how do I clean and sanitize a moldy, smelly car interior?

My car was left in a damp garage for a few weeks and developed this hideous layer of mold over the complete interior of the car. I mean every square inch!

I had the car detailed which got rid of all the visible mold but the car still has very strong moldy smell to it. Even when the windows are open the smell is overwhelming.

Now I have a kid and I need to make sure the car is clean and safe for him. Any ideas?


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    3 thoughts on “how do I clean and sanitize a moldy, smelly car interior?”

    1. You’re gonna need chemicals. Lysol, Ozium are good starts. Park the car outside, switch the A/C on full blast, and make sure it’s on outside air (not recirc). Roll up the windows and get out of the car. If you look near the windshield wipers, you should be able to see a vent near the base of the windshield. Spray lysol into this vent, about 1/4 of the can. This will kill all the mold that’s hiding in your vents, as well as blast lysol into your interior. Let the car run for a few minutes after wards then shut it off. This should help quite a bit. Next is to treat it with Ozium a few times to get rid of what’s left of the smell.

      I’m sure there’s other methods that work better, but this is easy to do yourself and costs less than $10. Good luck!

    2. I honestly think you should remove any/all fabric material/carpeting and start fresh…mold spores are going to continue to lie dormant even though the detailer has removed the "top layer"…

    3. If you already have a Sharper Image Ionic Breeze air purifier, place it in the car in an upright position overnight and turn it on (highest setting, if there is one). If this doesn’t work, seek to buy or rent an Ozone Generator (google for one) and place it in the car instead. Ozone, at a high enough rate for a long enough time will kill all mold, mildew, and bacteria by starving them of oxygen. The car will smell a little bleachy when you open it, so step back, open at least two doors and let the car air out afteryou turn off the ozone gadget. After it airs out, the car should have a smell similar to the air after a rainstorm. If you still have a moldy smell, repeat and extend the time of the treatment.

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