When it comes to toxic mold, most people’s focus is on their house (or workplace). Seems logical right? After all, this is where mold most frequently happens.
But what about your car? Can it get moldy? Is mold in a car dangerous?
Yes, your car can grow mold as well as be contaminated with mycotoxins. Both scenarios are unhealthy and can be dangerous.
Mold in cars is an often-overlooked source of health issues. Not only can your car interior be a host for toxic mold but your vehicle itself can be cross contaminated with mold spores from your home, outdoors, or just about anywhere. If you have mold spores in your car, then you bring them back into your home. Not good!
When I left my home after my toxic mold fiasco, I left everything behind except my car. Why? Well, I had lost everything else I owned in this world. I had no money and could not afford to ditch my car. I needed transportation as I had a young child and needed to get to doctor’s appointments so I could get help detoxing from mold exposure.
I choose to remediate my car. While there was no actual mold in my car, there was a lot of cross contamination happening. It was a risk. I knew I should just get rid of my car. But I couldn’t take the financial blow.
Because of this, I learned a ton about how to effectively remove mold and mold spores from cars using natural treatment methods that have been independently lab tested to prove their effectiveness. My method of removing toxic mold in cars also tackles those nasty offspring of mold – mycotoxins. You can rest assured that your car will be as remediated as it possibly can get!
Today, let’s talk about what causes mold in a car, how to remove mold in a car, how to prevent mold in a car, plus some other nuggets of information.
What Causes Mold In Cars
Like I said before, you can bring mold spores in from just about anywhere. Just because there isn’t actual mold growth, doesn’t mean there aren’t spores wreaking havoc on your health.
In addition, mold can start growing in a car from:
- A bottle of water or other beverage being spilled on floor or cloth seats
- Windows left open during the rain
- Piece of food that was forgotten
- Car interior being steam cleaned and not allowed to dry completely and properly
- Living in a humid environment
- Condensation issues
- Moisture coming in from loose seals
- Spores coming in through the car’s air conditioner
- Car being stored in a damp, dark garage or storage shed
- Flood damage
- Hurricane damage
- Pet urine
- Human body fluids
How Long Does It Take Mold To Grow In A Car?
Not long at all. In fact, mold has the opportunity to grow faster in a car than in a building. Why? Because cars are sealed up and lack ventilation. They might also be a lot warmer than your home or office. Stagnant air +heat + moisture makes it very easy for mold spores to flourish.
Mold can grow in a car in about 12 hours given the right conditions. Often times you will get that mildew smell in 6-10 hours.
How Do You Get Rid Of Mold In A Car?
Before you get to the removing mold from your car steps, it is important to prepare your car first. To do this, follow these steps:
- If possible, move your car somewhere into direct sunlight.
- Open all the doors and windows to allow the car to fully air out – at least 30 minutes.
- Get and wear a particle mask to protect you from breathing in the spores that are floating around.
- Remove everything you possibly can from the car.
- Inspect all the seats of the car, underneath the seats, on the carpet, on the steering wheel, and on the seatbelts to see the full extent of the mold growth. (You can skip this if you are simply treating for cross contamination). Make sure you check under the seat lining and side seams.
- When looking for mold in your car, make sure you look for all types of mold, which can range in color from brown, grey, white, green or black. It will usually be in small circular patches.
- Using an old toothbrush or detailing paintbrush, try to break up large clusters of mold, using gentle strokes to avoid spreading the spores around further. Remember to brush into all cracks and crevices, under and over the seats and surfaces.
- Using a HEPA vacuum, vacuum up any loose mold that you have freed up along with other dirt and debris.
Once you have completed those steps, move on to the following steps to remove the mold and mold spores from your car.
Removing mold in cars is done with the same solution you use for treating and preventing mold in your home – EC3 Mold Solution. I would purchase the EC3 spray bottle as well as the concentrated version. I used the original spray bottle plus 3 bottles of concentrate to clean my mid-size SUV.
Step 1. If they are still open, close all your doors and windows. Turn your fan on high using the car’s air climate control system. Press the button that makes the car suck the air through the vents from the outside. DO NOT USE ON RECYCLED AIR SETTING; USE THE FRESH AIR SETTING.
Standing outside your car, pass a tissue over the outside vents next to the windshield wiper. Where you see the air being pulled down into the vent is where you spray a large amount of the EC3. This allows it to be pulled into the vent system then delivered into the car. Leave the doors open and the fan running for about 10 minutes.
Step 2. Moving inside your car, spray the inside of all the air vents with the solution. Run the AC with the windows rolled up on circulation mode for 5 minutes.
Step 3. Steam clean every fabric surface with the undiluted EC3 concentrate.
Step 4. Spray the EC3 spray everywhere else and let it dry. Go back over your car a second time, wiping it down afterwards.
Step 5. The detail work. Get into all nooks and crannies with the spray and then using a NEW detailing brush, toothbrush or q-tip, really get into those hard to reach places.
Step 6. Roll up the windows. Burn this candle in the car for 3 hours. Obviously keep a super close eye on this. There really isn’t a way for it to catch anything on fire but you never know.
You can also make things easier by just fogging the inside of your vehicle twice. A lot of people prefer that method. It ends up being cheaper in the long run if you were planning on hiring someone to clean the car. You can also just fog monthly to prevent mold spores from taking hold. My personal preference and recommendation is to use this small thermal fogger along with the HavenFog solution. It has consistently performed well, is easy to use, and a quart of the solution will stretch quite far.
How To Prevent Car Mold In The First Place
Cross contamination can be a bit difficult to prevent but with some easy precautions you can not only limit the amount of mold spores you bring into your vehicle but you can prevent mold from growing at all.
- Every 6 months, spray the interior of your car with Superstratum Mold and Mildew Protectant. This will prevent mold growth like no other product on the market. You can learn all the details about Superstratum here.
- Be diligent about cleaning up moisture. This means that you need to get spills or other water intrusions cleaned up immediately. They also need to be dried out either by rolling down the windows on a warm day or using a fan or blow dryer to keep the air circulating.
- Open windows and air your car out often.
- Put plastic or tarps down when transporting anything from nature (like wood, plants, rocks, etc…)
- Run a car air purifier while driving.
- Keep moisture absorbers in your car.
- Keep the inside of your car garbage free. Don’t leave used tissues, food wrappers, and the like on the floor or seats. In addition, don’t use your car as storage.
- Clean your car at least once a month both inside and out.
- In an effort to keep rouge mold spores and mycotoxins at bay, simply mist the entire inside of your car with the EC3 Mold Spray on a monthly basis or fog monthly.
And there you have it! A guide to dealing with toxic mold in cars.
Got questions? Leave a comment and I will help you out as best I can.