How To Get Mold Out Of Fabric Car Seats (3 Natural Ways)

There’s nothing I dislike most than finding mold in my car. That musty foul odor that oozes out immediately you open the door can be quite disgusting and could lead to various health issues.

When you leave your car closed up in a garage for a long time during the hot summer months after the rain has penetrated the car fabric seats or after your child’s bottle water has tipped over in the back seat without you knowing can provide the ideal habitat for mold to grow in your car seat.

Unfortunately, if you’re wondering how to get mold out of fabric car seats, well, you don’t have to fight it with fire or give someone a lot of cash to clean it for you.

With the following practical steps we mentioned in this guide, and with a little bit of patience, you can remove the mold, scrub the affected area, and have it smelling like new.

What is Mold?

Mold, or Mould as usually called in Australia and the UK, is a type of fungus that thrives quickly and quite easily, given the right habitat or environment. As a fungus, mold is similar to the fungus that grows in athletic feet and even mushrooms.

Is Mold Dangerous?

There are different types of mold, some are less threatening, while some, like the black mold, can be dangerous to people especially babies, and just inhaling the spores that float in the air can cause severe allergic reactions and could lead to death in some cases!

For mold to survive, they need a few simple environmental elements, and this includes warmth, moisture, and organic matter.

This is one of the reasons you often find mold growing quickly on your books, belts, shoes, clothes, baby stroller, and even the ceiling in your home.

It takes a little amount of moisture for molds to start growing on your car seats or carpets. These two usually provide mold with the perfect breeding ground for them to grow, especially if your car has not been in use for a long time or after being wet from a damp rag or even a leak during rain.

And since mold can spread very quickly, ignoring their developments in your home can damage your car seat fabric and affect the health of the baby or passenger, not to mention the bad odor it creates. This is why it is very important to know how to get mold out of fabric car seats.

Read Also: How To Get Mold Out Of Fabric in a Stroller

Car Seat Cleaning and Mold Safety

car seat (2)

Before you begin the cleaning process, wear the skin, eye, and breathing protection. The mold in your car might not be harmful, but you’ll never the effects it can have without testing.

If you decide to use chemicals to scrub or clean the interior of your car seats, make sure you dispose of any leftover materials as recommended by the manufacturer.

You should also ensure that you use a cleaner that is safe for the materials that make up your car’s interior. If the mold has spread all over other items inside your car, it’s best advised to wash or dispose of the items before using or storing them away.

How To Get Mold Out Of Fabric Car Seats: Getting Started

Gathering everything you need before getting started will save you a lot of time without waiting for your handy-dandy baby or someone to bring you the sandpaper or blowtorch.

Before you begin, you don’t need a blowtorch to get this done properly. Do not allow your baby to hand you a blowtorch. You can also use a flat workspace, like a garage floor, driveway, or street parking during cleaning.

Molds are quite nasty, and since you’ll be using chemicals to clean your car seat, you need to ensure you do this in a well-ventilated area. Here’s a list of things you’ll need to get started.

Things You’ll Need:

  • Vacuum
  • Spray Bottle
  • Towels or rags
  • Toothbrush
  • Gloves
  • Eye protection
  • Mask
  • White distilled vinegar
  • Automotive cleaning wipes

Preparing To Remove Mold Out Of Fabric Car Seats

Before we get started to remove mold from your car seat, you should prepare your car first by following the steps below:

  1. Move your car somewhere into direct sunlight if you can.
  2. Then leave all the doors and windows open to allow the car to fully air out. You can do this for about 10-15 minutes to allow the mold spores to blow out and the bad smell that the mold has created.
  3. Put on a protective mask to protect you from breathing in the spores that are floating around.
  4. Check every corner of your car seats including underneath, carpet, steering wheel, and on the seatbelts to understand the full extent of what you’re dealing with. Always ensure you check under the seat lining and side seams too.
  5. When you’re checking for mold growths in your car, look out for any type of mold that might be present. This can vary in colors from brown, grey, white, green, or black. They usually look smaller in circular patches.
  6. Use any old toothbrush you can find to break up huge clusters of mold. Stroke gently to avoid spreading the spores around further. Do not forget to brush into all cracks and crevices, under and over the seats and other surfaces.
  7. Finally, if you have a wet-dry vacuum cleaner, use it now to vacuum the entire molds that are loose from your car seats and carpet.

Once these steps are completed, move on to the next steps to remove the mold from your car.

How To Get Mold Out Of Fabric Car Seats, Carpets, or Interior

mold in fabric car seat

There are several ways to remove mold from car seats chemically and a lot of people would go for bleach or ammonia-based products to kill it and clean the area, however, this is not recommended!

These products will leave stains or bleach your car seats, carpet and interior. They’re also not recommended for hard or porous surfaces and will affect the color of your car’s interior.

Another to keep in mind is that these products will not kill the mold! They will cause discoloration and may initially kill some of the molds on the surface. However, mold spores will still survive and will adapt and grow on ammonia, which gets worse than when you started!

So how do you get mold out of car seats and carpets? Fortunately, science has provided us with some natural and yet effective tools to get mold out of fabric car seats, carpets, and all interior, and you can these methods anywhere in your home.

The following are three natural ways to get mold out of car seats, carpets, and the interior.

How To Get Mold Out Of Fabric Car Seats With White Vinegar: Practical Tips

One of the natural ways to eliminate mold out of your fabric car seats, car carpets, interior, or anywhere you think mold may grow in your home, is to use white vinegar or alcohol. White vinegar is acidic, so applying it to the affected areas will kill the mold and its spores and stop it from coming back.

Things you’ll need to remove mold with vinegar:

  • White Vinegar (distilled if possible since it is stronger).
  • Clean Tap Water.
  • Spray bottle or clean cloths.
  • Borax

 Practical Tips:

  1. When using vinegar to get mold out of your car seats, the first thing you need to do is to mix eight parts of white vinegar into two parts of water.
  2. Then use either a clean cloth to dab it on the affected areas, or pour the mixture in a spray bottle and spray over the affected surface until it is soaked. Don’t be stressed about the strong vinegar smell, it will go away as it air dries.
  3. You can use undiluted vinegar if the mold outbreak is bad. White vinegar works very effectively on any kind of car seat such as leather, vinyl, and cloth-type seats, and will not damage the car seat fabrics. If you’re unsure about using vinegar on your car seat, try testing it in a small area to be sure there is no reaction on the material you are using it on.
  4. If you’re dealing with a few clusters of mold, just spray or dab about one or two feet surrounding the affected area, the goal is to eliminate the underlying spores as well.
  5. If the mold outbreak is quite severe, you should spray every part of your car seat from top to bottom and underneath.
  6. Once this is done, allow it to soak in for about 15 minutes or more to let it kill the mold and spores.
  7. Then use a wet-dry vacuum to vacuum the still wet vinegar. Ensure to remove it from all seams and joint areas.
  8. If you do not have a wet-dry vacuum at home, wait for some time for the affected areas to dry fully, then vacuum over the seats or carpet again. Allow the whole affected area to air dry for another 15 minutes.
  9. Then sprinkle some Borax powder or disinfectant over the seat or carpet (though optional) and allow it to sit for 10 minutes and then vacuum afterward.

Borax is a strong natural mold killer, which works very effectively on car seats, carpets, and any interior hard or soft surfaces to eliminate mold. If you see any traces of mold in your car seat, you can repeat this cleaning method.

Here is a video showing how to get mold out of fabric car seats with white vinegar

Pro Tip:

When cleaning your car seat, make sure your car seat is completely dry. Mold thrives on moisture, so you must get all moisture out of your car.

You can achieve this by leaving a dehumidifier like this one or even kitty litter inside a sock in your car. Be aware that if your car is completely dry, those molds will be killed easily.

Read Also: How To Protect Car Seats From Child Seats

How To Get Mold Out Of Fabric Car Seats With Salt: Practical Tips

If you want to get mold out of soft items, like cloth car seats, carpets, or other household stuff that won’t fit into your washing machine, then the salt method is one to explore.

 Things you’ll need to remove mold from car seats with salt:

  • A packet of non-iodized salt.
  • A standard large bucket of water.
  • A soft brush or clean spray bottle.

Practical Tips:

  1. To use salt to get mold out of the car seat, just mix the non-iodized salt into the bucket of water. Then use a brush or spray bottle to spread the mixture over the car seat, carpet, or the affected area you want to kill the mold on.
  2. While doing this, ensure you cover not only the affected area you see but also the surrounding area; up to around 1-2 feet in a circular pattern to ensure complete elimination of the mold spores as well.
  3. Allow the saltwater to air dry fully in direct sunlight with plenty of air circulation.
  4. Then use a soft brush or vacuum to brush off any visible mold particles you see.
  5. If you see any traces of mold in your car seat, you can repeat this cleaning method.

Read Also: How To Clean Car Seat Straps Vomit

How To Get Mold Out Of Fabric Car Seats With Oil of Cloves: Practical Tips

Another great way to effectively get mold out of car seats, carpets, or interior naturally is to use Oil of Cloves. These natural oils are strong antiseptics that not only stop mold growth but also kill the spores from growing.

This is very important because killing the mold will not stop the infestation from growing back on your car seat fabric or carpet. You must kill the spores as well.

Oil of Cloves is known as analgesic, stimulant, antiseptic and is known to be cheap which are readily available both in pharmacies and health food shops. They work very effectively both on hard and soft surfaces as well.

Since Oil of Cloves tends to irritate baby-sensitive skin, ensure you dilute the concentration to less than 1% when you use it. This includes using it on baby car seat covers, strollers, and anywhere your baby skin can make direct contact.

Things you’ll need to remove mold with Oil of Cloves:

  • 1/4 teaspoon of Oil of Cloves.
  • 1 Liter of tap water.
  • A clean spray bottle.
  • An old toothbrush.
  • A clean cloth.
  • Bicarbonate of Soda and White Vinegar (Optional).

Practical Tips: For Hard Surfaces

  1. The first step to take is to clean the area with a mixture of 4 liters of hot water, 1/2 a cup of white vinegar, and 1 tablespoon of bicarbonate of soda.
  2. Then make a paste using some drops of oil of clove, bicarbonate of soda, and white vinegar.
  3. After doing this, use a toothbrush to rub the paste onto the affected area and then allow it dry.
  4. Finally, wipe off after you’re done.

Practical Tips: For Soft Surfaces

  1. When dealing with hard and soft surfaces like car seats and carpets, begin by mixing 1/4 teaspoon of oil of cloves in the quart of water, and then mix it in a spray bottle.
  2. While doing this, make sure you cover not only the visibly affected areas of the mold and reach up to 1 or 2 feet circular around the surrounding. You must eliminate the mold spores that are not visible to your eye, so they don’t grow back. Soak the affected area well.
  3. After soaking, leave the mixture to dry for at least 20 minutes, then check if it is dry and if not, leave it for some time. You can even let it sit overnight, the longer it is left on there, and the more chances it will kill the mold.
  4. Wipe off the dead mold particles with the clean cloth as soon it’s dry, and then discard the cloth away as it may have mold spores on it.
  5. You can also vacuum the affected area if you have a wet-dry vacuum, or use a vacuum that you can throw the vacuum bag away with because you do not want the vacuum to blow the mold spores all around you’re home.
  6. Repeat this process by spraying on the oil of cloves mix and allowing it to air dry. Let it sit for 1 or 2 days to allow the oil of the clove to eliminate the mold and spores in your car seats, carpets, or interior.

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Other Frequently Asked Questions

Is It Safe To Drive With Mold In My Car

Well, we can’t tell you for sure if it’s safe to drive with mold in your car because we are not doctors or biologists. But we suggest that you clean and remove the mold before driving. Even if it’s less harmless to you, it’s disgusting and it can cause your car to smell funky.

How Much Will It Cost To Pay Someone To Clean My Car?

A lot of full-service car washes render interior cleaning or reconditioning services. You have to speak with the car attendant to find out what’s involved in the process, but most car wash services charge different prices based on the type of vehicle.

Small or sedan cars may cost around $50 to $200, while larger vehicles like SUVs and wagons can cost around $200 or more. Even if you have time to handle the messes in your car yourself, it’s sometimes recommended to pay an expert to do it for you, since they have the right chemicals and machines to get the job done effectively.


I hope this article has given an in-depth discussion to answer the question, how to get mold out of fabric car seats. As a parent or caregiver, you want the best for your household. This means that every item in your home needs to be clean and free of dirt.

Removing mold from your car seat fabric can be a daunting task sometimes. If your car seat gets in contact with the mold, make sure you apply the steps mentioned above. But remember to completely dry your car seat before use, that way you prevent mold from attacking it again.