Mold in Truck! Out Damn Mold!
November 19, 2009 7:28 PM   Subscribe

I'm asking for my sister. And, yes I saw the previous sorta related mold questions but this is specific enough and those were long enough ago that I thought, perhaps, there might be some new mold-fighting technology or tactics: "We have a serious mold problem in our truck! Has anyone had success battling mold?

"...We are still trying to determine the cause. It is likely from a leak, but could also have been compounded from wet stuff left inside. We don't drive it much, so the wet stuff was in the cabin for four weeks before we saw any results. Granted it also rained VERY heavily for many days during that time, too.

So far, we wiped down all surfaces (fabric and hard plastic) with a mold remover spray. We then shampooed the seats and carpet and dry vacuumed them. I also just put a dehumidifier in the cabin (a cheap plastic thing with little kitty litter like balls--like those silicon packets that come in shoes???). It hasn't collected any water though it has been three very wet and rainy days.

We have been advised by our local car expert to take out the seats and carpet and completely wash and dry them. This is our new plan for the Thanksgiving holiday when we can use our parents' garage. (We live in a city apartment and park on the street). We have been told that even cavemen could do this.

Does anyone have additional suggestions/hints?

Thanks so much!
Ellen in Seattle"
posted by fieldtrip to Grab Bag (6 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
You have to dry that truck out. If your weather permits, give it sunshine, sunshine, sunshine. Windows down and doors open, that kind of sunshine. I imagine sunshine is more readily available in the parents' driveway.

Until then, buy a box of rock salt and sprinkle it everywhere. Wait 12-24 hours. Vaccuum up the salt at the car wash. Repeat.
posted by at the crossroads at 7:48 PM on November 19, 2009

Forgot to add-- if you use baking soda (I tried this once), you get a wet white paste that stains the upholstery and is difficult to remove.

I live in a very humid environment and some of my friends swear by the kitty litter with crystals, but I don't know. I don't want my car to smell like a cat box. Not even a clean cat box. So I use the salt method.
posted by at the crossroads at 7:55 PM on November 19, 2009

Oil of cloves, in water, wiped over everything... a "natural" mould killer.
posted by taff at 8:48 PM on November 19, 2009

Spray tea tree oil diluted in alcohol under the floor mats and carpet. Tea Tree oil's anti mold effects can linger for months.
posted by hortense at 10:18 PM on November 19, 2009

Make sure it is dry on the inside. I have used a small dehumidifier in a car before. Then once it is dry, an ozone generator can go a long way towards cleaning up the smell and killing any spores.

Of course if your truck leaks this will all be for nought.
posted by psycho-alchemy at 11:06 PM on November 19, 2009

As others have said, find the leak first and fix that. We have a car in our shop right now with a serious leak (coming from the rear of the passenger-side front wheel-well, FWIW) that allowed standing water of about 2 inches to collect on the floor of the vehicle. We took out all the carpet and padding on the passenger side of the vehicle to find the leak, let it all air out (inside) for a couple days, repaired the leak, and when we've reinstalled the carpeting we'll hook it up to the ozone machine as psycho-alchemy suggests. The ozone machine will kill anything inside of the vehicle. Your sister may want to also change her cabin air filter if any musty/moldy smell persists or if she feels that there isn't any leak at all and it's just the lingering smell of wet items left in the vehicle.
posted by redsnare at 1:26 PM on November 20, 2009

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