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DIY Car Wash Methods for Mold Removal

  • Car Wash
  • Renee Martin
  • 6 minutes

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The growth of mold in your car can be a serious health hazard if not treated at the earliest possible opportunity. If you’re unlucky enough to already have developed this problem, however, don’t worry! In this post, we’re taking you through a step-by-step guide that breaks down everything you need to know about how mold is caused and how to prevent it. What’s more, we’re also throwing in some top tips on mold removal, just like how it’s done at a local car wash near you. With the right supplies and with a little elbow grease, you can tackle mold stains in a safe, clean, and efficient manner, leaving your car spotless both on the inside and outside. Read on to know more.

This blog has been updated on May 26, 2021.

Effective mold removal

What is mold and why is it bad for my car?

Mold is typically a type of fungus that forms in the presence of high temperatures and humidity levels. Prolonged exposure to mold and its particulates can cause major health issues, especially amongst those who are sensitive to it. People with prior respiratory issues are particularly prone to the effects of mold.

Those who have a history of lung disease, allergic reactions, and compromised immune systems (chemotherapy treatments and organ transplants, for instance) are at higher risk when it comes to the presence of mold. That’s why it’s extremely important to avoid exposing yourself to mold, especially somewhere you’re likely to spend as much time as your car.

Thankfully, if you notice mold early on — which typically presents itself as visual patches and is also noticeable due to its strong odor — there are steps you can take to rectify the issue. Read on to learn how you can protect yourself from mold build-up in your car.


Mold Removal 101

Methods to eradicate mold from your car can be overwhelming with the wealth of information available on the Internet. That’s why we’ve got some top Way.com recommendations that are sure to see you get rid of that mold in a jiffy.

Ensure adequate protection

We couldn’t recommend this more – spores from mold sources can get airborne and end up being inhaled into the lungs. Ensure that you’re wearing a surgical face mask or particle mask along with durable, non-porous household cleaning gloves.

Air dry in the sun

UV rays from sunlight and fresh air are the most effective powerful tools when it comes to taking on mold removal. Like most other fungi, mold grows in moist areas, so the combination of sun and fresh air helps dry the vehicle out, making it impossible for mold to survive. We recommend moving your car to a sunny parking spot and opening up the doors and windows (including the sunroof). A few hours should see all of the dampness and moisture dry out.


A thorough inspection of your car

Make sure to look at the following sections of the car (some are easier to miss than others!): the surface of the seats, underneath the seats, the steering wheel, the floor, seat side seams, and the seat belts. Mold can come in different colors, so keep an eye out for circular patches of black, white, green, gray, or brown.

Loosen mold before disinfecting

It’s a good idea to try and break up any patches of mold that you spot by gently brushing them with a toothbrush. A wet-dry vacuum cleaner is a great option as well, provided you have access to one.

Effective mold removal

Bring on the disinfectants

Firstly, remove your car’s seat covers and carpets. We recommend using any of the following DIY concoctions that are sure to work on any mold build-up:

  • A solution of 4 parts of white vinegar to 1 part of water
  • A solution of 1 quart of water + ÂĽ teaspoon of clove oil + ½ cup of white vinegar + 1 tbsp of baking soda

Pour one of these mixtures into a spray or aerosol-type bottle and spray it on the affected areas. Keep in mind that the solution needs to be allowed to sit on the material for a good 20 minutes or longer in order to fully arrest the mold and prevent it from recurring in the same spot.


Clean off any residue

Once your mold removal process has concluded, you can use a wet-dry vacuum to speed up the drying process. You could also wait for the areas to dry naturally and choose to use a regular vacuum after as well. Remember, however, to use a disposable vacuum bag that you can throw away afterward.

Professional Car Wash Tips on Mold Removal

Now that you’ve thoroughly disinfected the mold-affected areas, you can use a regular detergent to wash your car’s carpets and seat covers. Another top tip (especially if you don’t have detergent on hand) is to spray them thoroughly with a solution of water and non-iodized salt. Allow the salt solution to dry in the sun until it forms a crust on the surface, which can be brushed, wiped, or vacuumed off afterward. Any unwanted and leftover odors from the mold removal process can be taken care of by using a good-quality car air freshener or spray. We can’t stress this more – the most important step is to air the entire vehicle out in the sun — you’ll have a mold-free car in no time! As mold requires a wet or humid environment to develop and grow, you can prevent its recurrence by making sure your car is dry at all times and remains that way. A dehumidifier in your car is a great way to lower the overall moisture levels within the vehicle.

Websites and apps like Way offer professional and top-rated car wash services at great prices. What’s more, the whole family can get in on the sudsy action thanks to Way’s Carwash Voucher and Family Car Wash Pass that can be used on multiple (that’s right, multiple) vehicles!

Effective mold removal

Read our blogs for information on the best airport parking and hourly parking spots near you and the most affordable insurance for your car. 


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