Dr. Beasley’s & Yahoo! Answers: “Mold in my car? Help please?”

Being a part of Dr. Beasley’s means we’re interested in educating and assisting the detailing and car cleaning worlds with our expertise. With technology such as Yahoo! Answers, that’s getting pretty easy; it turns out we can actually help quite a bit and these questions relate to a bunch of people…

Here’s a post I responded to earlier today:

“For like 6 months now my passat has had a very musty moldy smell but I cannot visibly see any mold. I cleaned all of the mats, purchased an anti mold “safe” chemical, and even had the car detailed twice. Every time I get into my car after not driving it for a day or two the smell is unbearable. I have to hold my breath until I car put all the windows down. I was fine with the whole “avoid the problem and put the windows down” but now its getting cold. I’m not so worried about the smell as I am about possible adverse health effects… All online material related to getting rid of mold in a car assumes that you know exactly where its coming from. Spraying vinegar, using bleach, changing ac vents… what’s a sure fire way to give this mold or whatever it is the boot?”

- Posted by max t on Yahoo! Answers.

Now I’m sure this has happened to a significant amount of us, right? At our detailing center, we see it all. Day-in and day-out, we see and fix everything from spilled milk to a broken watermelon (I’m not at all joking). So as our response helped out max t, maybe our insight can help you out if you’ve ever been familiar with a similar situation.

Here’s what I had to say:

“The first thing you should do is figure out the source, if everything except the directly affected spot is cleaned you’ll eventually start seeing a reoccurring problem… here may be a few ideas…

Often times Volkswagens (especially Passats & Jettas) have a problem of trapping leaves in the drain canals of the car, so during Autumn is when the problems tend to arise. This slows down water from draining outside the car, allowing seepage into the interior of the car causing unwanted moisture buildup (causing mold).

See link here: http://forums.vwvortex.com/showthread.php?4947064-Sunroof-drain-clog-lawsuit

On the other hand, if it was caused by a spill or an open window, etc. you might need to search for the direct source. The most common place I’ve seen hidden moisture from a spill, rain, etc. that people can’t find is under the seats. Often, especially in a sedan such as yours, you can’t get all the way under the seats. Your dealer should be able to help remove the seats or if you or a friend are handy enough to remove the seats, I strongly recommend it. Most detailing shops won’t take the seats out for their regular “interior detail” or carpet cleaning unless you specifically request, leaving the spot actually causing the mold and smell to still have bacteria present.

I would strongly recommend calling your VW Dealer or get an interior shampoo treatment (with the seats removed).”

Whether this is familiar or not, I found it incredibly interesting that a number of people have such similar problems and yet the quality treatment of most detail shops just won’t address the situation fully the first time. Fortunately, I’m down the street from the best full-service detailing center in Chicago. If you’re taking care of incidents such as this on your own, making sure you use quality products is important for detailing success and addressing the problems at hand the best way possible.