How to Remove Mildew Under a Car Carpet

back of a car with the hatch open
  • 2-4 hours
  • Intermediate
  • 0-250
What You'll Need
Clean cloths
Table salt
Baking soda

Mold or mildew in your car carpet can be a pesky problem that not only gives your vehicle an unpleasant odor but, if not cleaned, can grow, become very difficult to eliminate, and present a health problem. It is possible to remove the mold and to have your car smell almost as good as new with a few easy steps.

Step 1 - Find the Source of Moisture Mold

floor mat in a car

Mold can only grow on your carpet if there is a source of moisture there. Whether the moisture comes from something that was spilled under your floor mat and wasn’t properly cleaned up or perhaps from snow you brought into your car on your feet that has melted, there will sometimes be moisture there. The first step in preventing mold and mildew is to determine why the moisture is there and what you can do to get rid ko of the source.

If you have wet floor mats, make sure you remove them and allow them to dry. Remove damp leaves or other debris that might have been tracked into your vehicle, particularly under the floor mats. Because mold likes darkness, it will be more likely to grow under the car mats where it is dark and damp. Therefore, do everything possible to keep this area free of debris and moisture.

Step 2 - Remove the Moisture

Before getting to the actual mold, remove all the moisture that's in your carpet. If the damp carpet is under a car mat, remove the mat after checking to see if it contains any moisture or mold. Soak up all the moisture from your carpet with dry, absorbent towels. Continue this procedure until there is very little moisture remaining in your carpet.

Step 3 - Remove the Mold

vacuuming carpet in a car

If you have access to a carpet shampooer that can be used in your vehicle, use it to shampoo your carpet. When using a shampooer, though, it is important to avoid getting the carpet too wet when trying to remove the mold. Be sure you remove as much moisture from the carpet as possible after shampooing it.

If you don’t have access to a carpet shampooer, use a brush and a paste of ¼ cup lemon juice, ¼ cup table salt, and just enough water to make a thick paste. Place the paste on your carpet and brush it into the mold with a toothbrush. Once the paste mixture has been worked into the carpet, allow it to dry for about a half hour. Then, vacuum the dried mixture from your carpet.

Step 4 - Allow Your Carpet to Dry

Allow the carpet to completely dry. Do this project on a sunny day and allow your vehicle to sit in direct sunlight with fresh air flowing through our windows and your carpet will dry more quickly. Use fans or a hair dryer if necessary.

Step 5 - Deodorize Your Carpet

After completing the above steps, and if you still have a lingering odor of mold, sprinkle baking soda on your carpet and allow it to sit for several hours. Then, remove the baking soda with a vacuum cleaner.