Easy 4-Step DIY Guide On How To Get Mildew Smell Out Of Car

Your car’s interior can smell a myriad of things, and if you’re wondering how to get mildew smell out of car, then we’ll dish out what you should do. No matter your car’s purpose in your household — a ride for work, fun, or family — we’re sure that you’ll find great use of this article.

Mildew is a type of mold, which is a type of fungus. It is a term used interchangeably because they appear almost the same, with the distinction being in color, where mildew is usually white, and molds are commonly referred to when what’s present is black, green, blue, and others.

how to get mildew smell out of car

Being the same as mold, mildew, therefore, thrives in the same conditions as them. They also want organic materials to decompose and a sufficient supply of moisture without sunlight.

Given that the sweaty-sock smell from these organisms is in your car, and of course you’re here to get rid of them, we’ll cover an effective process of doing so.


Steps On Removing Mildew Smell From Car Interior

The car interior definitely doesn’t have organics where mildew can thrive when you first get your unit. However, your daily routine while using it can surely bring some of it.

Together with an ever-present source of moisture, your mildew smell should be cutting through, and here’s how you can deal with it. 


Step #1. Find out where the infestation is

If you wish for any awful car smell to indeed disappear, the first thing you must be concerned about is to find where the thing that is causing it is — especially mildew, since they do grow, multiply and spread. Before being stuck on getting the air cleansed of the smell, you should try checking beneath the carpets, seats, and the like first.

Preferably, it’s best to just wholly clean the interior of your car in one go while you’re looking for the source of the mildew smell, which can assure there wouldn’t be any straggler. However, if the scent has reached the level that it’s an emergency, then the spots you should check are the ones where sunlight doesn’t come, you don’t see often, and the ones that can hold moisture.


Step #2. Wash off the mildew

Mildew smell is so typical that car owners are pretty familiar with it and know that it comes from mildew eating something in your car. Now that you’ve located where that is, you need to get some tools and solutions for it, and here’s an article you can check on where to buy CLR mold and mildew remover.

You should remove anything that can get in your way first, then vacuum the mildews next if they’re somewhat dry, so they don’t end up flying around and holding on to start new colonies in your car. Use a soft and suitable brush to clean and apply the mildew-killing solution, like bleach, in the infested area and its surrounding.


Step #3. Dry the area and air the car

After killing the mildew and cleaning the area they infested, you need to dry the car interior. This should be done in the interior’s entirety: the spot you cleaned and everything else.

You can start with the wetted area first by wiping it down with a dry and clean absorbent cloth then a wet vacuum. It’s necessary to dry the entire car interior because moisture slightly above the normal range is sure to invite the mildew infestation again.

If it’s not rainy or humid on the day you’re doing this cleansing, you can open the car up to let out most of the unpleasant smells. Remember to permanently close all the doors and windows in case it rains or there are spores in your garage.

In which case here’s how to prevent mold in the garage.


Step #4. Deodorize the interior

If the smell hasn’t entirely gone away, you can use smell-absorbing products to expedite the process, such as activated carbon, which you can leave inside the car. For carbon, make sure you place it somewhere it won’t get bumped into and spilled.

There are also other deodorizing substances you can use to uplift the smell of your car. Just make sure that other than doing that, they don’t leave an even worse smell or harm the environment.


How does mildew smell get into your car?

Mildew smell comes from mildew, so an infestation will be tingling your nose until you notice and take action. If mildew spores got into your car, with moisture and just the right amount of organics to feed on, that smell is there to stay.

While this smell can momentarily disperse when you open the unit to open air, if you don’t remove the source, it’ll just keep coming back.


Can vinegar remove the mildew smell in a car?

White vinegar is one of the substances indicated as an-odor deodorizing, so it’s commonly used to deal with mildew smell on car interiors. We would remind you, though, that deodorizing is a step you need to take only after cleaning the mildew colonies, so it doesn’t go to waste.



Smelly cars are common, and knowing how to get mildew smell out of car can be a piece of common knowledge to owners. Keeping your unit clean and well-maintained should keep such nuisance away.

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