Mould infestation inside cars is rapidly becoming a growing concern affecting many Australians, no matter where you are based. It can be frustrating to get in your car and find that it smells bad, or to see that your seats are scattered with a dense layer of green, yellow and whitish spots. The problem is often worsened when people don’t use their car for a long amount of time or if the car has been sitting in an area with a lot of moisture.
Although, Australia is notorious for drought and dry conditions, it can occasionally experience flooding due to heavy rainfall (especially during La-Nina climates). Nonetheless, if you are experiencing a serious or minor case of mould, we shall dive into the ins and outs of car mould and how to best deal with it, so that you can return back to driving safe again.
Protection and Safety Comes First
Wearing some protective gear such as gloves and face mask are always recommended as direct contact or inhalation of these particles may cause irritation. So, make sure you are geared up and covered prior to any mould removal tasks to stay on the safe side and reduce the likelihood of any adverse affects.
Mould formed in the car consists of a very unpleasant, musky and damp smell which will make it extremely difficult to bare with when driving the car and for any passenger sitting in your car. Not only is mould unappealing to look at, it can be quite the health hazard. Some of the mould which have turned a dark black in colour should be dealt with promptly, nonetheless, all stages of mould whether early or late should be looked into right away. Early treatment and removal is always recommended to reduce the severity of its complications and damages.
Complications can include:
Respiratory and skin conditions | Lung Infection | Asthma | Nasal Congestion | Wheezing | Fever | etc
Find The Problem
If you have accidentally left your car windows or sunroof slightly open during a recent storm/rainy night, in which water has leaked its way into the car unnoticed. Or in some instances, where water may have leaked in through the car doors due to poor rubber seals and waterproofing, leading to mould formation. Or forgetting to remove a wet towel or leaking beverage from the car only to find out weeks later that it has accumulated to mould growth.
To summarise it simply, mould typically thrives on a few conditions that include:
b) Lack of Ventilation & Air Flow
Tackle these 3 areas effectively and you will be able to stop the spread/growth of mould inside your car. But first, we must address the elephant in the room…the mould sitting in your car and breeding every moment you leave it unattended.
Dangers and Health Risk
The presence of mould in your vehicle can draw out hazardous health responses when exposed to it, especially being exposed to a fair amount of mould. You do not need to have an allergy from mould to experience the dangerous side effects of inhalation.
Whether you are sensitive to mould or not, it must be dealt with promptly to reduce the likelihood of it spreading and causing more severe complications.
Possible Health Complications
1) Lung Infections
3) Nasal Congestion
6) Shortness of breath
7) Respiratory and skin irritations
These symptoms may occur by simply inhaling in spores release from the mould and vary on a case by case basis. We highly suggest to visit the doctor in case of enhanced symptoms or prolonged. In the meantime whilst you sort that out, a thorough interior car detail or Mould Treatment Package can help extract as much of the mould physically embedded on the surface of your car.
Common affected areas we have noticed upon experience, are your steering wheel, carpets, seats and mats – otherwise known as your high contact areas.
So, if you have found yourself in this stinky situation, we will run through how you can treat your car and address the mould infestation in no time.
Rest assured, it is not the end of the world and no, it is not the end of your car either. As you can see here, mould can be treated with the right techniques, products and conditions. Read below to see our guide on how to best deal with this, now.
Find The Right Location & Conditions
Ideally car mould removal is best addressed during dry weather, along with sufficient space to open all the doors and windows to promote air flow and ventilation. This is not a must-have, but it definitely aids with airing and drying post-service. After all, your car interior will have moisture, after all the upholstery and surfaces have been treated.
Inspect the car carefully to identify all areas heavily affected and see if you can identify the source eg. Leakage, water bottle, broken rubber seals, rotting food, broken window and so on. Make it a priority to remove the source of the mould from the vehicle to avoid any further contamination. You can generally trace it back to the source based on the density of mould appearing in certain areas.
Car Mould Removal: Vacuum & Disinfect
Larger lumps and clusters of mould can undergo the first pass using a vacuum cleaner to minimise the growth at a surface level. Follow this through with an automotive shampoo or cleaning agent to sanitise the areas with a clean set of disposable microfibre towels (to avoid chances of scratching your car interior). The exposure to water, will make it easier to remove the stains, this can also be followed through with a steam cleaner as an alternative. Be sure to wipe down the areas thoroughly with a Microfiber towel with cleaning agents applied liberally. Avoid using mould removal cleaners designed for the bathroom as this can be harsh on the car interior and cause further damage. Adding a cleaning solution diluted with water can help loosen up the mould prior to extraction and agitation. Vacuuming is a great initial pass to remove rotting food and crumbs as well that may be causing the mould infestation.
Mould Removal: Shampoo, Agitate and Extract
One of the best methods in an interior car detail is to use a shampoo extraction machine with great suction power for optimal extraction. Use an upholstery shampoo spray that is known to disinfect effectively and spray generously. Promote agitation with a little elbow grease and a fabric safe brush, this will help to loosen the mould prior to the extraction process. This will collect and store the mould in the dirty tank filter of the shampoo machine. But of course, the extraction process can vary from car to car as it does need to be handled on a case by case basis dependent on its existing severity, some methods work more effectively than others and more passes may be recommended.
An Ozone Machine creates Ozone, which is an effective and very strong disinfectant that can be used to treat cases of mould, bacterial spores, viruses and odour treatment in general. It works in correlation with your Air Conditioner to help circulate ozone around the car and reach areas that may be physically hard to reach, making it a super-effective tool after an interior detail. As professional grade ozone generators can be expensive, ask a professional detailer who is equipped with one
After Mould Treatment
Once effectively sanitised and the car mould removal process has been completed, it is best to allow the car to air dry preferably to accelerate the drying process. Turning on the heater may also help circulate air flow during the drying process.
If you had any broken waterproofing rubber seals or malfunctioning windows, be sure to have those repaired right away otherwise we will be back at square one again.
As for your towels, be certain to dispose of them safely and sanitise your shampoo machine after use as to avoid cross contamination.
Is mould gone forever?
Please do note that as with any task, no matter how effective a procedure is, there is always an element of chance that mould could come back. Because mould exists at such a microscopic level, these things can happen. But, it is crucial to follow the right steps to help reduce the likelihood of it coming back.
Prevent Mould from Coming Back
Once mould removal has taken place, it is important that you learn from the mould outbreak. You should take necessary steps to prevent mould from returning. Otherwise, you will have to deal with the fungus and infestation all over again. Just because you have your car serviced with a thorough interior detail and ozone does not make it immune to being affected by mould again. In fact, just like any complex procedure, there is always a slight possibility that mould can return, not often, but it can happen. For this, we can only minimise our chances by following through some of our tips below.
Here are some tips and guides to stop moulds from coming back.
Since moisture is essential for mould to grow, by eliminating any excess amounts of moisture from the premises, you can greatly reduce the chance for Mould growth. Any areas or surfaces that are susceptible to condensation, you can insulate them immediately to prevent it from occurring.
Keep Humidity levels low. One of the things that you can do is, double check that your windows and doors are properly sealed. Sometimes moisture can make its way in after rainy weather due to compromised seals and waterproofing – a common mishap we have across many of our customers during rainy weather. Observe for any moisture inside your car as they may hint where the culprit may reside.
As much as possible, avoid drinking or eating inside your car. This will prevent any liquid spills or food crumbs to fall on the mats, carpets, or the seats. If you must eat or drink in the car, for example those with children in the back seating area, then always take care of spills immediately or any food that may have dropped in between cracks and crevices.
Keep your vehicle clean and dry.
Install Interior Fabric Protection: Ceramic Coating
Ceramic coatings are not just designed for the car exterior, but also a popular option for those looking to protect their car interior from stains, spills and build it to be somewhat ‘childproof’. By installing an interior coating on your carpet, seats and mats, you are essentially adding a durable and hydrophobic layer that repels liquids, dust and dirt. Which allows you to address any spills and beverage stains straight away before it gets absorbed into your car interior. This can also be applied on your leather as well as the car roof liner for added protection.
If you notice that your carpets in particular have resulted in mould coming back, most likely the underlying foam underneath the carpet may be soaked or there may be a pool of water further under that too. This implies that your car may have been severely affected to the point that water has penetrated further beyond the carpet and foam. Should you find yourself in this situation, it is recommended to seek a car wrecker to strip the car interior and have that interior foam under the carpet, replaced with a new one. We would advise against, drying that foam layer and reinstalling it, you are best to start off a clean canvas with a new one.
Need Car Mould Removal Now?
If you discover that you don’t have all the necessary supplies and equipment or just don’t have the time or expertise to do it yourself, we always recommend using a professional car detailer who would most often have all of the essentials and knowledge required. For these tough and disgusting situations, you can always leave it up to Schmicko to deal with your mould infestation issues. No one likes dealing with mould, it’s smelly, hazardous and looks unpleasant. Save yourself the nightmare and call us today.
Car Care Guru