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Thread: how to remove mildew smell from car carpet.

  1. #1
    *Flashaholic* Poppy's Avatar
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    Default how to remove mildew smell from car carpet.

    We recently had three days of rain, and I was in and out of my car a lot after stepping in puddles. A few days later I started smelling some mildew. There was so much water in the foot well, that I thought that my windshield was leaking. I did a poor job of soaking it up with a towel and by time it dried out, it left a stench.

    I pulled my wet dry vac out today with plans of using it tomorrow.

    What do you recommend?
    My Grand Kids call me Poppy

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    Default Re: how to remove mildew smell from car carpet.

    Dang that's a tough one. So here's the deal... the gold standard is to pull the carpet and dry the pad with ozone generator.
    That's what dealerships do that care about 100% complete jobs.
    Most dealerships will just pull back the carpet and dry the pad with the ozone generator.

    The mildew will come from the pad, not the carpet.
    A shop vac will not fully pull up the dampness from the pad that eventually turns into mildew.
    At the least pull back the carpet and put some fans on the pad. The sunlight will also pull out odors...but that's over time.

    The home-remedy spray solution is a mixture of water/vinegar/baking soda....but the key is getting that to the pad.

    Next, order some Weathertech floormats.

  3. #3
    *Flashaholic* Poppy's Avatar
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    Default Re: how to remove mildew smell from car carpet.

    Quote Originally Posted by kerneldrop View Post
    Dang that's a tough one. So here's the deal... the gold standard is to pull the carpet and dry the pad with ozone generator.
    That's what dealerships do that care about 100% complete jobs.
    Most dealerships will just pull back the carpet and dry the pad with the ozone generator.

    The mildew will come from the pad, not the carpet.
    A shop vac will not fully pull up the dampness from the pad that eventually turns into mildew.
    At the least pull back the carpet and put some fans on the pad. The sunlight will also pull out odors...but that's over time.

    The home-remedy spray solution is a mixture of water/vinegar/baking soda....but the key is getting that to the pad.

    Next, order some Weathertech floormats.
    Should I saturate the carpet and pad, and then suck it up with the vac?
    Should I let it sit for a while?
    Do I mix the baking soda in with the water/vinegar, or is it sprinkled on afterwards?
    My Grand Kids call me Poppy

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    *Flashaholic* Lynx_Arc's Avatar
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    Default Re: how to remove mildew smell from car carpet.

    How about using Lysol cut with water in a spray bottle after you suck as much water out of it as you can with the shop vac, or do it twice before and after vacuuming.
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  5. #5

    Default Re: how to remove mildew smell from car carpet.

    Warm water and white vinegar in a spray bottle, let sit for 20 minutes and vaccum. If that doesn't work, vodka in a spray bottle. Let sit 15 minutes then vaccum. Baking soda for any remaining aroma.
    An onion cut in half and left over night is what some use for basement funk.
    https://www.homemadesimple.com/in-th...hoCzIgQAvD_BwE

    You can buy silica gel in little bags and next time toss those on the carpet when done with the car. Those or adult diapers will suck up a lot of moisture overnight.
    Last edited by bykfixer; 06-16-2021 at 05:32 AM.
    John 3:16

  6. #6

    Default Re: how to remove mildew smell from car carpet.

    Mixing vinegar and baking soda seems pretty retarded to me, unless you just want to make a volcano and end up with carbonic acid and sodium acetate.

    Use chlorine BLEACH (aka sodium hypochlorite). This is one of the only things that will actually KILL the fungus. Just use a dilute solution, so you don’t cause too much damage, and rinse and vacuum and THEN DRY THOROUGHLY! If you still smell mildew, repeat. But bleach will do the job. Good luck!


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    Default Re: how to remove mildew smell from car carpet.

    Concrobium.
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    *Flashaholic* Lynx_Arc's Avatar
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    Default Re: how to remove mildew smell from car carpet.

    Quote Originally Posted by ckeilah View Post
    Mixing vinegar and baking soda seems pretty retarded to me, unless you just want to make a volcano and end up with carbonic acid and sodium acetate.

    Use chlorine BLEACH (aka sodium hypochlorite). This is one of the only things that will actually KILL the fungus. Just use a dilute solution, so you don’t cause too much damage, and rinse and vacuum and THEN DRY THOROUGHLY! If you still smell mildew, repeat. But bleach will do the job. Good luck!


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
    The problem with using bleach is if you don't have white carpet it could bleach the carpet. Lysol will kill the mildew and not bleach/stain the carpet. You could also try color safe bleach (hydrogen peroxide) I think it may also kill the mildew but it can bleach some things I believe.
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    *Flashaholic* Poppy's Avatar
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    Default Re: how to remove mildew smell from car carpet.

    I mixed up about a quart of 50-50 water and white vinegar in a spray bottle.

    I sprayed the walls of the foot well, and poured it into the base of the well, and spread it out by hand.
    I waited about 20 minutes and vacuumed it up. Followed up with paper towels, and rolled the windows down.
    It is a warm breezy day with about 40% humidity.
    It is drying nicely.

    My car smells like a salad.
    My Grand Kids call me Poppy

  10. #10

    Default Re: how to remove mildew smell from car carpet.

    There are worse smells as you know.

    I set off an Armor All bomb in a truck I was turning in thinking it would spray, maybe 30 seconds or so. Having the air system maxing out with the windows up I went into the to grab something and got distracted for about 2 minutes……went back to the truck and the bomb was STILL SPRAYING…… Yikes!! I could smell it 25 feet away with the windows rolled up. Black Ice overload. Gyah! I left the doors open the rest of the day. It's all vinyl and rubber inside so a couple of days later your eyes didn't water from the perfume smell anymore.

    So, if your tricks don't pan out DO NOT set off an Armor All Black Ice bomb unless you really really like that smell.
    John 3:16

  11. #11
    *Flashaholic* Lynx_Arc's Avatar
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    Default Re: how to remove mildew smell from car carpet.

    Quote Originally Posted by Poppy View Post
    I mixed up about a quart of 50-50 water and white vinegar in a spray bottle.

    I sprayed the walls of the foot well, and poured it into the base of the well, and spread it out by hand.
    I waited about 20 minutes and vacuumed it up. Followed up with paper towels, and rolled the windows down.
    It is a warm breezy day with about 40% humidity.
    It is drying nicely.

    My car smells like a salad.
    You forgot the croutons
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    *Flashaholic* turbodog's Avatar
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    Default Re: how to remove mildew smell from car carpet.

    Had a full gallon of milk rupture in a backseat floorboard once.

    I would wash with clean water, wet vac for all you can get out, then followup with a quart of isopropyl alcohol, then vacuum again.

    I would immediately set a strong fan directly on the area and dry for a day or more, remembering to leave windows open also.

    Finally, if there is lingering smell, come back with an ozone generator. You can buy cheap ones from amazon for $63. This is the one I bought for the car accident and a microwave accident (cup of noodles WITHOUT any water). https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0...?ie=UTF8&psc=1

    Or go straight to ozone solution and cross your fingers. Car will smell like a swimming pool for a few days.
    This is your life, and it's ending one minute at a time.
    Be prepared for the truth.

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    Default Re: how to remove mildew smell from car carpet.

    Quote Originally Posted by Poppy View Post
    Should I saturate the carpet and pad, and then suck it up with the vac?
    Should I let it sit for a while?
    Do I mix the baking soda in with the water/vinegar, or is it sprinkled on afterwards?
    The best approach is less is more.
    Mildew and its odor is easy to eliminate really...the hard part is saturating where it is and dealing with the smell of whatever chemical used. Several chemicals will work.
    Your lucky in that it's easy to pull up the carpet and treat the pad in the area the water got in
    But give it some time and see if what you've already done works.

    If you jack up the carpet from cleaning then cover it up with rubber floormats. They make carpet dye, too.

  14. #14
    *Flashaholic* Poppy's Avatar
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    Default Re: how to remove mildew smell from car carpet.

    Quote Originally Posted by Lynx_Arc View Post
    You forgot the croutons
    LOL... that was funny!

    I did find crumbs of cheddar cheese fish, and French fries between and beneath the seats though.

    Quote Originally Posted by bykfixer View Post

    So, if your tricks don't pan out DO NOT set off an Armor All Black Ice bomb unless you really really like that smell.

    bykfixer,
    Thanks for the tip... sweet smell is NOT for me!

    turbodog and kernaldrop,
    Thanks for the suggestion of using a ozone generator. I don't think I am going to need one. This morning I went out to the car to see how badly it smelled, and to open the windows. It was very good It has a feint vinegar smell, as though I had just opened a bag of "Salt and Vinegar" potato chips.

    I've been surprised and disappointed in the past that weathertech doesn't make custom floor mats for the Crown Victoria, or Grand Marquis. I'll have to get what-ever they have and cut it to size myself.
    Last edited by Poppy; 06-17-2021 at 05:43 AM.
    My Grand Kids call me Poppy

  15. #15

    Default Re: how to remove mildew smell from car carpet.

    I was thinking covercraft may have some but all they have is stock type or berber. I'm also surprised to not see more durable floor mats for the crown vic being all those cop cars are still running around.

    PM sent regarding Husky floor liners
    Last edited by bykfixer; 06-17-2021 at 06:28 AM.
    John 3:16

  16. #16
    *Flashaholic* Lynx_Arc's Avatar
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    Default Re: how to remove mildew smell from car carpet.

    You could always try giving is a good dose of Fabreze if the smell persists. It may take several times but each time the smell should fade more I've found.
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    Default Re: how to remove mildew smell from car carpet.

    @Poppy - make your own floor mats using flex seal.
    even better…pull up the carpet and pad and Rhino Liner the entire interior including the roof.
    I’d say fiberglass but that’s too hardcore. Haha

    perfect timing since it’s a perfect weekend project
    Last edited by kerneldrop; 06-17-2021 at 05:33 PM.

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    Default Re: how to remove mildew smell from car carpet.

    Kerneldrop is on to something.. wall to wall carpeting is the most disgusting thing ever invented
    Last edited by knucklegary; 06-17-2021 at 11:22 PM.

  19. #19
    *Flashaholic* Poppy's Avatar
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    Default Re: how to remove mildew smell from car carpet.

    lol... that flex seal is amazing stuff!
    I did half of my roof with it two years ago, and it is still good, despite strapping kayaks onto it now and then. I have a landau vinyl roof that started to crack.

    My Grand Kids call me Poppy

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    Default Re: how to remove mildew smell from car carpet.

    They make soft roof racks, looks like pipe insulation straps around and through windows..
    Racks cost less than roof repair,, just saying

    I miss my ol '73 F100 4x4,, with its rubber floor mat a dirty muddy condition was easily remedied with bucket of car wash, a sponge and water hose

  21. #21
    *Flashaholic* Poppy's Avatar
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    Default Re: how to remove mildew smell from car carpet.

    Thanks Gary,
    I have a blue anti-fatigue closed cell foam pad on the front half of the roof with closed cell foam wedges hot glued to it to stabilize the bottom kayak, and protect the front half of the roof.

    The vinyl landau roof was starting to crack, and the car with 250,000 miles on it isn't worth much more than it would cost to replace it, so I painted it with flex seal. So far it has held up for two years. It is still flexible. I'm surprised, and impressed. If it tears up, I can give it another coat any morning.

    edit: This past Christmas, my son got me a set of closed cell foam kayak racks/straps. It was a somewhat thoughtful gift for the guy who already has everything he needs. I am really hard to buy for.

    edit #2
    Here's a picture. I used to rest the tail end of the kayaks on a receiver hitch mounted bicycle rack, but that was just a unnecessary step.

    Last edited by Poppy; 06-18-2021 at 01:18 PM.
    My Grand Kids call me Poppy

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    Default Re: how to remove mildew smell from car carpet.

    It's official.
    You're a Plugger
    John 3:16

  23. #23
    *Flashaholic* Poppy's Avatar
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    Default Re: how to remove mildew smell from car carpet.

    Quote Originally Posted by bykfixer View Post
    It's official.
    You're a Plugger
    A plugger? Sorry, I don't get it.

    Dang, I just took a look at my roof. There are a few cracks in the flex seal. I'll have to put that on my list of little projects.
    My Grand Kids call me Poppy

  24. #24

    Default Re: how to remove mildew smell from car carpet.

    Pluggers is a comic strip.

    John 3:16

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    Default Re: how to remove mildew smell from car carpet.

    ^ Count me in too!

  26. #26
    *Flashaholic* Poppy's Avatar
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    Default Re: how to remove mildew smell from car carpet.

    That's funny... that particular one is about fixing a roof!
    My Grand Kids call me Poppy

  27. #27

    Default Re: how to remove mildew smell from car carpet.

    My favorite:



    Mrs Fixers favorite:


    Now btt, how's that salad smell coming along?
    Last edited by bykfixer; 06-18-2021 at 07:24 PM.
    John 3:16

  28. #28
    *Flashaholic* Poppy's Avatar
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    Default Re: how to remove mildew smell from car carpet.

    The smell is dissipating. Yesterday morning, the car was in the sun a couple of hours, and when I opened the door, there was a hint of vinegar, and underlying mildew. That dissipated quickly. I believe that I am over the hump, but am afraid that if it gets wet again, it might not take much to reactivate it. There's a 50% chance of thunderstorms and showers today, but I don't have plans to get in and out of the car much today. Time will tell.

    I recall in another thread someone stating that oxiclean is great with carpet shampooers. I have one in the attic, that might have been what I should have started with. The use of vinegar was a good start.

    Thanks for asking.
    My Grand Kids call me Poppy

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