Get Mold and Mildew Smells Out of Your Car for Good
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Keeping your car interior clean and smelling fresh makes all the difference.
When you vacuum the seats and carpeting and wipe down plastic surfaces, it makes the cabin a little more luxurious, whether you’re on a grocery run or a country drive.
But sometimes, even after tidying up your vehicle’s interior, unpleasant odors linger. You might notice the foul smell of mildew growing somewhere.
And even an impeccably clean car interior loses its appeal when stale odors hang in the air.
But there are ways to locate and remove car smells. Maybe it’s mold or even something wrong with the engine. It’s a matter of pinpointing the offending area, thoroughly cleaning it — or if it’s mechanical, fixing it — then enjoying your refreshed interior.
Let’s take a hard look at that mildew smell in a vehicle interior and how to get mold out of your car.
The importance of a clean car interior
Because you spend a good amount of time in your vehicle’s interior, cleaning it regularly makes for a better driving experience.
Just like a tidy home, a well-kept car interior is a nice place to unwind and enjoy the view.
And besides looking nice, an orderly interior helps prevent unappealing odors from forming so that you and your passengers can ride in comfort.
Standard methods for deep cleaning your vehicle’s interior include:
- Removing loose items.
- Vacuuming the floor mats and upholstery.
- Wiping down hard plastic surfaces.
- Removing pet hair from the back seat.
- Using glass cleaner on the car windows.
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What causes a mildew smell in a car?
Several things might cause a mildew smell in a vehicle’s interior. The origins of mildew smell range from simple to serious, and some require the assistance of a mechanic.
If you notice a musty smell or believe you have mold in the car, it might be trash hidden under the seats or food waste lingering in small crevices.
Sometimes, wet carpeting might cause mold growth. If it snows and passengers track in plenty of slush, moisture can build up, leading to mold spore formation.
If you own a vehicle with a sunroof, a blocked drain might cause water leaks onto the seats or saturate the headliner.
Another cause of mold in your car might be that the cabin filter has become clogged with fallen leaves.
And sometimes, leaks in the trunk allow moisture inside, creating dank odors.
Other unpleasant interior smells might indicate significant issues with your vehicle’s heater core or air conditioning system.
How to remove odor from car
Although that mildew smell in a vehicle can be unpleasant, there are several ways to fix it, depending on the cause.
If you believe the cause of mold in your car is your carpeting and floors, try washing them with a steam cleaner. Then, park your car in the hot sun with the windows rolled down to let fresh air inside, ensuring that any residual moisture evaporates. Also, exchanging carpeted floor mats for rubber versions prevents odor-causing humidity.
If your vehicle has a clogged sunroof drain, all you have to do is vacuum it out or use air pressure to clear away loose particles.
Or it could be as simple as removing leftover food or accumulated trash from the hard-to-reach areas of the interior like under the seats or in the nooks and crannies of the car’s upholstery.
You can refresh a trunk that accumulates moisture and smells musty by shampooing the affected area. After that, replacing the trunk seals helps prevent future seepage.
If that mildew smell coming from the air vents is caused by fungus, fixing it could be as easy as simply filling a spray bottle with an anti-mildew solution and giving each vent a good spritz.
But if you try several methods and that interior mildew smell won’t go away, consulting with a mechanic may be the best option. The drain for your air conditioner may need fixing, or the heater core could be leaking. Significant mechanical issues like these require the expertise of a professional.
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Get the mildew smell out of your car in summary
Musty odors, mold, and mildew can make your vehicle’s interior an unpleasant environment.
Whether you’re running errands or embarking on a weekend getaway, you want to be comfortable and enjoy the ride, not be accompanied by unsavory smells.
When you believe you have mold in your car, checking various places can help you narrow down the cause and possibly even fix it yourself.
Sometimes, a mildew smell can be as simple as old food under the seats or moisture accumulating in the carpeting from tracked-in snow.
Other causes can include a leaky trunk or sunroof drain. Fixing a backed-up sunroof drain only requires vacuuming out debris, and all a smelly trunk needs is carpet shampoo and new seals.
But sometimes, a mildew smell signifies mechanical problems deeper inside your vehicle, like a blocked air conditioning drain or a heater core that leaks. Because of the complex nature of these causes, consulting with a mechanic ensures the thorough removal of any mold and mildew smells and a renewed interior for comfortable driving.
Owning a vehicle brings many expenses, like regular cleaning inside and out, car maintenance, fuel, and insurance. But Shift offers fair, no-haggle prices driven by powerful machine learning algorithms and tons of data, taking the stress out of car buying and negotiation. Even so, finding ways to save on auto-related costs keeps extra cash in your bank account, so you have funds for other essential obligations. One way to do this is by securing a good auto loan. Shift works with a network of trusted lenders who compete for your business, so you get the best deal on financing. Applying for financing with Shift is quick and easy, with no cost or obligation. Most applicants receive an offer within minutes instead of days. Financing with Shift is so convenient that nine out of 10 customers choose us when they need an auto loan. If you have low credit, don’t worry because we welcome co-signers, too.
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April 15, 2022
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