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Can Auto Detailing Remove Mold?

Mold isn't something you'd like to see, especially in your car. People who have dealt with mold infestations know how much of a pain it can be to remove it. So, why not go to a professional to deal with it? Do auto detailers have mold removal services? If that's your concern, let's discuss the issue. 

Most auto detailing shops also offer mold removal. However, not all do, so it's best to research the particular shop or call ahead to verify before you go.

Mold removal is a demanding job. If you don't remove it quickly and correctly, it will make its way back into your car. Of course, we don't want that. So, when should you consider visiting an auto detailing professional? To learn more, keep reading. 

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Auto Detailing Mold Removal

Carwash, worker cleans seats with steam cleaner

Before you head to an auto detailing service, you might want to know what they do to remove the mold. Of course, that would depend on the particular shop. However, most will probably use a steam cleaner to remove it. 

That might sound counterintuitive because mold loves moisture. However, steam cleaners boil water up to 325 degrees Fahrenheit; this is high enough to eliminate most of it. 

Since steam cleaning does not kill all mold spores, auto detailers use a detergent to remove the lingering bits. Let's go over a brief overview of how it would go.

Filter Replacement

The cleaning process starts with a simple cabin air filter change. Mold spores are airborne. So, some of it might have contaminated your cabin filter. 

For this reason, professionals will replace it to avoid having the filter spread the mold again. 

Steam Cleaning

After changing the filter, auto detailing professionals will begin steam cleaning the entire interior. Of course, this means they'll hover the wand over the steering wheel, seats, carpets, dashboard, etc. 

Steam cleaners usually use temperatures as high as 250-325 degrees Fahrenheit; this is an adequate temperature range that won't harm any surfaces in the car's interior. 

Once they finish steam cleaning the interior, they will do a second round. However, this time professionals will add a detergent of their choice to the machine. 

Hot water alone isn't enough to kill mold entirely. Some mold spores may survive steam cleaning. For this reason, the second round of steam cleaning with detergent is necessary to remove every spot left behind. 

After the second round, professionals will let the interior dry.

The Finishing Touch

After the interior dries, professionals will treat the car with another detergent to ensure none of the mold comes back. Of course, this means the car will be wet again.

So, an auto detailer will use the car's heating to hurry up the process. Some might even use an ozone machine inside to remove odors and bacteria. 

Here's a video demonstrating every part of the process:

Alternative Way Professionals Will Remove Mold

As mentioned, the method to remove mold will depend on the shop. Some auto detailers might not like using a steam cleaner. Instead, they'd prefer the old fashion way

In other words, they'll use several tools to do the job. Let's go over a brief overview of the process.

Finding the Mold Source

The process starts by finding the source of the mold. The culprit can be a leaky seal, an AC that causes too much condensation, etc.

Whatever the culprit might be, an auto detailer will find it and decide the next steps.

If the source of the mold is a simple issue, they'll fix it themselves. Otherwise, the auto detailer will refer you to an automotive expert who can handle the problem. 

Vacuum Cleaning

Once the professional addresses the source of the mold infestation, they will start the cleaning process. So, they'll begin agitating and removing any mold spots they can with a vacuum cleaner. 

They'll follow it up with a brush. Then, it's time to move to the next step.

Using A Cleaner

Of course, a vacuum cleaner can't remove every single bit of mold. For this reason, an auto detailer will proceed with a product of their choice and a brush. 

A cleaner will be used to remove the remaining remnants of mold and any stains it left behind.

Disinfecting the Area

Once all visible spots of mold are gone, the auto detailer will finish the cleaning by treating the area with a disinfectant. A disinfectant will help prevent new fungal growth. 

The disinfectant used will depend on the professional. However, most will use a mixture of bleach and water. Finally, all that is left to do is to let the area dry. 

Here's a video demonstrating all the steps of the process:

How Much Does It Cost To Remove Interior Mold From a Car?

Now we know the extensive cleaning professionals will have to go through to remove mold from a car interior. It raises the question—how much will they charge?

That all depends on the severity of the problem. A small amount of mold won't take much time to remove. However, finding the source of the problem will take more time. 

On the other hand, if it's a severe mold infestation, a professional will find the source and clean the entire interior; this is a long, arduous process. For this reason, some auto detailers might charge you up to $1,200 for the job. 

It could be less, or it could be more. Nevertheless, it's always good to know what to expect. 

When Should You Go To An Auto Detailer For Mold Remediation?

Details of car cleaning - male using professional steam vacuum for dirty car interior

As we can see, mold removal is a big job with an expensive price tag. What steps should you take if you want to visit an auto detailer as your last option? Of course, you should start by trying to solve the problem yourself. 

As a DIYer, a single cleaning session may not be enough to remove the mold entirely. It can take a few cleaning sessions to remove it successfully. 

Unfortunately, mold might resurface despite your efforts to eliminate it. If this is the case, it's time to consider visiting a professional auto detailer to do the job. 

On the other hand, some DIYers might be able to remove it. However, there might be a lingering mold smell that they can't seem to eliminate. In this instance, the DIYer should also consider visiting an auto detailing professional. 

How To Prevent Mold Growth

Mold and fungus on a row of car seats that have remained unused for several months, Can Auto Detailing Remove Mold?

As mentioned, one of the more crucial steps of mold remediation is eliminating the source. Of course, it won't be easy to find it right away. 

However, we can use the process of elimination to narrow our choices. The first way to prevent mold from resurfacing is by eliminating moisture. So, check your seals for any tears or defects. 

Seals are one of the more common areas, but any point of entry on the interior can be the culprit. For example, sunroofs can leak water into the interior if the drain becomes clogged. 

It's also crucial to consider the items you leave inside your vehicle. Things like damp clothing can increase the humidity in your car. So, it won't give the interior a chance to dry. 

Once you eliminate the source of moisture, the interior is a few steps closer to becoming mold-free. 

Roll Your Windows Up

You'll want to ensure the mold doesn't have a way of coming in. Of course, this is after you clean, disinfect, and dry the area. Once the interior is dry, roll up all the windows. 

Avoid Eating In The Car

Man driving car while eating hamburger. Waiting and standing in traffic jam

Lastly, it's essential to remove any food sources for mold. Unfortunately, that means not eating inside your car. Unless you're willing to vacuum clean the interior after each meal, you should avoid eating in the car entirely. 

Food crumbs and minor spills from drinks are hard to avoid; it might not seem like a big deal initially. However, these things promote mold growth if you allow it to build up. 

How To Remove Mold Off of Surfaces

Close up of mold on the head rest of a car seat that has been laid up for several months

After fixing the source of the problem, we can move on to addressing the mold. As always, start by cleaning the area with a vacuum cleaner; this agitates and removes mold spores. 

Then, mix eight ounces of vinegar with two ounces of water in a spray bottle. Apply the mixture to the surface and scrub with a clean brush or rag. 

Click here to see this all-purpose vinegar on Amazon.

Let the solution soak in the area for about 15 minutes; this is plenty of time to allow the vinegar to penetrate the mold. Finally, let the surface dry. If a vinegar smell lingers, apply baking soda to the surface.

Of course, use a vacuum cleaner to remove it once the odor is no longer there. Here's a video demonstrating how to do it:

In Closing

Mold is never a pretty sight to see. If you see it, it's time to act before it spreads. As we've found, you can visit an auto detailer to do the job. However, it can be an expensive visit. In any case, we hope you found this informative. 

Before you go, do you have more mold concerns? Do you need help cleaning it yourself? For more information, check out:

How To Remove Mold From Your Car

How To Remove Mold And Mildew From Leather Car Seats