First if mildew is in the car being careful and don't breathe it, mold and mildew is not good for your health. If it is in the carpet then cover your face and uses bleach and water solution, rent a cleaner from a store and do the carpet as you would do the house. If mildew is coming from the A/C vents then, this is what I do and that is I use a water and bleach solution and spray it into the vents, I turn on the fan blower with the A/C on full and spray the solution in the vents, I open all doors and let it run for several minutes, after the bleach smell goes away the car will smell fresh. I have to do this every year after I use the A/C. Most car manufactures will say it is caused by the cabin filter but as a certified mechanic over 34 years I can assure you that is not the cause. The true cause is the water is sitting up inside the A/C housing and not draining properly. The foam flush is also another way to spend money that will only cause it to be worst the next year when you use it again. Be careful if you do what I do and I am not advising you to do what I do but am only telling you about how I get rid of the mildew odor in my car and truck, I hope this helps and God bless you.
I consulted my detail guy at the dealership I work, he said that first you need to make sure that all wet areas are dried (use hair dryer if needed). Next, sprinkle baking powder on the carpet and cloth seats, rub into the upper part of your seats. After 24 hours vacuum the seats and carpeting. He also said that if that doesn't take care of it, you can typically bring your car into a dealership or detail garage and have it "ozoned". My personal experience is that the ozone isn't all that great.
Buy a box of pet fresh at your local grocery/dept store. Sprinkle it all over your vehicle's carpet; let it sit for 10 minutes, then vacuum it up. Can also put a air freshener in your car.
I accidentally left the sun roof open on my two-month old car over night and, Murphy's Law, we got hit with a major storm. My interior was drenched! The car is still operating okay and i've been letting it sit in a underground garage with windows and sun roof open so it can air out. The seats are cloth. They don't feel very wet but I'm sure the water has soaked into the core and is festering there. Is there anything else I can do to prevent mold/mildew from setting in?
I had a leak from the sunroof of my car and the car mat and the carpet in the front seat got soaking wet. I used a wet vac to get the water out and now I have a terrible mildew smell. How can I get the smell out?
By Freyda P.
Try cleaning the mat & carpet with a solutuion of Orange Glow & warm water.
I left the windows in my car open, and of course it started to pour that night. To say the least, with heat and humidity I have an awful moldy, mildew smell in it. I have vacuumed the car, and tried to air it out, but there is still this awful scent. Any help would be much appreciated.
I recently went out of town for two weeks and while I was gone, it rained for 18 days straight. So when I came back I hopped in my car and it's all wet and mildewy EVERYWHERE! Someone help.(b)Editor's Note:(/b) To get started, get a wet/dry vac and try to vacuum out as much of the water as possible, just keep vacuuming. You might also get a dehumidifier and put it in the car for a while, that will help get some of the moisture out. If it is sunny now, open the windows and let it air out. (07/02/2007)
After 3 years of trying to track down this smell (mostly present in the summer months), I finally tracked down the culprit. It is not the AC and has nothing to do with the ac/heat vents. The smell seems to come from the vents but it is not the vents -- the problem is 1 or 2 defective freeze plugs in the rear of the auto. Look underneath the trunk (if Santa Fe, it's 2 rubber plugs under the rear cabin, next to spare tire) you will see rubber plugs in the sheet metal body. When you remove the rubber plugs you will see the ground through the inside of auto. These plugs leak and water is getting into the cabin.
The Santa Fe has sound insulation that is absorbing the water & turning moldy. You will have to completely disassemble the plastic storage compartments in rear, many screws & plastic snap on fasteners. Once you get to the foam, it will be soaking wet & it smells bad. Tear the wet foam out completely and spray the remaining fabric with lysol or febreeze. Then use high grade RTV silicone to seal the plugs. Make sure you coat the entire rubber plug - I even glued a thick piece of plastic over the silicone coated plug as back up to prevent water from getting back inside the rear cabin. I chose not to replace the foam but you can put any similar material in its place. Email me if you have questions: aralight AT netzero. net. GOOD LUCK. ROB (08/11/2008)
I have just recently bought a 1995 Monte Carlo from my grandparents. It has been sitting closed up in Maryland for a little over a year. I brought it down to Florida and for the first few months I have had no problems. About two or three months ago I started noticing a musty or mildew smell. Not long after my bf starting telling me that every time I get out of my car I smell like that.
I'm a very clean person and my car reflects that. Every Tuesday on my day off I clean it out from head to toe. I use the sprinkle and vacuum air freshener in hopes it will help. That of course only lasts a couple hours and the smell comes back. I've never left my windows down in the rain and I never leave trash in there. Tomorrow I'm trying Damp Rid, but if that does not work what should I try next?
Kelly from FL
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