Let’s face it folks: making your car as fresh and clean as possible is a lot of work. You need to be vigilant about giving your car all the maintenance and upkeep that it requires. Your car may be squeaky clean on the outside, but is it equally clean inside?
Just like your boat, your house, or your bedroom, your car can harbor a variety of unwanted smells despite your best efforts to clean it every now and then. That’s understandable. After all, your car battles everyday pollutants and dirt constantly, and you can never completely get rid of every single thing that can eventually develop into a bad odor inside your car. Food items can be left in the car overnight, where they will go bad and develop a nasty, musty smell. Soil particles can get into the floor mats and make them smell muddy.
One of the most common—yet undetected—culprit to your car’s stale smell is automobile mold. Invisible to the naked eye yet teeming in the thousands, mold can really ruin the good looks of your car by pairing it with a bad odor.
The simple answer is that water, sweat, and moisture can all get trapped in your upholstery and carpets, encouraging mold growth and staining your beautiful fabrics a greenish tint.
To improve the general smell of your car, you can sprinkle a generous amount of baking soda on the car seats, the carpets, and the floor mats. Let it sit for hours, or maybe a day, before vacuuming it all up. Baking soda will absorb the bad smells of your car and leave it smelling fresh again. You can repeat the process over and over until you finally get rid of that bad smell.
But more than just applying cosmetic cures to the bad odors in your car, it’s a better idea to simply take out your carpets, shampoo them properly, vacuum them for good measure, and then apply a liberal coating of anti-stain to seal in that fresh look. If your car has a bad mold infestation, you should think about cleaning your car in clothes that you don’t mind throwing away. Putting on latex gloves to keep your hands from getting in contact with mold particles is likewise advisable.
For additional cleaning power, you can add a capful of household bleach. Scrub away at the infested areas with a dish towel or a soft toothbrush to get the mold out. If the mold growths have left behind stains, you just have to be a little patient and scrub harder or use more chemical cleansers to take them out.
That said, there is no better way to prevent your car from becoming a mold haven by regularly engaging in little cleanup practices, such as shaking out the carpets and letting them dry out if they get wet or stained with drink spills. Your car will definitely thank you for preserving both its beauty and its amazing scent.
If you removed the mold but it still smells like it, check out our post how to remove mildew smell in your car.