What’s Under Your Hood? Mold In Vehicles
Does the sound of “mold in vehicles” give you a headache from past problems? If not, then you are one of the lucky ones that hasn’t experienced this nightmare. Many car owners have no idea that mold can encroach into the innards of a car. Sometimes the damage is so detrimental that the car is unusable. However, before it comes to that extreme, prevention and removal can save your vehicle!
What Is Mold?
Simply stated, mold is a species of fungi. Mold’s microorganisms are famous for causing a plethora of health conditions. Contrary to popular belief, not all mold is toxic, but it can cause harm. Mold triggers an immune response from your body, and many unwanted symptoms arise.
Some of the prevalent and more severe symptoms include:
- Abdominal Pain
- Cognitive Dysfunction
- Memory Loss
- Sinus Congestion
Mold grows fast in warm and humid environments. When mold grows, it feeds off the nutrients in the area. These nutrients can be any natural food source. This food source can be fabrics- such as that in your car. For this reason, mold can take over your vehicle and digest the interior materials along the way.
Mold spreads through spores. These spores can latch onto animals, humans, and objects and travel airborne. With this in mind, should you tell a mildew or off smelling odor in your vehicle, it’s time to act immediately. It’s better to attack the fungus initially when removal and remediation are possible. The key is to identify and treat the origin of infestation. And for that, you will need a detailed assessment or professional assistance.
Florida’s Perfect Climate, And Other Causes Of Mold Growth In Vehicles
In Southwest, Florida, the climate is perfect for mold growth. Mold is a fungus that thrives in warm moist environments. Any surface that has a nutrient source becomes overcome by the fungus. Believe it or not, your car’s interior can be a nutrient source for mold as well. When mold grows over a surface, it begins to digest the surface it spreads on. Taking over a car interior is no exception.
During the hot months of the Floridian summer, our cars heat up fast. In the garage or the driveway, the heat always finds a way in. (See our blog about preventing mold in your garage as well!). The climate of our southern state explains the warm aspect of the mold environment. But where would the moisture come from?
The humidity levels in Southwest Florida can reach high levels. The humidity levels can leach into the car and trigger mold growth as well.
Detailing Your Vehicle
Detailing your car can be vital for upkeep, especially if you have children! In the southern weather, we love to beach hop, and sand gets in small crevices quickly. But if you detail your car without the proper drying process, mold can proliferate.
There can be many variations of “flooding.” Keeping your windows open with a rainstorm can be a substantial cause of locked-in moisture. Another reason is sealing problems. Some car rubber seals dysfunction, and many owners don’t tend to the sealing problem. Water can easily slip into the interior of the vehicle when a seal is not tight.
If you have a reliable car or a passion for cars, always be careful when storing the vehicle. Long periods of storing cause humidity to collect. The air conditioner is a system that is one of the top contributors to inner vehicle moisture. If you haven’t used a car in a while, be sure to flush the AC system before use.
The air conditioner uses the humid outdoor air, cools it along with coils, and releases it into the car. The air conditioner system in the vehicle hides mold easier than most car owners think. The microscopic spores can then travel through the vehicle and spread to fabrics.
The final common cause of mold in cars is cross-contamination. Transporting plants in the vehicle can cause mold from the leaves or soil to transfer to your car fabrics. Animals can also be carriers of mold spores and release them when traveling in the car. Spills can also cause mold. Should any liquid spill in the car, clean up and proper dry-out process are critical to keeping away mold.
I Found Mold In My Car, Now What?
Well, you are in luck since you live in Southwest, Florida! If the day is low humidity and high sun, take your car into the sunlight and open the doors and windows. Try and let it dry up any moisture. If you have a dehumidifier, placing that within the car for 15-30 minutes may help as well.
Wearing protective gear, follow the instructions given below:
If you have any moldy contaminated objects in the car, remove them immediately. These objects carry microscopic spores and will contribute to the further spread of mold. Inspect the car for contamination. How deep does the fungi burrow? What car parts are moldy? Be sure to check the steering wheel, all fabrics, seats, and seat belts.
If you have covers on your seats, remove these and check them and the original seat thoroughly. Floridians use window guards to protect the interior of their vehicles from the heat of the sun. If this object is in your car, remove it promptly. There are two reasons for removing this everyday object. Both reasons are due to contamination. The window guard may have been in the car and contaminated with mold spores.
If the window guard was on the dashboard, the likelihood is higher, as many vehicle molds begin in the AC on the dash.
NEVER use bleach in your car for mold. Doing so may cause permanent discoloration of the interior surfaces. Additionally, bleach really is never the answer to tackling mold. Check out “The Dangers of DIY Mold Removal in Fort Myers” for additional information.
If the car has been in storage and mold is visible, and in large quantities, the vehicle may be at the end of life.
When To Call In Professionals
If the mold is in a small coverage area with topical mildew only, a simple at-home treatment may help. However, anything more significant than that will require professional assistance.
At iMold, we specialize in mold removal and upholstery cleaning. Our trained and certified technicians will assess your vehicle for proper treatment. Should you desire more information about our services and technicians, visit our website! Follow us on social media for more information and special offers. You can find us on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.