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How to Get Rid of Mildew Smell From a Car

Mold and mildew growth inside cars may result in a musty smelling interior. Here are some guidelines that will help you in removing such mildew smell.
WheelZine Staff
Whether it is the basement of your house or the interior of your car, mildew smell can be really unpleasant. It may not be possible to discard the smell for a long time, if you frequent the basement or use the car regularly. It is almost impossible to bear the musty smell, every time you enter the vehicle. Mildew growth inside vehicles is often found to develop during rainy season. The moist and humid interior of the vehicle is perfect for such fungal growth. In some cases, liquids spilled inside the vehicle or a leakage of the sunroof drains could be the reason for mildew growth.

Apart from the upholstery and carpets, even the air conditioner vents may develop mildew, due to water condensation. Besides the unpleasant smell, mildew can also be harmful for health. If left untreated, mildew can cause stains on the upholstery and carpet and may also damage them with time. So, mildew removal is highly essential.

Removal of Mildew Odor From Cars

In most cases, a musty odor in cars is an indication of mildew growth. Mildew may develop on the upholstery or the carpet or even in the air conditioner vents. If you want to remove mildew smell from your car, then you may try the following methods.
  • The first and foremost thing to do is to find out the location of mildew growth. Once you situate the location, you have to clean and dry the area. In case you fail to locate mildew growth, clean the interiors thoroughly.
  • Keep the doors of the car open, while cleaning the interiors. Good air circulation will also help in reducing the musty odor. First of all, take out the floor mats and clean them with a solution of vinegar mixed with water (or soap solution). Once done, allow them to dry completely.
  • If you don't have enough time for thorough cleaning of the carpet, rugs and upholstery, then sprinkle baking soda over them and vacuum them the next morning.
  • In case of mildew smell from air conditioner vents, start the care by running the heater for around ten minutes. This will help to get rid of moisture trapped in the air vents. You may also clean the outer parts of the air conditioner vents with a small piece of soft cloth or cotton, dampened with window cleaner.
  • If you have leather upholstery, then cleaning must be done carefully. If you have special cleaning products, use them. Otherwise wipe the surfaces using a soft cloth dampened with a solution of one cup water and one cup rubbing alcohol. Once again wipe the surfaces with a cloth moistened with plain water.
  • If you are not interested in cleaning the interiors, use a dehumidifier for removing mildew smell from the car. All you have to do is to open all the windows of the car and leave the vehicle inside the garage with a dehumidifier switched on.
  • Once the cleaning is done, let the car remain open for some time, so as to ensure that there is no trace of moisture inside the vehicle. Make sure that the carpets, mats, upholstery, etc. get completely dry, before use.
If these methods fail, it is always better to approach a professional for cleaning the interiors of the vehicle. In short, removal of mildew smell from cars is not a difficult task and you can do it on your own, if you know the right methods. It is always better to prevent mildew by cleaning spills inside the vehicle, as soon as possible. Blot the spills and sprinkle some baking soda that can be removed with a vacuum cleaner, after some time. Mats can be taken out and dried. Keep a bag of charcoal inside the car, as it will absorb excess moisture. Even commercial odor absorbers can be of great help in warding off mildew and mold smell.
Group of carpet car on Drying rack
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