Mold In The Car: How To Remove It

Mold In The Car: How To Remove It

You’ve probably dealt with a mold problem somewhere before in life, maybe in the bathroom where you had a leaking pipe or in your fridge after you forgot you left some fruit in there and it started to rot.

But when mold shows up in your car, it probably takes you by surprise, and you might be wondering how it even got there.

Mold is an organism that usually presents where there’s moisture or a lack of ventilation, and considering our cars live outside and are always exposed to the elements, it’s not a shock that they’ll grow some occasionally.

If you’ve discovered mold in your vehicle, the first thing you want to do is remove it, but then you’ll need to get to work figuring out how exactly it got there.

So, how do you get rid of mold in a car?

There are a few methods for removing mold from a car, including making DIY home sprays with ingredients like vinegar and bleach or having a specialist remove it if it’s a bigger problem than you can handle. The mold must be removed and killed to prevent its spread, and if it’s left untreated, there’s no doubt that it will get out of control.

If you’ve made the unlucky discovery in your vehicle, you’ve come to the right place.

We’ve got all of the answers about why mold grows in cars, how you can remove it efficiently, and how to make sure it never returns.

With just a little bit of effort you’ll have your car fungi-free and in the healthiest condition for you and your family to drive in.


The Health Effects And Risks Of Mold

Woman Sneezing In Car

When you discover a small amount of mold in your car, it might be easy to shrug it off and ignore it.

However, not only is mold unsightly and unpleasant smelling, it also poses a range of health risks and needs to be treated instantly, as soon as you find signs of it.

Mold is made up of lots of tiny spores, and these spores can become airborne which is what makes them such a hazard.

If there’s a patch of mold on a surface of your car, that means the air inside your car is full of them as well, and they’re dangerous for people to be around.

Mold spores are responsible for causing serious respiratory issues, and for the young or the elderly or people already suffering from existing conditions, they can be severe.

Mold is also responsible for other symptoms like coughing, wheezing, eye irritation, skin irritation, nasal blockages, and irritation of the throat.

The confined space of a car’s interior means there’s usually not a lot of fresh air available, and if you’re someone who runs the vehicle with a heater or air conditioner, these spores will simply be circulating every time you’re in it.

Therefore, mold has to be treated and removed the moment it’s found, no matter how large or small the outbreak appears to be.

How Do You Get Mold In A Car?

Mold is a living organism and it requires specific conditions to grow.

Mold reproduces with spores, which are carried through the air, and when they land on a surface that’s suitable for growth, they can expand quite quickly and spread throughout the car.

For mold to grow in a car, it needs to have water, oxygen, and food, so if these are readily available your chances of finding some are going to increase.

This could mean you’ve left food and crumbs on the floor, spilled something on the seat, the window has been left open and it’s been raining outside, or moisture is getting inside from a crack somewhere that let water in when you washed your car.

By not cleaning the inside of your car regularly, you’re also likely to invite mold growth, so it needs to be done at least once a month.

Not only does it help to remove any potential things that the organism can use to grow, but gives you a good look at the car’s interior to spot any mold outbreaks before they get serious.

Where Does Mold Form In A Car?

Mold In The Car

Mold can form anywhere inside of a car, but usually, it’s the places where its favorite conditions are met.

Mold loves low light and low ventilation areas, so you might find it’s growing underneath the seats or carpet, or even within air vents and places that don’t get a lot of sunlight shining in.

People who travel with children in their car might be more susceptible to mold growth because more crumbs get dropped in the back seat.

Because you rarely look in the back of the car if you’re the driver, mold can grow on anything that’s left behind, and quickly spread through the rest of the car.

Depending on where the mold is growing in your car, you might get a clue as to how it got there in the first place.

The discovery of mold could lead you to find other things like a window that’s not closing all the way or a crack in one of the door seals, so you’ll be able to rectify the issue there and then to prevent it from happening again.

How To Remove Car Mold

There are a few proven methods for removing mold that works well inside of a car, but each situation requires its own solution.

You’ll first need to assess a few things like the type of mold, where it’s growing, and the severity of the outbreak.

With some idea of what you’re dealing with, you can choose the method that’s going to be most successful in helping you eliminate the mold.

DIY Sprays

A DIY spray for mold can be just as helpful as a store-bought one, provided you’re using the right ingredients.

If you’re someone who prefers a homemade approach, you can try treating it with a spray you’ve made yourself to see if it’s effective.

Ingredients like white vinegar, clove oil, and household bleach can kill mold spores when applied directly.

Fill up a spray water bottle with your chosen ingredients and spray it onto the mold, then wipe off with a clean cloth.

Ready-Made Sprays

Mold Removal Spray

There are some powerful options for mold removal sprays if you’d rather not leave it up to natural ingredients to get the job done.

Store-bought mold sprays usually contain active ingredients like sodium hypochlorite which kill mold spores.

They’re combined with other ingredients so you can remove the car, sanitize the area, and provide deodorization.

Before applying any commercial sprays to the interior of your vehicle, check the label of the product, or perform a spot test somewhere inconspicuous.

Specialist Mold Removal

When your mold problem is too serious to handle on your own, you might want to call in the professionals to remove it.

There are licensed professionals who deal with mold on all scales, whether it’s a serious black mold problem or a basic mold colony that’s overrun your vehicle.

They can also help you source where the issue might have started so you can prevent it from happening again.

This is the most expensive route to take, so it’s better left for the truly untreatable mold that can’t be fixed with home remedies.

The Safety Of Removing Mold

Mold is a dangerous organism, and there are different types of mold that make them even harder to deal with.

As it’s difficult for everyday people to spot the difference between the dangerous black mold variety and other strains, you should treat every instance of mold removal as seriously as possible.

When you’re getting ready to remove mold from your car, there are some safety precautions you should take.

Make sure you cover these points before you start the process to ensure good health for yourself and the passengers of your car:

  • Wear a face mask that’s designed to stop microscopic particles from entering your airways. Ensure both your eyes and nose are covered to prevent inhalation of the microscopic spores.
  • Protect your eyes with goggles or use a mask that covers the eyes as well. Mold spores can irritate the eyes so protection is required.
  • Leave all of the car doors open while you’re removing mold to prevent the spores from staying inside. Work in the sunlight during treatment if you’re able to.
  • Following mold removal, avoid using the car’s heater or air conditioner for a few days as it can circulate any remaining spores and start the problem all over again. Drive with the windows down to let fresh air in, but be sure to shut them again when you’re not using the car.
  • Don’t allow any children, elderly relatives, or pets to come near the car until it’s been treated. People with allergies might also be more sensitive to mold, so keep them clear until you’ve removed it.
  • If you find any suspicious-looking mold that you’re worried could be black mold or if you’d rather not tackle the problem yourself, call a professional immediately.

Preventing Mold From Returning

Cleaning Car

With the mold removed from your car, you need to make sure it doesn’t return.

Here are some ways you can prevent mold growth in your car and ensure that you’ll never have to do this severe treatment again.

  • Keep your car parked somewhere there’s enough natural light to prevent dampness in the car, but without doing damage to the car’s paintwork by having it in full sun.
  • If there’s a moist area inside your car and you’re unable to find the source, take it to a professional to check for potential vulnerabilities that could be letting moisture in.
  • Make a regular effort to clean the inside and outside of your car, tackling any signs of mold as soon as you see them.
  • Avoid eating food or drinking anything in the car, especially if you have young children who are more careless with their food.
  • If you plan on going away and leaving your car unused for a while, organize for a friend to come and drive it around once a week.

Related Questions

Finding mold in your car is never a pleasant thing, but taking care of it doesn’t have to be a difficult process.

If you’re hoping to safely and effectively get rid of a mold problem in your vehicle, we’ve answered some FAQs that will make the whole thing easier to do.

Does Sunlight Kill Mold?

Sunlight on its own isn’t enough to rid your car of mold entirely, so don’t expect to park your car in the sun and the problem to be gone.

However, mold grows best in dark conditions because direct exposure to sunlight and fresh air can eliminate it, so it can be helpful if you’re trying to reduce mold growth in the car.

Can Mold Dry Out and Die?

Mold will not simply dry out and die if you remove all of the moisture from it, rather the organisms will turn inactive.

As soon as moisture is reintroduced to the area, it will reactivate and start spreading again.

This is why it’s important to take care of moisture control and not just kill the mold when treating a problem.

How Quickly Does Mold Spread?

A mold colony only needs 24 to 48 hours to start growing, and as soon as it’s attached to a damp surface with the right conditions, it will flourish.

This is done with the help of the microscopic spores that travel through the air and land randomly, then growing and spreading quickly if the conditions allow it.

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