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Mildew Smell In Car

Does anyone know how to get the mildew smell out of a car? I accidentally left all my windows in the car open and it ended up storming really badly. Well, needless to say my car was filled with water. It has been about 6 months and it still stinks. I've tried fresheners of all sorts. Nothing is working. Help!


By chicky

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June 5, 20090 found this helpful
Best Answer

Try spraying it with some What Odor? It completely got rid of the fish smell in my car after someone poured fish oil in my a/c vents. Really works great. had me saying What Odor?

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November 18, 20100 found this helpful
Best Answer

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.


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August 29, 20050 found this helpful

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?


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November 19, 20100 found this helpful

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.

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April 3, 20110 found this helpful

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.

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June 22, 20160 found this helpful

same happened to me ,my husband took my keys left window down and bad storm passed and got inside of car soaking wet , after some thought , on how to get rid of smell i went and got a bog box of kitty litter with arm and hammer spread it all over and under wet places , it absorbed odor and humidity.

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August 16, 20100 found this helpful

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


Mildew Smell In Car

Try coal, the little square kind you put in an outdoor non gas grill OR bowls of vinegar and leave the windows up as long as possible. The vinegar smells horrible for a bit, but it is well worth it. (12/03/2008)

By SueQ

Mildew Smell In Car

This is for after all the water is out of the floor and walls. Pour coffee grounds from the package onto a cookie sheet and leave overnight in the car. The coffee is still fit to use as beverage. (12/03/2008)

By kimhis

Mildew Smell In Car

Try spraying it with some What Odor? It completely got rid of the fish smell in my car after someone poured fish oil in my a/c vents. Really works great. Had me saying What Odor?

By boyoiman

RE: Mildew Smell In Car


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December 2, 20080 found this helpful

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.



It rained in my car - How can I prevent mildew and mold?

One time my new 1978 Fire bird got totally drenched inside in a major rainstorm. I was shopping in the mall, as usual and left the windows open. We left the windows open for a few days and it was fine after that. We never noticed mildew or anything wrong and the seats were burgundy velour. (06/08/2005)

By Anonymous

It rained in my car - How can I prevent mildew and mold?

This has happened to us twice. Both times I soaked up as much water as I could with towels and newspaper, then I hauled out my long outdoor extension cord & used my 1500 watt blow dryer in spells of 10 minutes or so, because much longer and it overheats & stops. The first time it stopped I thought I'd killed it, but remembered our vacuum cleaner overheated & stopped, so I turned it on again about 10 minutes later. Yes, it was fine! Also don't get it too close to the fabric, stay about 4 inches away & of course keep away from anything melt able. A spritz or two of something like febreeze, or any scent you like, probably couldn't hurt. (06/10/2005)

By Linne

It rained in my car - How can I prevent mildew and mold?

Buy a bag of charcoal, split it open and let sit in your car. The charcoal absorbs the wet odor. As for drying your interior, if it is going to be hot and dry, leave the windows open for a while. Otherwise, a shop vac will pull out water as well as debris. (06/11/2005)

By tambi

Mildew Smell In Car

There is a great all natural product that will remove any mold or mildew from your car as well as eliminate any musty odor. It is moldzyme and you can learn about it at (08/30/2005)

By schneid

Mildew Smell In Car

If you're sure the interior is absolutely dry, try removing the floor mats and sprinkling the carpets and upholstery with Borax (found in the laundry aisle). Let it sit overnight or longer and then vacuum out. It works on urine smells in carpets and on mattresses. Also you can put a few pieces of real charcoal (the kind you barbecue with; but the ones not pre-saturated with lighter fluid) under the seats, in the trunk, and in the ash tray. It's a natural deodorizer. You can use this in closets, under the couch, in the fridge, and best of all, it's cheap! (09/01/2005)

Mildew Smell In Car

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)

By Dalton

Mildew Smell In Car

The best and only thing to do for this problem is to remove as much as you possibly can from the vehicle that is wet. Once you have done so- get a dehumidifier and leave it in your car over night for a couple of nights. Once you have done this you will remove most of the water and moisture from the car. When you think the car is free of moisture and dampness- give it a couple of sprays of febreeze under the mats- Go to the car wash and have them clean mats with soapy water also.(07/05/2007)

By Tilla

Mildew Smell In Car

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)


Mildew Smell In Car

I did the same as above. Left the windows and it rained bad. The car smells of mildew. So I went to harbor freights, bought a steam cleaner and went to town on the floors. Pulling the carpet up, cleaning from the bottom up, from the top down. Used the shop vac to circulate air (on the blower setting) to dry out from under the front carpets, and have tried the carpet spray in the past. I'll see if this makes a difference. Only way I figured to kill the mildew, is to steam the life out of it and get it dry before anymore mold can take a hold. (09/27/2008)

By Dam

Mildew Smell In Car

To absorb wetness in the house and car, I use a product called Damp Rid. It comes in containers or hanging bags. It works very, very well. It starts with some type of dry pellets and within a few hours to a day, the pellets absorb the moisture and turn to liquid. The container has a filter type piece that you put the pellets on and drain. The bag is in 2 pieces. (10/16/2008)

By Lisa

Mildew Smell In Car

Try spraying the floor mats and upholstery with Febreeze. We use this in our van and it works quite well. (11/25/2008)

By Rose

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