How To Get Mold Out of Car Carpet – Step By Step Guide

Discovering mold in your car’s carpet can be an unwelcome surprise. However, with the right knowledge and techniques, you can efficiently eliminate mold and restore your vehicle’s interior to a clean and fresh state. 

Mold thrives in moist and warm environments, making unkempt cars susceptible to its growth. Factors such as liquid spills, open windows during rainy weather, high humidity levels, parking in damp garages, leaving damp clothes on seats, and even flood damage contribute to the development of mold in cars. 

While moisture leaks are a common cause, it’s reassuring to know that eliminating mold from your car doesn’t require extreme measures or expensive professional services. 

By investing some time and effort, you can effectively combat mold and regain that pleasant, fresh scent inside your car. 

This article aims to provide you with a step-by-step guide, useful tools, and recommended methods to tackle mold growth in your car’s carpet, allowing you to maintain a clean and fresh interior.

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How To Get Mold Out of Car Carpet?

One common issue that car owners face is the presence of mold in their vehicles, particularly in the carpeted areas. Mold can thrive in damp conditions, causing unpleasant odors and potential health risks. 

However, with the right approach and proper cleaning techniques, you can effectively remove mold from your car carpet. In this article, we will provide you with detailed instructions and tips to tackle this problem head-on.

Preparation: Remove Trash and Debris

Before you begin the mold removal process, it’s crucial to clear out any trash or debris from your car. This step ensures that you have a clean surface to work with and prevents further contamination during the cleaning process.

Homemade Cleaning Solutions: White Vinegar, Hot Water, Baking Soda, and Color-Safe Bleach

Creating homemade cleaning solutions can be a cost-effective and efficient way to combat mold in your car. Some effective options include white vinegar and hot water mixtures or a combination of white vinegar and baking soda. 

Additionally, color-safe bleach diluted in water can also be used, but it’s essential to test this solution on an inconspicuous area of your car’s upholstery to avoid any potential staining.

Thoroughly Clean the Entire Interior

When dealing with car mold, it’s essential to clean the entire interior, including hard-to-reach spots. Use a wet-dry vacuum cleaner with an upholstery attachment to remove mold spores and debris effectively. 

By addressing all areas, you ensure that you don’t leave any traces of mold behind, as it can quickly spread if not thoroughly cleaned.

Allow Proper Drying Time

Mold thrives in moist environments, so it’s vital to allow your car’s interior to dry completely. Open the doors and windows to encourage airflow and facilitate the drying process. This step helps prevent mold from returning and ensures that your cleaning efforts are long-lasting.

Enzyme-Based Car Mold Removers

If you prefer using commercial products specifically designed for car mold removal, consider enzyme-based cleaners. These products are formulated to effectively kill mold and can be found in stores. Follow the instructions provided by the manufacturer for the best results.

Take Precautions for Black Mold

Black mold, in particular, can pose health risks. When dealing with black mold, it is advisable to wear a dust mask to protect yourself from potential lung irritation. Safety should always be a priority when handling mold, especially in severe cases.

How To Get Mold Out of Car Carpet

Special Car Wash Services

Standard car washes are generally insufficient for removing mold from your vehicle. If you opt for professional cleaning, request a special service that specifically targets mold removal. Alternatively, you can undertake the cleaning process yourself to ensure thoroughness.

The Power of Distilled White Vinegar

Distilled white vinegar is a highly effective natural mold remover. Its mildly acidic properties help kill mold spores and minimize the chances of their return. Moreover, vinegar can be used on various surfaces, including leather and vinyl, making it a versatile option for car owners.

Dilution and Application of Vinegar

To use white vinegar for mold removal, dilute it with water. For exceptionally moldy spots, you can use undiluted vinegar. Apply the vinegar mixture to the affected areas using a cloth or a spray bottle. 

Allow it to sit for approximately twenty minutes, then gently scrub the mold patches. Finally, use a wet-dry vacuum cleaner to remove the dead mold.

Addressing the Odor of Vinegar

One drawback of using vinegar is its strong odor. However, you can eliminate the smell by spraying air freshener inside the car or by leaving the doors open to let the odor dissipate naturally.

Harnessing the Power of Saltwater

Saltwater can effectively dehydrate mold spores, leading to their demise. However, it’s essential to note that simply dusting raw salt on mold won’t yield significant results. Instead, you need to create a saltwater solution.

Scrubbing Off Mold Remains and Finalizing the Process

After the saltwater solution has dried, use water or a vacuum cleaner to scrub off the remaining mold. This step ensures that all traces of mold are eliminated. 

However, keep in mind that salt is corrosive and can damage leather surfaces, so exercise caution when using this method.

Utilizing Clove Oil

Clove oil, known for its antiseptic properties, can effectively combat mold growth. Mix a quarter teaspoon of clove oil with a liter of water. Vacuum the affected area first, then apply the clove oil solution to the mold spots. Once dry, clean the space as usual. 

For severe mold growth, combine a few drops of clove oil with baking soda, scrub the area, and wipe it down after it dries.

Baking Soda’s Cleaning Power

Baking soda is renowned for its exceptional cleaning properties, including its effectiveness against mold and mildew. This readily available kitchen staple can act as a powerful mold remover and also serves as an air freshener.

Using Baking Soda on Mold Spots

To use baking soda, simply sprinkle it directly on the mold spots and allow it to sit for approximately twenty minutes. Baking soda absorbs excess moisture, leaving behind a powdery residue. 

You can either use baking soda alone or combine it with white vinegar for even stronger results.

Spray and Scrub with Cleaning Solutions

Fill a new spray bottle with white distilled vinegar or diluted bleach. It’s crucial to use a new bottle to avoid any residue from previous use, which could cause issues. 

Spray the solution directly onto the carpeting, seats, and any other surface affected by mold. Saturate the area thoroughly, and use a scrub brush to work the solution into the mold spots. If necessary, spray more solution. 

While cleaning, inspect the car for leaks and damaged seals, as moisture can contribute to further mold growth.

Repair Leaks and Damaged Seals

Inspect your car thoroughly for any leaks or damaged seals that could be contributing to moisture accumulation. It’s crucial to address these issues and repair them promptly to prevent future mold growth in your vehicle.

Follow Instructions and Test Cleaning Products

When using commercial cleaning products or even homemade solutions, it’s important to read and follow the instructions carefully. Some products may require specific dilution ratios or application techniques. 

Additionally, always test the cleaning solution on a hidden or inconspicuous spot before applying it to the entire area. This step ensures that the product does not cause any unwanted damage or discoloration.

By following these detailed instructions and employing the proper techniques, you can effectively remove mold from your car carpet. Remember to prioritize safety, ventilation, and thoroughness throughout the process. 

With a clean and mold-free interior, you can enjoy a fresh and healthy driving experience.


Scientific American (2006) – How do salt and sugar prevent microbial spoilage?

Debra Rose Wilson, Ph.D (2019) – Use Clove Oil

National Library of Medicine – (2012) – Microbicide activity of clove essential oil

Kristen Park - Specialised Content Writer for Caresh Fresh

My name is Kristen Park and I am a senior writer specialising in how-to guides and home cleaning information at Cares Fresh. As a researcher, I take pride in digging deep to find every small detail on a topic and explaining it in a way that is easy for the reader to understand.