Mold in Vehicle

We had our Toyota truck’s transmission repaired + when it was returned to us after the repair was completed, the truck reaked of mold. How do you successfully remove mold from a vehicle? We think they left the windows open during a thunderstorm or series of thunderstorms. So the moldy smell might be coming either from the rugs, seats or both. The smell is very unpleasant.

This Could Be Quite A Project.
Do Have Comprehensive Insurance Coverage On The Vehicle ?
Have You Confronted The Repair Shop About The Mold Situation ?

This could be a difficult DIY job. If carpet padding got wet and if the padding is natural fiber material then it will possibly need to be replaced, not so much with synthetic materials.

Perhaps a flood damage restoration service company could have a look at it. You can try an auto detailer for suggestions, too.

Unless somebody can pinpoint the source of the mold odor then I’d think the whole interior would need treatment.

You’re quite sure the mold isn’t in the HVAC system ? Air conditioners like growing mold and spewing bad smells, even when windows weren’t left open.


Well, it’s very hot out right? 4th of July and all. So on a hot sunny day, leave the car outside, all windows open, and let it cook in the hot sun. You could put a fan in the window and blow air through the car from one side to the other too, might help even more. To kill off mold you want to elimate all moisture you possibly can. Then use a strong shop vac and vaccum everything in sight. Finish up with a general cleaning of the hard surfaces using a compatible cleaning product. It might just do the trick. This would be all but impossible to do in the winter, but in the summer it just might work.

One more thing. There’s some possiblity there is water (and mold) inside the doors too. You may have to open them by taking off the inside panels. While they are open, clean it out the best you can, and make sure the drains at the bottom of the doors are not plugged. Don’t re-install the panels until everything inside the door is absolutely dry and all debris has been vacuumed out.

I don’t know how it would work on upholstery. Well, actually, I do know. Not very well. But, professional mold in your house crews use a lot of bleach.

I agree that dry and vacuum should be the first step, and if it works, OK. If it doesn’t, then you need to clean the interior and I would recommend that you use good old 20 mule team Borax instead of bleach. The Borax residuals will keep killing any new molds that might try to grow where bleach is one shot only.

You can do a traditional water and borax with some detergent, but you might just try rubbing Borax powder into the carpet and fabrics, let is sit for a few days and then vacuum it out and see if that does the trick.

Mold is tough, especially on fabric. I think you are going to find that the pad under the carpet got wet and needs to be replaced. Whether the carpet can be salvaged or not is another matter. Also for the seats, the foam under the seat probably got saturated and you really need to get the fabric off and inspect, dry, replace the foam and batting. I just don’t think there is any other way. Again hopefully the fabric can be salvaged. But you have to get the seat out, pull the carpet and go from there. When cars get wet inside, you have to take immediate action to get the pad and seat out and dry right away or you’ll get mold, then its a big problem.

We had to put our pop up camper down in the rain once and it was a week before I could get it opened and dried out. I got mold in the canvas and bed pads. No matter what I tried or did, I could never get it out so I couldn’t smell it. I finally just junked it and our camping days were over. My wife was very grateful for that.