How To Get Rid Of Mold In Car: 5 Effective Methods

For people car owners asking how to clean mold out of cars properly, the best approach is to start by solving the underlying cause of mold growth, so you can prevent it from spreading further.

Next, remove the mold by using a surface cleaner that is compatible with the material you are cleaning. You also need to prevent the recurrence of the problem by keeping your car dry all the time.

There are professional services that can take care of mold removal for you.

5 Ways To Get Rid Of Car Mold

Here are five ways to get rid of mold from your car:

1.     Mold removal using white vinegar

Vinegar is a mild acid that can kill most species of mold. Use a spray bottle for applying white distilled vinegar on car interior surfaces infested with mold. Do not water the vinegar down.

Do not immediately scrub the vinegar using a toothbrush. Instead, leave it sitting there for about an hour. Immediately scrubbing the surface right after applying the vinegar might cause mold spores to spread.

Man’s hand cleans a leather car seat.

White vinegar is a safe option compared to bleach. Bleach may discolor the material where the mold is growing, so it might not be the best option to clear your car of mold.

You can use vinegar for a leather seat. For this type of seat, simply pour some vinegar on a bucket, dip paper towels in it, and use them to wipe the mold off. When you’re done, use plain water until you couldn’t smell the vinegar on the seat anymore. Use a towel to dry the seat off.

2.     Mold removal using clove oil

One of the handiest approaches to getting rid of mold is clove oil, and one of the reasons why clove oil is a preferred cleaning agent is that it actually kills the spores instead of just hiding or bleaching them.

If you only bleach mold and do not kill it, all the health risks associated with mold will remain, and the mold itself can grow back in a matter of days.

Bottle of clove oil with fresh cloves laid on the table.

It is recommended to use clove oil when mold growth is just starting within a small spot. With just a quarter of a teaspoon of this oil mixed with a liter of water, you can kill mold before it takes hold and spreads. Such a solution is strong enough to control and kill mold on most surfaces.

  • First, vacuum the affected spots
  • Then apply the solution
  • Once it is dry, clean the affected spots

3.     Mold removal using non-iodized salt

Saltwater dries out mold spores by absorbing water out of their membranes. This action starves and kills them ultimately. For this cleaning method, the salt needs to be in a solution.

Use 1:3 as your solution ratio. Mix one part of salt and then add three parts of water. Spray the solution on the car’s moldy surfaces.

Man cleaning car interior using salt water.
  • Vacuum the surfaces
  • Apply the salt water to the moldy spots. Include surrounding areas that may be harboring a few rogue mold spore
  • Expose the car under direct sunlight to dry the solution, which should leave a crystalline residue
  • Wipe down surfaces with clean water

Make sure your salt solution is not too strong, especially if the material is leather.

4.     Mold removal using baking soda

Another way to rid your car of molds is by sprinkling baking soda on fabric materials. Baking soda can kill mold and mildew and acts as an air freshener for your car.

You can combine baking soda with mold-eliminating agents like lemon juice and vinegar. However, you can use baking soda by itself. Sprinkle the solution on the affected area and let it absorb moisture for about 20 minutes.

Baking soda, lemon, and vinegar solution.

It should leave a powdery residue which you should vacuum. You can also use the solution even in areas that are not affected, which is a great way to deodorize your car’s interior.

Besides lemon juice and vinegar, you can also combine hydrogen peroxide with baking soda. Hydrogen peroxide is an antibacterial and antifungal compound, making it a perfect add-on to your anti-mold treatment.

5.     Mold removal using borax

You can also clean mold out of your car using borax. Borax is a mold-cleaning agent that works on many levels. First, it is a super absorbent compound. As such, it can soak up excess moisture and prevent the cold-and-wet condition friendly to mold growth.

On the other hand, when borax is combined with water, the resulting solution is one with a high pH level. An environment with a very high level is inhospitable for mold growth.

Mix a quarter cup of borax with a quarter gallon of water. Apply the solution to the affected surfaces and clean the residue afterward.

How To Prevent Mold Regrowth

Since your car is free of mold, it is time to ensure that it does not grow again. Follow the steps below.

  • Keep your car away from moisture – mold loves moisture and does not thrive in dry conditions. Clear off all the damp items in your car, such as clothes, shoes, towels, etc. Always think of protecting your car from moisture while parking it.
  • Always ensure that the car’s doors and windows are properly shut. On rainy days, make sure that the windows and the sunroof are closed.
  • As much as possible, do not eat or drink in your car. Avoid liquid spills at all costs and make sure that food waste and leftovers do not accumulate inside.
  • Use a car dehumidifier. A car dehumidifier is the best solution for absorbing moisture inside your car, eliminating fogged windows and musty odors.

Tip: If you do not have a dehumidifier, use baking soda to absorb moisture in your car. Open a few boxes of baking soda and leave them open in the vehicle with all the windows and doors closed.


So, here are easy ways you can clear your car of mold. You must not allow mold to thrive long inside your car because of serious health complications that can arise from mold exposure.

There are also ways to ensure that mold does not grow again in your car after eliminating it.

Do you know of other ways to protect a vehicle from mold growth? If yes, feel free to comment below or post a question or two.

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About Brock Rangel

Hi, I am Brock, and I am the lead editor/photographer for TheCarColony. I have been a mechanic for over 14 years now, and I am here to spread my car knowledge across the web!

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