, podcasts, radio, written reviews, and video reviews. She can be found in The Boston Globe, CarGurus, BestRide, US News and World Report, and AAA along with lifestyle blogs like Be Car Chic, The Other PTA, and She Buys Cars. She is active on social media with a large following on both Twitter and Instagram and currently serves as Vice President of the New England Motor Press Association.

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