How to Get Mildew Smell Out of Car

During the rainy season, there are several opportunities for water to find it’s way within your car.  The carpeting and upholstery often become moist and develop an unwanted mildew odor.


There are several preventative steps for removing a car’s mildew stench to ensure that musty odors do not return.  By following some of the below solutions, you can return the new car smell that existed the first day you purchased it.


Mildew Odor Removal Solutions


1 Blot Dry Everything Wet

Within the battle against mildew, moisture is almost always the enemy.  If a mildew odor exists within the car it is important to hunt down these locations and blot dry them with a clean dry towel.  Be sure to press firmly to draw out the maximum amount of moisture that is possible.


2 Place Everything in Sun

The direct UV rays can go a long ways in eliminating mildew and adding freshness back within fiber.  Look through the automobile and identify anything affected that is not bolted down. Next, remove all of these items and place them within the sun for 1-2 days.  Removable items can vary from car seats, seat cover and floor mats.  After spending over two days within direct sunlight it normal for these items to dry out and lose their mildew scent.


3 Blast AC & Only Park in Direct Sunlight

This is a rather simplistic solution which can be effective in most cases of mildew growth within a car.  When driving the car, be sure to turn on the air conditioner on full power to ensure that the AC ventilation and interior of the car dries out any remaining moisture that mildew can live from.  When not driving the car, be sure to park the car in direct sunlight with the window cracked to allow for additional evaporation of moisture.


4 Sprinkle Baking Soda

This household powder has been used for generations for it’s odor absorption powers.  Sprinkle heavy quantities of baking soda over all affected areas within the interior of the car.  Gentile rub the powder in within the upholstery and carpeting and provide 4-7 days for the baking soda to dry out the moisture and absorb any remaining mildew odor.  After nearly a week has passed, vacuum the powder from the interior of the car and enjoy a freshened automobile.


5 Create a Homemade Anti-Mildew Spray

A homemade anti-mildew spray can be created from apple cider vinegar, tea tree oil or grape seed extract mixed with water and a small portion of dish detergent.  Mix 4 teaspoon spoon of apple cider vinegar, tea tree oil or grape seed extract, with a half teaspoon of dish detergent and 3 cups of water within a household spray bottle. Once created, spray down the affected areas of the automobile, ensuring that they are sufficiently covered within the solution.  As a final step, ensure that windows are cracked to provide for a faster drying timetable.  Although all three options are  antifungal, apple cider vinegar is far less expensive than opting to use either tea tree oil or grape seed extract.


6 Dry Coffee Grounds

Use of dry coffee grounds can help a great deal in absorbing unwanted odors.  Fill two small flat tupperware containers with dry coffee grounds and place then under the two front seats with the lids off.  Allow for 5-7 days of absorption before removing the tupperware containers and enjoying the subtile scent of fresh coffee beans within the car.


7 Use Enzymes

Using enzyme cleaners can go a long way to naturally remove mildew from the interior of an automobile.  The activated enzymes eat through odorous mildew and organics which cause freshness and leave freshness behind.  Depending on the extent of the mildew infestation, use a enzyme solution on a sliding scale.  If it if particularly bad, try pour this solution on the affected area to let it soak in rather than opting to use enzyme spray.  After application, it is common to allow 24-48 hours for the solution to soak in before returning to blot dry the product with the affected areas and leaving windows cracked to allow for the solution to dry completely.


8 Run an Ozone Machine Within Car

When all else has failed, renting an ozone machine might be a viable option.  Ozone machines are capable of removing moisture from the air as well as neutralizing any odor within an enclosed space. It is important that you careful read the instruction of your ozone machine rental as failure to do so can be harmful and could potential lead to one’s death.


9 Take to Car Cleaners

When short on time and patience, taking one’s car to the car cleaners is usually a sure fire way to remove the mildew odor and return the car’s smell to normal.  Depending on the extent of that mildew within the car, this option will usually require from one to two days for completion.


Published by

Joe Fresh

Joe is an odor combatant, chemistry extraordinaire and all around good guy. He has an over-productive olfactory system with absolutely zero tolerance for unpleasant aromas.

One thought on “How to Get Mildew Smell Out of Car”


    Open windows of your car and allow fresh air. Clean the
    seats, headliners, floor-carpets and all surfaces. Steam clean is another good
    option to get rid of bad smell. I have heard that 12 Volt Ionizer may kill
    germs leaving a fresh smell inside the car.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *