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Water in the Car

My husband left the windows down in the car during Thursday’s torrential downpour. The car was soaked, but it doesn’t appear as if there was any major damage. We aired out the car for a few days at a friend’s house and dried it with a fan and hair dryer, but it’s still moist and has a musty smell. I live in the city so it’s not feasible for me to leave the car out to dry in the sun. Any tips for how to dry the car out? Is there a company that could do it for us?

If you have a wet/dry shop vacuum, you could vacuum the carpets and upholstery and try to suck up any water. If you don’t have one, this gives you a could excuse to purchase one --no home should be without one. A Bissel “Little Green Machine” that steam cleans upholstery might even be better. I use one not only in the house, but to clean the upholstery and carpets in my minivan that sees a lot of use. Again, this machine is quite handy for an initial purchase of $100.

An automotive detail shop is an option if you don’t want to do the work yourself.

Thanks for the reply!

The padding under the carpet may have soaked up some water. This is likely to be the source of the moisture and the musty odor. The water is trapped between the steel floor and the carpet, and cannot evaporate very effectively. Even if the carpet feels dry there may be water underneath, and you’d be amazed at how much water the padding can absorb.

The only way I know of to dry this padding is to lift the carpet, remove the padding, and let it dry outdoors. Depending upon how much water the padding is holding, and which sections of padding are wet, this may necessitate removal of the seats as well. Hopefully this won’t be the case for you.

Shop vacs, etc, are not strong enough to remove the water from the padding.

If you’re so inclined, you can do this yourself. If the seats don’t have to come out it’s not a difficult job. Removing the plastic trim at the bottom of the door frame, and maybe the kick panel ahead of the door, will allow you to lift the edge of the carpet and reach underneath.

If you don’t feel like doing it yourself (as in removing the wet items and drying them out) then I suggest a detailing shop, who will, for a price $$$, do it for you.