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  1. #1
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    Mold in Car Interior- Cleaning Tips?

    I have a 2013 Camry with ~8,000 miles on it, recently took it on a trip down to Georgia and had a case of strawberries sitting in the center console which after I returned I forgot were there and after sitting in my garage for a week I opened the car to find a moldy smell inside. It doesn't help that I also had a bag of ice melt and leak onto the rear passenger carpet which has definitely further contributed to the mold issues I'm having. I washed the car the day I threw the strawberries away and meant to clean out the center console but never got around to it. Fast forward to today, I opened the car to retrieve something from inside of it and got hit in the face with an even more terrible odor, still mold though. I started looking around and noticing mold spores growing in certain places, on the steering wheel, rubber side of floor mats, interior trim panels, its probably growing on the seats as well but since they are a light grey cloth material I can not visually see anything.

    I grabbed some Griots Interior Cleaner and a small detailing brush and scrubbed every door panel and half the dash before I had to stop for the day. From past experience (don't ask how I know this) I am aware that mold on a non-porous surface is not a major issue as once it has been agitated and wiped away it is gone due to the nature of the mold fibers inability to penetrate into a non-porous surface. The carpets and seats are my bigger concern as these are porous and difficult to clean once mold penetrates into the material.

    Can anyone recommend a biocide that would be safe to spray onto the seats/carpets and allowed to sit to eat away at the remaining mold then vacuumed away with a shopvac in order to ensure it is all cleaned?

    In the meantime, I have placed a Damprid container in the car to begin to absorb and reduce moisture so that I can begin to control the mold growth. Tomorrow I will be placing the car in the sun to allow UV rays to begin to kill the mold and I will finish cleaning the interior panels one at a time to ensure they are thoroughly cleaned.

  2. #2
    Super Member Rsurfer's Avatar
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    Re: Mold in Car Interior- Cleaning Tips?

    Do you have a steamer?

  3. #3
    Super Member DogRescuer's Avatar
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    Re: Mold in Car Interior- Cleaning Tips?

    Follow
    Steve
    -The Titanic Was Built By Professionals But The Ark By Amateurs-
    "Boanerges"

  4. #4
    Super Member David Fermani's Avatar
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    Re: Mold in Car Interior- Cleaning Tips?

    Remember, mold grows and thrives in dark damp places without air movement. Sounds like your car was a perfect breading ground for this to happen.

    You need to get a dedicated anti-microbial cleaner. Most likely from a local janitorial supply company. Any cleaner used that isn't specifically designed to kill mold isn't suggested as it hasn't been designed to tackle these types of cleaning issues. You'll apply this directly to the origin of the mold (non-diluted) as well as to the entire interior (diluted appropriately).


    Metro Detroit's Leader in Vehicle Preservation & Perfect Paint Finishes

  5. #5
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    Re: Mold in Car Interior- Cleaning Tips?

    Can you recommend an anti-microbial cleaner that I could use on the interior? I've found Microban Disinfectant Spray Plus which seems to be a good candidate but I have yet to purchase it since I can't read the label in person to know whether it will be useable or not.

    I do have a steam cleaner, which I plan on using to follow up..

  6. #6
    Junior Member DrBeasleys's Avatar
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    Re: Mold in Car Interior- Cleaning Tips?

    Definitely hit it with some Dr. Beasley's Neutra-Scent to remove any lingering odors that might be present after you clean

  7. #7
    Super Member David Fermani's Avatar
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    Re: Mold in Car Interior- Cleaning Tips?

    Quote Originally Posted by K5GSXR750 View Post
    Can you recommend an anti-microbial cleaner that I could use on the interior? I've found Microban Disinfectant Spray Plus which seems to be a good candidate but I have yet to purchase it since I can't read the label in person to know whether it will be useable or not.

    I do have a steam cleaner, which I plan on using to follow up..
    In all honesty, please just go to your local janitorial supply company and get their suggestions. They'll be able to help you closely, see the problem even and help follow the repair to its full and proper completion. And you help support a local business.


    Metro Detroit's Leader in Vehicle Preservation & Perfect Paint Finishes

  8. #8
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    Re: Mold in Car Interior- Cleaning Tips?

    So, I spent most of today cleaning the car out, here's what I've done so far:

    1. Griots Interior Cleaner applied to detailing brush used to scrub all interior panels (these are non-porous surfaces so once the mold is agitated and wiped away with a microfiber it is gone)

    2. Mixed Borax and hot water then spot treated any mold clusters I saw on the carpet/seats (these are the areas I'm more concerned about as they are porous surfaces so I will have to monitor them for a few days)

    3. Thoroughly vacuumed carpet and seats

    4. Steamed every interior panel while wiping with a clean microfiber cloth

    I have yet to clean the floor mats however I have isolated those outside of the car in my garage to be cleaned tomorrow.

    The interior smells much better now, but there is still a very slight odor. I parked the car outside so that during the day it will sit in direct sunlight which will allow UV rays to penetrate the glass and kill some mold. In addition, I also placed a container of Damprid inside to absorb any excess moisture which will stop further mold growth. I have found the following biocides and cleaners to use in order to kill any remaining mold and remove it from the interior:

    Contec® Citric Acid Disinfectant | Cleaning & Restoration Mold and Water Damage Remediation

    Enzyme Based Cleaning Product & Stain Remover: Sporicidin

    Due to not having these on hand, if I notice the spores coming back (which is very likely to happen given the cloth seats and carpet) I will immediately begin treatment with these products as I have a local janitorial distributor that carries them. I will probably use the Enzyme Mold Stain cleaner followed by the Citric Acid cleaner since it looks like both are safe for use on fabric. Thanks for all the help!

  9. #9
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    Re: Mold in Car Interior- Cleaning Tips?

    After my last post, I checked Contec's company website and was actually able to get a sample of the Citric Acid Disinfectant so I'm waiting on that to arrive. Once it gets here I will be testing it in areas where I was finding mold clusters on the carpet/seats to see how effective it is at actually killing mold and removing the odor.

    I will also be replacing the cabin air filter once I have had a chance to thoroughly clean the interior using the Citric Acid Disinfectant.

  10. #10
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    Re: Mold in Car Interior- Cleaning Tips?

    Another place to consider for cleaning mold is an outdoor store (Like REI). I had a tent that was put away wet and forgotten. Used a product by a company called McNett to clean it. It worked pretty well.

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