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Mold in Car causing sinus/bronchitus

We have had a problem for 2 years with the passenger side carpet being soaked when we run the air conditioner. We just figure out where the tube was that was disconnected thanks to Car Talk!

Since March, I’ve had either or both a sinus/bronchitis infection (every other month)

I am allergic to molds. We don’t think the air system or tubes have mold but the carpet being so wet for so long probably is suspect.

Is the best solution to remove the carpet completely to be sure the mold is gone?

“Is the best solution to remove the carpet completely to be sure the mold is gone?”


Yes, and I would suggest an anti mold spray. Spray the carpet area and spray in the air intake for the A/C (Generally in the vent area in front of the windscreen.

My husband has been getting estimates at replacing the carpet and it is getting expensive to remove the carpet and replace ($800)

Would steam cleaning by an auto detail place suffice?

Assuming you can’t replace the carpet–if you haven’t done so already, I would ask at a hardware store for the best solution to use to remove mold from carpeting. Bleach would obviously kill mold, but might also ruin your carpet. Possibly you could use a dilute bleach solution (ask for a recipe) on a sunny day, then open the car and let it air out (direct sun being best) or rent an industrial dryer. I’ve read several formulas on line for this, but not sure what is truly effective and safe.

A Sodium Borate solution will kill the mold and keep it from coming back. Boric Acid will do the job. Dry out the carpet first, then mix about a half pound of Boric Acid or Borax in a quart of hot water and then saturate the carpet with it. Then dry it out again.

You can add about a cup of antifreeze to this solution and it will work even better. When it dries out, the antifreeze will be safe, it won’t give off toxic fumes as some here believe. Just let it dry first.

Do you have hand tools and a place to work on it? Carpet replacement is not usually technically difficult.

If the carpet was wet, on and off, for two years, the interior is likely loaded with mold spores. Replacing the carpet might not solve your problems.

I don’t know about carpet but this stuff could be good.
oops looks like they have problems but I have heard wonderful stories for mold killing. looks like if you want to use it you might have to wait a bit.

We successfully removed the carpet. It took 3 hours but it was not difficult. We wiped down the metal and rubber areas with some mold killer. We are thinking of buying a new carpet and installing ourselves. We are letting the car air out a bit before installing a new one. We are afraid if we go to the cost and labor of cleaning the old carpet–it might not work and we’d be back to where we started.

How likely is it any mold spores would be on the metal or on any rubber that was under the carpet?

You should be able to kill the mold on clean, nonporous material with 10% bleach. Keep it wet with that for 10-20 minutes and rinse it well. Bleach is very corrosive to metals and oxidizes (destroys) organic materials like plastic and rubber. I would be more worried about the mold spores in the upholstery and in places you can not get to.

Likely you can find an outfit in the yellow pages that does fire restoration. Many also do mold restoration. I suggest you call them. Some will also work with cars and they have the experience and equipment to do the job.

Of course you need to find and eliminate the source of the moisture first.

If you plan on keeping the car for a few more years…get decent carpet. I replaced the carpeting once and regretted not buying a better quality carpet. After a couple of years it had holes and seams were coming apart.

There will be mold almost anywhere you test for it if the test is sensitive. When the mold scares first came out, I had one experience with an outfit that was using all kinds of scare tactics. Funny thing, the mold levels that they were finding and claiming were serious were about 10% of what was in the air outside the house.

There is no way to totally eliminate mold.

The most sensitive mold detector available might be the (biosensor) original poster. If the health issues go away, there is no significant mold issue. The cause of the allergy problems are mold particles themselves and the volatile organic compounds they produce. Some people can be very sensitive to them.