How to Get Rid of Mildew Smell in Car

Once that dreaded mildew smell starts coming from your car, it can be very hard to get rid of. You can spray the air freshener all you like but after a few minutes when the fragrance diffuses out, the smell would return. Don’t worry, in this article we will show you some proven methods how to get rid of mildew smell in car.

Find the source

The mildew smell can originate from several sources in your car. Therefore, it goes without saying that for effective treatment you need to identify the source of the problem. Here are some likely places that could be causing that funky mildew smell:

get rid of mildew smell car mats

Mats: Check for any dampness in the floor mats of your car. They are the ones that get most into contact with exterior materials. So, there is a strong chance that mildew might be growing there.

Upholstery: A seat’s upholstery is a frequent site for spills so if you had been a bit lazy in cleaning a mess, the situation would be ripe for mildew growth. So, feel for any out-of-place damp spots on the upholstery.

get rid of mildew smell car ac

The evaporator of the A/C system, specifically if you live in humid conditions, is a stellar breeding ground for that mildew stench. The moisture there, along with various stuff that comes in and lodges itself there from the air intake, combine to give ideal conditions for mildew growth. Therefore, if you can’t locate the source anywhere inside the car, then the most likely culprit is your air conditioning unit.

How to Get Rid of Mildew Smell in Car

Here is how to get mildew smell out of the car after you have found its place of origin:

Mats & Upholstery

Anhydrous Calcium Chloride is a very good desiccator. It can easily double its weight in water as it absorbs moisture and is very easy to clean. Just put it in a perforated dish and place it at or near the wet region of the mat.
Alternatively, you can use baking soda in place of Calcium Chloride but it is a tad less effective. You can also just leave the car open in the sun and let the warmth of the sunlight do the trick.

If you like a more hands-on approach, you can obtain the same results with a shop vacuum or any other wet/dry vacuum. You don’t necessarily have to buy it, although it is good to have one handy, as it can easily be rented out at a DIY store.
You can also shampoo and clean the mats and then let them dry completely before putting them back in the car. However, if you want to clean your upholstery then it is better to go down to the nearest car service center.

A/C System

get rid of mildew smell in car

Getting the mildew smell out of your car’s air conditioning unit is a little more complex. You need to get a bottle of a/c odor remover. After cleaning the air intake filter under your windscreen (if it is easily accessible), you proceed to spray the odor remover in all the air vents inside the car, placing special emphasis on the recirculation vent. After that, you turn the a/c on and run the blower at full speed while keeping the car closed. The odor remover will work to kill the source of the mildew smell via successive recirculation passes, leaving the car smelling clean.

Alternatively, you can also use a solution of vinegar/water or an enzyme-based spray to do the job. Simple air fresheners would also work but they are comparatively less effective. Hopefully, these methods will resolve any of your queries pertaining to how to get rid of mildew smell in car. Looking for more guides? Check out our Repair Guides page. Please like our Facebook Page for more awesome content!

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