3 DIY tips to deal with moldy smells inside the car vents

Aug 22, 2019 | Same topic: Best Advice for Car Buyers
This is a list of handy tips and guides on the possible causes of the smell and how to address moldy smells inside the car vents. Let's check it out!

We like our cars to be smelling fresh and clean. A lot of us take the additional steps on putting in air fresheners and cleaning our cars regularly to make sure that it is spic and span knowing that how our car looks like is a reflection of our personality.

There are instances though that you get a surprise when as soon as you turn on your air conditioning, there is that odd, almost moldy smell violating your car. Most likely, there has been a built-up happening without your permission, and mold mildew has decided to settle in thanks to the moisture being produced by your air conditioning system.

spraying car AC

The moldy smell can cause some respiratory problems

Don’t worry, this moisture happens naturally and is part of the cycles occurring in the insides of your car. But if this moisture is kept for too long, then the mold infestation kicks in.

Some people are susceptible to smell, but beyond that, this can also cause some respiratory problems like coughing, sneezing, drowsiness, and even tightening of the chest.

1. Where does moldy smell come from?

Understanding where it comes from is the key to prevention. So the source of the moldy smell is, of course, the mold. The mold is a single cell organism that thrives in the dark and damp environment of the AC system of your car.

Usually, the fungi that grow in the evaporator core, which is located in the deep inside of your dashboard. The core, which generally looks like a smaller version of a radiator is responsible for circulating the cold Freon from the compressor under the top.

Source of moldy smell

The source of the moldy smell is, of course, the mold

With this process, the evaporator core usually gets wet and remains damp for periods because of the humidity contracts on the core surface. Mold has a long-lasting love affair with wet and damp surfaces and for its food.

It gets from the pollen in the air, bits of leaves, or dead insects being blown in from the outside vents, then definitely you would have a pool of healthy molds enjoying their life in the car.

>>> Read more: Diagnose your car's annoying smells & How to remove bad odor from your car.

2. Tips to get rid of the moldy smell in your car

Worry not though because resolving and getting rid of that yucky, moldy smell can be done without too much drama. Sure there is over the counter disinfectant and reliable Lysol, and it works, but it is not a permanent solution.

Combating molds can be an easy feat, but due diligence is definitely required. Philkotse.com prepared some recommendations to get that moldy smell off your car.

Tip 1: Remember to remove a possible source of food

It is best practice to remove the possible source of food for this bacteria, and that includes dead leaves usually near or stuck on the air intakes. These air intakes are generally around the windshield cowling.

Dead leaves in the car intake

It is best practice to remove the possible source of food for this bacteria, and that includes dead leaves

Make sure that all spills, especially milk, is cleaned and dried. For car owners with babies and toddlers, this should be a red flag. Clean all stale food immediately.

You can dry your car by running the blower less the air conditioning for about 10 minutes, and it will dry off the evaporator core. No food and no place to thrive will surely be a turnoff for these single-celled organisms.

>>> For your explanation: Eating behind the wheel: Bad driving habit you should quit doing?

Tip 2: Make sure that the drain tubes of your air conditioning unit is all set and maintained

You may use an anti-bacterial treatment that would destroy the bacteria growth behind your dash panel. You should also inject this solution in the AC case. Make sure that if you do this, you let the fan just run for about 3 to 5 minutes so water and moisture on the coils can be dried off.

Car AC tube maintenance

Make sure that the drain tubes of your air conditioning unit is all set and maintained

Tip 3: Take advantage of sprays

Get creative and make your own DIY all-natural spray for molds and all other disagreeable smells with vinegar and water. With one part white vinegar and three parts water, put this powerful combination in a spray bottle.

Although vinegar is not the most enjoyable smell, it will fight the mildew naturally and will eventually fade off without those harmful chemicals. You can add in half a lemon to get that much fresher scent.

DIY all-natural spray for molds

Get creative and make your own DIY all-natural spray for molds

Spray your disinfectant regardless if it’s your DIY or over the counter generously into every vent of your car. Don’t just focus on the dashboard area but also in the backseats and vents at your feet. Molds are rather adaptable and if they find a little damp area where they thrive on, then they will.

Spraying disinfectant on every vent of your car

Spray your disinfectant regardless if it’s your DIY or over the counter generously into every vent of your car

Consider spraying your recirculation vent as well and give it a generous spray of your disinfectant. Do this while the AC is running. If unfamiliar with its location, refer to your car’s manual, but usually, it is located in the driver’s side floor either near the trunk or the console.

Spraying lysol to the re-circulation vents

Consider spraying your recirculation vent as well and give it a generous spray of your disinfectant

Look for a little knob with arrows pointing a ring. This will tell you to stop taking in are from the outside and instead have the air inside the car be recycled. If you have this button, press it and spray down this outlet to ensure that your cleaning fluid stays on the system.

3. Further recommendation

Luckily, there are also new cars right now that has incorporated a new type of air purification systems that are already ionized. This will make sure that mold will not even attempt to grow much less thrive on your car without much effort from your end. You can check this with your car dealers should purchasing a new vehicle is part of your bucket list.

>>> Check out: 8 steps to eliminate odor from your car aircon system.

 A girl in a moldy smell car

There are also new cars right now that has incorporated a new type of air purification systems that are already ionized

If by any chance, after trying these recommendations and still the moldy smell persists or gets worse, then it is time to involve some professionals as there might be more to it than you are smelling.

An overall and thorough check on all the vents and small exhausts might be necessary, so don’t take those smells for granted. Maintenance might be a little dent on the budget but still worth spending money on.

It might just be a nuisance in the start, but it is not something that you should tolerate and leave it be because molds when left for too long, can be more than an annoyance. Note that this kind of air is the one you and your loved ones are inhaling.

Author

Hanna Sanchez

Hanna is one of the most competitive swimmers in the country during her day. It was not long before she discovered her passion for the automotive industry as well. Nowadays, she balances her passion through writing as well as coaching.