Car mold or mold in your truck, van or suv is special, isn't it. I've seen green, blue, orange and lot of brown black grey type molds & mildews on car or truck floors.
Usually this results from discarded food or beverages, or unusually large amounts of trash that pile up on the floor of some peoples cars.
You know who you are! Of course you can also get car mold or mildew growing on your floor mats or carpeting just because the vehicle interior is wet and moist, mmmmmmm. But we shouldn't tolerate that nasty car mold or mildew. It smells bad and some people are allergic to it and don't even know it. So lets eradicate and prevent that moldy, mildewy mess in your car. And while we're at it let's look at my other info page Mold in Car to see what else we can learn about these little, smelly beasties.
*** WARNING *** WARNING *** WARNING *** WARNING ***
Never mix bleach with cleaning products that contain ammonia, it produces chloramines which are detrimental to your health. Never mix bleach with any acid based cleaner or other cleaner that contains an acid like vinegar, lemon juice, cream of tartar, oxalic acid, sulphuric acid, hydrochloric acid, muriatic acid or sodium bisulfate. This combination generates chlorine gas which is detrimental to your health. If you do mix bleach with anything make sure you do so in a well ventilated area. Wear hand, eye, breathing and skin protective devices when mixing or using bleach.
Prevention is the Best Medicine : We've all heard that saying. It's double true when it comes to car mold and mildew. You need to keep dirt, food and especially moisture out of your car or truck. Your first line of defense is to keep your truck and car floor mats dry. This helps keep your vehicles carpeting dry - which is the second line of defense. If you use rubber car or truck floor mats keep them dry. Blot up excess water, snow or mud with paper towels or other absorbent material. Run your car heater on a long trip or with your vehicle idling and standing still to help dry up the carpet. Don't let moisture get between the floor mat and carpet. Use a universal absorbent car floor mat protector to keep the top of your rubber mat dry and keep excess moisture off your carpeted mat. If you do let moisture under the car mat you need to get the carpeting dry asap. And for heavens sake, routinely vacuum up excess dirt, mud, food particles and other gungy deposits that act as food sources for molds.
If you have carpeted car or truck mats you have to keep them clean and dry. And just like rubber mats you gotta prevent moisture from being trapped between your mats and the vehicle carpeting. Car mold loves to grow between mat and carpet because its just a cozy place for the mold to grow, dark and moist! So remove your truck or auto mats periodically for cleaning and drying. And get yourself some universal absorbent floor mats for your car or truck.
Cleanup Truck & Car Mold : Uh, Oh !!! Something nasty is living in your car. If it smells musty and moldy, is growing in patches on your car interior and leaves a stain when you try to wipe it up - it's probably mold. So here's some ideas on how to get rid this mold stuff without having to nuke the inside of your car. Remember to wear chemically resistant hand protection and eye protection when cleaning up mold. It's also a good idea to wear a mask to prevent mold from getting in your nose and lungs.
1. Use a Shop Vac to remove excess water, food and other gunk from your vehicle. Then blot with paper towel or other absorbent material. Finally use your car heater turned full up to evaporate the remaining moisture. The people who detail my SUV leave the car idling with the heater on for 2 or 3 hours after they shampoo the carpeting to finish drying the carpet.
2. Use one of the recipes below to clean the moldy areas of your mat and carpeting with a clean sponge. Rinse with as little water as possible - you can use a Shop Vac to suck up the rinse water. Wash again with a clean sponge dipped in a dishwashing detergent solution. Rinse. Shop Vac. Blot dry with white paper towels. Make sure you blot up as much moisture as you can with the white paper towels. You can even use the Shop Vac again to suck up excess water or cleaning solution but make sure the Shop Vac is free of mold or you'll recontaminate the area. Allow the interior of the vehicle to dry thoroughly before you replace the car mats and other stuff that lives in your car or truck.
3. As an alternative to using a home brew recipe you can always try a commercial mold removal product like one of the ones we have listed below.
Note : For any of the car mold removal recipes below that use water, I recommend you use distilled water to prevent any staining due to mineral content or impurities in the water.
Recipe 1 : Lightly spray on mold a mixture of 2 Teaspoons Tea Tree Oil to 2 Cups Water. Leave on mats and carpeting. Smell of Tea Tree Oil will eventually go away.
Recipe 2 : Make a solution of 1 part household bleach to 3 parts water. Sponge onto mold. Let sit 10 - 15 minutes. Shop Vac dry. Wash again with clean sponge and dishwashing detergent. Shop Vac dry. Blot dry with white paper towels. Allow to dry thoroughly
Recipe 3 : Use 2/3 Cup of Trisodium Phosphate, 1/3 Cup of Dishwashing Detergent, 1 Quart of Household Bleach and water to make 1 gallon of solution. Shop Vac dry. Rinse with water. Shop Vac dry. Blot dry. Allow to dry thoroughly.
Recipe 4 : Use 1/4 Cup of Salt, 1/4 Cup of Lemon Juice and enough Water to make a paste. Use a toothbrush to rub the paste into mold. Let sit for 1/2 hour. Rinse. Shop Vac dry. Blot dry with white paper towels. Allow to dry thoroughly.
Recipe 5 : Make a paste of water and 20 Mule Team Borax. Use a toothbrush to rub paste into mold. Let sit for 1/2 to 1 hour. Rinse. Shop Vac dry. Blot dry with white paper towels. Allow to dry thoroughly.
Recipe 5a : If mold area is already wet or damp you can try just sprinkling some Borax on seats or carpet or mats. Let the Borax sit for an hour or two then vacuum it up.
Recipe 6 : White vinegar diluted 3 to 1 with water and sprayed onto the mold and allowed to sit for 20 to 25 minutes. Use wet/dry vac to suck up excess solution. Allow to dry thoroughly. You blot dry with clean paper towels to speed up drying process. Vinegar smell will disappear with time.
Recipe 7 : Make solution of 1.5 teaspoons of oil of clove to 1 gallon of water. Use a spray bottle to dispense this solution over the moldy area. Let area dry for 1 hour or longer. Then suck up remaining solution with a wet/dry vac and blot with paper towels. Repeat if necessary.
Products : Clorox and Zinsser both have a line of products to help clean mold and mildew. Some enzyme based cleaners like Out, OdoBan and Natures Miracle are effective against car mold. H2Orange2 is supposedly an environmentally friendly mold and mildew cleaner. Some other commercial products for mold and mildew cleaning include X14, Molderizer and Tilex. Chem-Girls' Oxy-Pro, Ocean Bio-Chems' Performacide, Concrobiums' Mold Control and Biocide Labs Mold Killer and Fogger are some commercial products that also are used for mold control and remediation.
Last Resort : If mould and mildew have taken up permanent residence in your car or truck you might have to remove the vehicle carpeting, thoroughly clean the inside of the vehicle and replace the old carpeting and car mats with new. Several companies make OEM, custom fit carpeting for your vehicle, including ACC - Auto Custom Carpets, Inc . And since you do have a car mold, mildew or fungii problem why not check to see if ACC has a fungicide treatment for your new carpeting!