How to Clean Flood-Damaged Car Carpets

by Maria Scinto

Flood damage can do a great deal of harm to your car--not only to the engine, but also to the car's interior, particularly the carpets. Stained, smelly car carpets can not only be unpleasant to live with, but may also signal the presence of mold that can have serious health consequences.

Use a wet-dry shop vacuum cleaner to suck out any remaining water in your carpets. Once you've gotten as much water out as possible, use towels to blot up any additional moisture.

Mix a solution of one part hydrogen peroxide and one part water in a bucket. Pour the hydrogen peroxide/water mix over the entire carpet. Use a brush to scrub the stained areas.

Let the hydrogen peroxide mixture set for at least 30 minutes so it soaks deep into the carpet and underlying pad to kill the mold spores.

Vacuum the water/hydrogen peroxide mixture out of the carpet with the wet-dry shop vac. Repeat the application for severe cases of mold.

Run an electric fan in your car to dry your carpet. Let the carpet dry thoroughly, then sprinkle it with baking soda to kill any remaining odor.

Vacuum your carpet on the dry setting to remove the baking soda and raise the carpet nap. If any odors still linger, place a small bowl of ammonia in your car, roll up the windows and let it sit overnight.


  • If the flood damage was severe, you may need to replace the carpet and padding, as a serious case of mold is hard to eradicate (and a serious health hazard).

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